Clayton Kershaw goes for his second win in a row.

Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley Have Found Their Groove

Clayton Kershaw (8-6, 2.95) vs. Chris Volstad (0-7, 7.94)

Lineup:

Victorino LF

Mark Ellis 2B

Kemp CF

Ethier RF

Ramirez SS

Loney 1B

Hairston 3B

A.J. Ellis C

Kershaw P

 

The Dodger outfielders celebrate after last night's win. Photo: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Last night was a fun game, wasn’t it? A.J. Ellis smacked two homeruns for the first time in his career, and Chad Billingsley pitched a gem. In fact, since returning from his brief DL stint from a barking elbow, Chad Billingsley is 3-0 with a 0.88 ERA, 11 strikeouts, and just 3 walks in 20 1/3 innings pitched. This is the Chad Billingsley we have known and loved throughout his years as a Dodger. Perhaps it was that he needed a bit of a reprieve or restart or maybe it’s the red beard which is his lucky charm? Although Bills is known to be inconsistent, so this may just be a crest during his wave of the season. There certainly has been some low troughs.

The Dodgers remain on the heels of the San Francisco Giants who are busy putting double digit numbers

on the scoreboard up in Denver. The Dodgers, led by Clayton Kershaw, will try to secure the series win versus the Cubs and regain first place tonight. Clayton Kershaw was magnificent in his last start against the Giants with a complete game shutout against the Giants which completed the three-game sweep. What was remarkable was that he bounced back so well after that disastrous and sweaty meltdown of a game he pitched in St. Louis. He’s had success against the Cubs in his career, and Kersh sports a 2-1 record against them with a 1.71 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 21 innings pitched. He’ll have to watch out for Alfonso Soriano who is hitting .375 against him and has gone deep against Kersh in the past.

 

Chris Volstad hasn't won a game since July 10, 2011. Photo: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

Chris Volstad is still looking for his first win of the season and his first Major League game in over a year (since last July 10th). He was called up to replace the traded Paul Maholm and Ryan Dempster. Volstad is 3-4 against the Dodgers with a 5.01 ERA. On May 5th, he lost to the Dodgers after allowing 5 earned runs on 4 hits over 5 innings. Last time out against Atlanta, he served up 6 earned runs over just 4 1/2 innings. Quite a few Dodgers have hit the right-hander well in the past including Jerry Hairston Jr., Matt Kemp, James Loney, and Shane Victorino who has a couple of homeruns against him. If the Dodgers’ offense is awake tonight they should be able to score some runs off Volstad.

Joe Blanton, the Dodgers’ newest acquisition, will be joining the team Saturday. He will most likely start either tomorrow or in the next few days. Stephen Fife will likely be optioned back down to AAA-Albuquerque to make room for the new starter. Scott Elbert is expected to return from the DL soon, but Ted Lilly had a setback with his shoulder inflammation. It’s uncertain whether he will return this season, but he wants to be part of the pennant race if the Dodgers are in it. He said he’d even be willing to pitch out of the bullpen if it can help the team.

Tune into Prime Ticket at 6:10 pm for the game, and then check back here for a complete postgame recap.

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Tags: A.J. Ellis Chad Billingsley Chicago Cubs Chris Volstad Clayton Kershaw Joe Blanton Los Angeles Dodgers

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