Chad Billingsley (1-4) vs. Oliver Perez (2-2).
COMMENTS: Happy Cinco de Mayo! Los Mets beat the Diamondbacks yesterday, 5-2. Thanks, Mets! Today we root for you...to lose! And what better way for the Dodgers to start a new winning streak than against resident Mets headcase Perez? The Mets have lost four of his six starts; his last outing lasted 1 2/3 innings and earned him the enmity of teammate Billy Wagner. Meanwhile, Billingsley leads the Dodgers in strikeouts with 40 (Derek Lowe and Hong-Chih Kuo are tied for a distant second with 25 each). Billingsley's losing record is more an indication of his weird inability to pitch a smooth fifth inning than anything else.
The Dodger bats took the day off yesterday with the exception of Andre Ethier (solo homer) and—gulp—Juan Pierre (.324/.395/.382. That's right, OBP > SLG). Which begs the question...what to do with $18 million paperweight Andruw Jones? Joe Torre is trying everything short of offering a cigar and rum to Jobu in an effort to diagnose Andruw's malaise. Since Perez is as hittable a pitcher the Dodgers will see this week, Andruw's whereabouts today—lineup or bench?—will give us some insight into Torre's feelings about his slump. The rest of the Dodgers' offense would be well served to give Billingsley some early run support so he doesn't feel as if he has to throw a perfect game in order to win.