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Billingsley Looks to Get Back on Track

Today is the final game of what will be the sixth 2-1 series for the Dodgers this season.  In each of the last four series, the Dodgers split the first two games, just as this series is.  The Dodgers won the final game against the Diamondbacks and Giants at home, and lost to the Marlins and Reds on the road.  The last time the Dodgers won a road series was last September in Washington DC.

Chad Billingsley takes the mound in search of a positive outing, having given up 13 runs over 8 2/3 innings over his last two starts.  He is due for some good luck, as he has allowed the sixth highest batting average on balls in play (.414) in the majors (minimum 10 innings), despite a low 14.9% line drive rate. Billingsley has made four career starts against the Nationals, and all four have been quality starts, with a combined 3.04 ERA in 26 2/3 innings.  Of course, the one start that sticks in everyone's mind is the most recent, in which Billingsley took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, but walked a pair before allowing a three-run home run to Ryan Zimmerman.

Despite Tony Jackson of ESPN LA writing "it is getting increasingly difficult to believe that the Dodgers will stick with Billingsley much longer if he doesn't find some level of consistency," Billingsley isn't going anywhere anytime soon, especially with Vicente Padilla now on the disabled list.  To paraphrase Coach Norman Dale, the Dodgers' pitching rotation is on the field.  Billingsley and the rest of the staff just have to perform.

James Loney picked up his 500th career hit yesterday with a second inning single.  Here's a look at when Loney got his 500th hit compared to his Dodger peers:

500th Career Hit
Name Career Gm Career PA
Matt Kemp 468 1821
James Loney 480 1862
Russell Martin  
504 2061
Andre Ethier 514 1944

Xeifrank's simulation of today's game is here.

Game Time:  10:35am


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