Chad Billingsley takes the mound tonight in search of his 10th win of the season, as the Dodgers invade Anaheim for this year's second installment of the Freeway Series. Ramon Martinez was the last 20-game winner for the Dodgers, as he posted a 20-6 record in 1990. Since that time, there have only been four Dodgers to achieve ten wins prior to the All-Star break:
The last time Billingsley faced the Angels, there is a chance I may have jinxed things. I was already coming off an emotional high from my first time covering the Dodgers the night before, and with their ace pitching in the finale, I was a confident man. I was with my brother, driving back to his house after braving the Blazin Wings at Buffalo Wild Wings, when Jamie Hoffmann crushed a 3-run shot into the bleachers. Cruising with a 4-0 lead by the time we got home, I decided it was a perfect time for a swim. Out in the pool, I was audio on only, and thus never actually saw the Angel comeback, 10-7 win. I paid the price for my actions, as I sported a sunburn for a solid week.
Billingsley owns a lifetime .667 winning percentage (44 wins, 22 losses). However, tonight's Angel starter, Joe Saunders, owns an even higher .672 winning percentage. Saunders and his 39-19 career record has the fifth-best winning percentage among active pitchers.
The Dodgers' new hope tonight rests in the first major league start for 31-year old Mitch Jones, who will get the nod as designated hitter. Jones wears uniform number 17, and to bring this full circle, I saw a fan in Glendale, Arizona during spring training walking toward me wearing a number 17 Dodger jersey. I thought, wow, you don't see many Jason Repko jerseys, but then, as the fan turned around, I noticed the name on the back was "Ishii," he of the 11 wins before the 2002 All-Star break.
For an outsider's review of Dodger Stadium, check out this recap at Athletics Nation. They even got their name up in lights! I can't wait for the same treatment at Petco Park on July 3.
Get your guesses in for "She Is Gone" here.