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Dodgers go oh-so-quietly in 3-0 loss to Padres

September 24, 2011 |  8:11 pm

Billingsley_600

It's the last Saturday game of the year for the Dodgers, and not much to get excited about.

Matt Kemp did nothing otherworldly. Clayton Kershaw didn’t pitch (that’s Sunday). Chad Billingsley was mediocre. The Dodgers didn’t win.

Just kind of a quiet, fading into the off-season, 3-0 loss to the Padres in San Diego.

Billingsley suffered the loss to end his season 11-11, which somehow seemed fitting. It wasn’t an awful season for the right-hander, it was just almost painfully average.

The more troubling aspect is that at age 27, Billingsley doesn’t seem to be improving, to be raising his game another level.

He was hardly terrible Saturday, giving up three runs (two earned), four hits and three walks. Much like his season, he was OK -- which at some point starts to become a concern.

Billingsley ended his season with a career-high 4.21 earned-run average and gave up a career-high average of 9.1 hits per nine innings. His strikeouts are also starting to drop, his average of 7.3 per nine innings his lowest in the past five seasons. He has now won either 12 or 11 games in four of his last five seasons.

All his troubles came in one inning Saturday, which is not unlike him, either.

The game was scoreless in the bottom of the fifth when Billingsley surrendered a one-out single to Anthony Rizzo and walk to No. 8 hitter Andy Parrino. Billingsley struck out opposing hurler Aaron Harang, before things slowly slipped away.

He then offered a 66-mph curveball to Will Venable, who promptly singled up the middle to score one run. Former Dodger Orlando Hudson bounced a hit between third and short to score a second run and rookie catcher Tim Federowicz threw wild to first on a pickoff attempt to give up a third run.

And that was pretty much all the significant offense of the night.

Kemp's hopes of gaining baseball’s first triple crown since Carl Yastrzemski did it in 1967 for the Red Sox faded. He went one for four with a single to leave his batting average at .325. Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun went two for three to take the National League lead in hitting at .331 over the Mets’ Jose Reyes at .330.

Harang (14-14) held the Dodgers scoreless for his eight innings on three hits. Heath Bell pitched the ninth for San Diego to earn his 42nd save.

ALSO:

Why spend a Princely sum when a pauper will do?

Matt Kemp takes his show on the road in Dodgers' 2-0 win

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Chad Billingsley. Credit: Lenny Ignelzi / Associated Press

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