August 3, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis (17), shortstop Luis Cruz (47), and starting pitcher Chad Billingsley (58) during a stoppage in play in the sixth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Dodgers Hope to Secure Sole Possession of First Place

Chad Billingsley (8-9, 3.84) vs. Kevin Correia (9-6, 4.49)

Lineup:

Victorino LF

Uribe 3B

Kemp CF

Ethier RF

Ramirez SS

Loney 1B

Cruz 2B

Ellis C

Billingsley P

The Dodgers are now 3-1 so far on this current road trip. With the season coming down to the final push, every game is important. The Giants were hammered by the Nationals last night, so the Dodgers move back into a first-place tie with San Francisco.

Jerry Hairston Jr. landed on the DL for the second time yesterday after he admitted that he has been suffering from a hip injury for three months. Once again, it’s never good to try to play through pain. It’s another tough loss to the Dodger roster which has had infield troubles from the get-go. The Dodgers recalled Elian Herrera from AAA-Albuquerque to take his place, and he should be in Pittsburgh for today’s game. Don Mattingly has been careful with Luis Cruz choosing to use him sparingly lately, because it would be disastrous to lose another infielder and especially one who is needed to play third base and back up shortstop.

 

Chad Billingsley looks for his fifth straight win. Photo: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Chad Billingsley has been dynamite in his last four starts, and he will be vying for his fifth consecutive victory today. He’s only allowed 6 earned runs in his last 4 starts. Last time out against Colorado, Bills allowed 4 runs on 7 hits over 6 1/3 innings. The offense helped him out in the 6-4 victory. The lucky bearded Billingsley has struck out 118 batters in his 131 1/3 innings pitched so far this season. He has walked 39 batters, and he has allowed 10 homeruns in his 22 games started. The right-hander will be trying to even up his record against the Bucs which is a team he has been successful against. He is 6-1 against the Pirates in his career, and he beat them once earlier this season at Dodger Stadium. He’ll have to be wary of the usual culprits. Clint Barmes, Andrew McCutchen, and Garrett Jones have all hit around .300 against Billingsley.

Kevin Correia will get the spot start for the Pirates while their rotation is still in flux.

The Pirates are reshuffling their rotation. Photo: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Correia had been demoted to the bullpen. He won last time out against Arizona going 6 innings and allowing 3 earned runs off 6 hits. In his career against the Dodgers, Correia is 5-4 with a 4.20 ERA. Andre Ethier, Hanley Ramirez, and Shane Victorino have hit him well in the past. Even Juan Uribe hits him well, and he’s even gone deep against the right-hander.

 

Kenley Jansen is kind of good. Photo: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

One thing no one has talked about much is just how good Kenley Jansen has been this season. Jansen is now 5-3 with a stellar 1.84 ERA in 53 2/3 innings pitched. He has 81 strikeouts and just 19 walks. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is 4.21 which is a career best. His K/9 is 13.58. He has 24 saves which is a career best after taking over closing duties from the struggling Javy Guerra earlier this season. He has 6 blown saves. The converted catcher has really been the anchor of the bullpen, and he is arguably one of the top relievers in the league.

Tune into KCAL at 4:05 pm for the first pitch, then come back to Lasorda’s Lair after the game for the complete postgame recap.

Tags: Chad Billingsley Featured Kenley Jansen Kevin Correia Los Angeles Dodgers Pittsburgh Pirates Popular