Dodgers bullpen bails out struggling Chad Billingsley
Reporting from Washington — Chad Billingsley insisted he isn’t hurt and Manager Don Mattingly said there are no signs that anything is physically wrong with the Dodgers right-hander— no skipped bullpen sessions, no visits to the trainer’s room.
Whatever it is, something is clearly wrong with Billingsley, who lasted only 21/3 innings in the Dodgers’ 7-4 victory over the Washington Nationals in what was supposed to be the first game of a doubleheader on Thursday. The second game was rained out.
Billingsley was charged with four runs, five hits and three walks. His fastball, which frequently hits the mid-90s, topped out at 92 mph on the Nationals Park radar gun.
Billingsley said his problem is mechanical.
He said he made adjustments in his previous bullpen session — he wouldn’t say exactly what — and felt an improvement over his start five days earlier, when he lasted only four innings in Atlanta.
“I felt more comfortable out there today,” Billingsley said.
But Billingsley said his pitches were too far over the plate, something for which he was punished in a four-run, third inning that included a home run by Jayson Werth and doubles by Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse.
The Dodgers were able to rally because the bullpen combined for 62/3 scoreless and hitless innings, with Josh Lindblom pitching 21/3 innings and Matt Guerrier 11/3.
That set the stage for the deciding blow of the game: Tony Gwynn’s tie-breaking two-run double in the ninth inning. Gwynn later scored on a single by Dee Gordon to give the Dodgers a three-run cushion.
The Dodgers and Nationals are unlikely to make up the second game of their doubleheader. The game will be played only if it has playoff implications.
Clayton Kershaw remains on schedule to start in San Francisco on Friday, but Mattingly said he wasn’t sure if the Dodgers would make any changes to their rotation after that because of the rainout. Recent call-up Dana Eveland was slated to start in the canceled game.
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