Chad Billingsley made his 2013 Dodgers debut tonight and though he wasn't perfect (retired the side only in the second inning; had a lot of trouble locating his curve (Vin Scully said only two curves fell for strikes)), he was good enough. Six innings, five hits, 1 ER, 3 Ks and 3 BB. Welcome back, Chadley!
It helped that Bills got run production early. Carl Crawford hit the second pitch of the game into the left field stands for a leadoff HR; Luis Cruz got his first hit of the year in the second inning and AJ Ellis knocked him home with another HR to left. The Dodgers added a fourth run in the fifth inning, when Crawford hit a one-out triple and Mark Ellis singled him home.
The Padres' starter, former Dodger Eric Stults, was even shakier than Billingsley: 101 pitches over five innings, giving up eight hits with 4 Ks. Even Matt Kemp (batting .167) and Justin Sellers (batting .190) got singles off of Stults. The Dodgers had a season-high 13 hits tonight. That said, the Dodgers wasted a ton of opportunities to seal the deal: 1-for-8 with RISP, and an absurd 12 LOB. Ugh.
You know who else was shaky? Brandon League, who gave up three hits in the bottom of the ninth, and then struck out Chris Denorfia...but AJ Ellis allowed a passed ball, scoring the Padres' third run and giving the home team a fourth out. Yonder Alonso went all the way to a full count, before flying out to left fielder Skip Schumacher to end the game. Whew!
Rubber match tomorrow night, Zack Greinke vs. Jason Marquis. A Marquis matchup, if you will!