This is probably going to be one of those games that re-ignites the Chad Billingsley wars, despite how good he had been his last two times out. Billingsley further added to his reputation of being consistently inconsistent by following up those two starts with tonight’s clunker, though it’s fair to note that the game very well might have been tied when he departed had Jerry Hairston not booted a simple ground ball in the fourth inning that helped lead to the go-ahead run.
On offense, basically everything worthwhile came in the third inning, as the Dodgers turned six singles (including one of two by Billingsley) into four runs. That’s all well and good, but they managed just three other singles in the other eight innings – none after Billingsley’s second hit, coming in the fourth inning – and it further underscores how tough it is to put together a good offense without that big bat. Entering the night, the Dodgers had the second-best OBP in baseball, but only the 20th-best slugging percentage. That usually means your offense relies on stringing together several hits in a row, and while that’s wonderful when it happens (like in that third inning), it’s incredibly difficult to score when it doesn’t. A double here and there – or lord forbid, even a homer, of which only two teams in baseball have hit fewer – would do wonders. (Obviously, this isn’t much of a surprise considering how long Matt Kemp has been out.)