One mistake too many for Dodgers and Chad Billingsley
The scenario has repeated itself all season: A Dodgers starter pitches a relatively solid game but gets little or no run support.
So it was again Sunday night, when Chad Billingsley gave up only three hits in eight innings against the Angels. But one of those hits was Russell Branyan’s two-run home run in the seventh inning, and that followed two other miscues by Billingsley.
They might not have been fatal if the Dodgers had a consistent offense. But against Angels starter Ervin Santana and their bullpen, the Dodgers' hitters were a paltry one-for-12 with runners in scoring position, and the Angels won, 3-1, at Angel Stadium.
Billingsley (7-7) entered the game having allowed only one run in his prior two starts, which were both wins, including the unusual game -- in terms of the Dodgers' hitting, at least -- in which the Dodgers pounded the Minnesota Twins, 15-0, in Minneapolis.
But the Dodgers didn't score that many runs in the next five games combined. After Sunday's game against the Angels, Billingsley refused to cite the sputtering offense as something that caused him to pitch too carefully.
But Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly stated the obvious when he noted it was yet another game "where [Billingsley] feels like he can't make a mistake."
And the 26-year-old right-hander did make mistakes in the seventh inning.
Bobby Abreu doubled, then moved to third base when Billingsley threw a wild pitch, and scored when Vernon Wells grounded out. Billingsley then hit Howie Kendrick with a pitch before giving up the homer to Branyan.
The change-up that Branyan hit into the seats also was a mistake, Billingsley said. Although he’d thrown several change-ups successfully earlier in the night, “I probably shouldn’t have thrown that pitch. Actually I know I shouldn’t have thrown that pitch," Billingsley said.
Then, Branyan "did what he’s supposed to," Billingsley said. "I can't take it back now."
The Dodgers play the New York Mets on Monday night at Dodger Stadium, the opener of a seven-game homestand that leads up to the All-Star break.
-- Jim Peltz
Photo: The Dodgers' Chad Billingsley pitches to the Angels on Sunday at Angel Stadium. Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea / US Presswire