The Los Angeles Dodgers have gotten great pitching over the last three games to move close to .500. They need a solid outing from Chad Billingsley(notes) to help them reach the break-even mark for the second time this month.
Billingsley and the Dodgers on Saturday will continue their home series with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are coming off their fifth consecutive defeat - all by one-run margins.
Ted Lilly(notes) began Los Angeles’ surge Tuesday by allowing two runs and four hits in six innings of a 10-3 win in Pittsburgh. Hiroki Kuroda(notes) and two others combined on a three-hitter the following night en route to a 2-0 victory over the Pirates.
Following a rainout Thursday, the Dodgers got 11 strikeouts over seven shutout innings from Clayton Kershaw(notes) before holding on for a 4-3 win to open this series. After struggling early - including walking Diamondbacks pitcher Joe Saunders(notes) - Kershaw retired the final 14 batters he faced.
“When he’s throwing strike one, strike two, it’s going to be a long night for whoever is facing him,” said catcher Rod Barajas(notes), who snapped a scoreless tie in the fifth inning with his seventh homer.
The Dodgers (19-20) haven’t been at.500 since May 2. To try and get there, Billingsley (2-2, 3.91 ERA) will be in search of his first win in four starts.
Since beating the Cubs on April 22 in Chicago, the right-hander has pitched effectively, but the only decision in that span came Monday in Pittsburgh. He allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings of a 4-1 loss.
Billingsley, who’s looking for his 10th career win over the Diamondbacks, is 1-0 with a 1.77 ERA in his last three starts against them. No appearance was longer than 7 1-3 innings, as he averaged 115 pitches per outing.
He struck out a career high-tying 13 while tossing 121 pitches in the Dodgers’ 5-4 loss Sept. 26 in Phoenix.
Chris Young tied a season high with three of Arizona’s seven hits Friday and Miguel Montero’s(notes) two-run single in the ninth inning made it another close game, but Arizona (15-22) suffered its sixth straight loss by a one-run margin - a franchise record.
“It’s really tough losing those close games. It gets old,” Young said. “We had some opportunities to win the game, and it was nice that we came back in the ninth. But you’d like to be ahead earlier in the game.”
The former Arizona State star will try to extend that run against Josh Collmenter(notes) (1-0, 1.29) as he makes his first career start. The right-hander, who has yet to face Los Angeles, has given up two runs and eight hits in 14 innings over seven relief appearances.
“He just gets people out,” manager Kirk Gibson told the Diamondbacks’ official website.