Chad Billingsley hasn't had much trouble against Pittsburgh at Dodger Stadium. Considering the way he pitched in his first start and the way the Pirates are hitting, he may be in line for another dominating performance.
Billingsley tries to remain undefeated against Pittsburgh in Los Angeles while helping the Dodgers jump out to their first 5-1 start in 13 years Wednesday night.
The right-hander is 5-1 with a 4.19 ERA in 10 appearances - six starts - against the Pirates, and those numbers are even better when he takes the mound at Chavez Ravine.
Billingsley has pitched in five games versus Pittsburgh at home, going 3-0 with a 3.93 ERA. Three of those appearances were starts, and he won them all while posting a 2.81 ERA.
Those outings, as well as his 2012 debut, are good signs for a Dodgers team that hasn't won five of its first six games since 1999.
Billingsley cruised in San Diego on Friday, limiting the Padres to three hits while striking out 11 and walking one over 8 1-3 innings of a 6-0 win.
"You definitely never want to come out of the game, but it was like 110 pitches or so in your first game out and you don't want to go overboard in the first outing," Billingsley said. "You have 30-plus more starts."
His second one comes against a Pirates team that had five hits and lost 2-1 in the series opener Tuesday. Pittsburgh was shut out in its first game of 2012 and has scored eight runs while batting .189 in opening 2-2.
The Pirates have pitched well, posting a 1.50 ERA, and they were in a tie game Tuesday until Andre Ethier homered with two outs in the eighth inning as Los Angeles pulled out a win exactly 50 years after Dodger Stadium opened.
"Even in camp, these guys were fired up about what we thought we could do," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "It seems like we're going to be in a lot of close games this season, no matter what. We're going to have to get big hits and big outs when we need them, and we did that today."
Erik Bedard has played a part in Pittsburgh's strong pitching to start the season, and he'll take the mound opposite Billingsley. The left-hander made his Pirates debut in the 2012 opener Thursday and allowed one run and six hits over seven innings in a 1-0 loss to Roy Halladay and Philadelphia.
"It's a small sample, but we've been pitching great," Pirates catcher Rod Barajas said. "But we've had some tough matchups: Halladay, (Cliff) Lee, (Cole) Hamels, and then (Tuesday) we get (Clayton) Kershaw, but we're competing day in and day out. So no matter who's on the mound, we're going to battle. Hopefully we come out on top more often than not."
Bedard has made one start in his career against the Dodgers. He didn't receive a decision after allowing one run and five hits over five innings of Baltimore's 4-3 loss in Los Angeles on June 17, 2004.