The Los Angeles Dodgers have received strong starting pitching in their first two games.
Los Angeles (2-0) won 5-0 in Joe Torre’s debut as Dodgers manager on Monday when Brad Penny yielded just four singles over 6 2-3 innings. Derek Lowe allowed two runs and nine hits over six-plus innings on Tuesday, but did not receive a decision as the Dodgers won 3-2 on pinch hitter Delwyn Young’s RBI infield hit in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Billingsley (12-5, 3.31 ERA) hasn’t receive nearly as much notoriety as Lowe and Penny, but he finished tied with Penny for second on the team in wins in 2007. His 19 wins are the most by a Dodger in his first two seasons since Kazuhisa Ishii won 23 games from 2002-03.
The 23-year-old right-hander, however, had his share of problems in spring training. He went 0-2 with a 6.85 ERA in six starts, allowing 27 hits over 22 1-3 innings.
According to Billingsley, his problems were partly a result of his command suffering from trying to add a changeup to his repertoire.
“I’ve gotten beat on the changeup a lot this spring, but I’ve got to throw it, got to prove it,” he told the Dodgers’ official Web site. “I don’t want to give up on it. It’s a pitch I really want to have in the repertoire. I need it.”
Billingsley is 2-0 with a 4.98 ERA in six career appearances, including four starts, against the Giants. However, he’s had trouble facing Dave Roberts, who is 9-for-15—all singles—against him.
That’s the kind of offense San Francisco (0-2) has produced so far with 15 singles and no extra-base hits through two games. Newcomer Aaron Rowand is 4-for-7 (.571) after going 2-for-4 with a run scored Tuesday.
The other noteworthy event that occurred Tuesday was the ejection of fiery Dodgers third base coach Larry Bowa, who apparently was tossed for arguing after he was told to stay within the boundaries of the coaching box.
Bowa unleashed a profanity-laced tirade regarding the rule as he left Dodger Stadium.
“I did it all spring, nobody said a word,” he said, still irate a half-hour after the game ended. “I did it yesterday, nobody said a word. It’s impossible to coach third and stay in the box with a runner at second.”
Starter Tim Lincecum (7-5, 4.00) will begin his second season with San Francisco. Selected 10th overall in the 2006 draft from Washington, Lincecum turned in a solid rookie campaign, finishing second on the Giants with 150 strikeouts in just 146 1-3 innings.
The powerful right-hander suffered a groin pull midway through spring training, but went 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in five starts. His last outing was certainly his best one as he struck out nine and didn’t allow a hit in five innings of a 3-0 victory over Oakland at AT&T Park on Friday.
“He came in a little behind, but now he’s ready to go,” manager Bruce Bochy told the Giants’ official Web site.