Chad Billingsley has been strong for the Dodgers all year long, evidenced by his finishing the last three and a half months of the regular season with a 12-3 record. But in his only NLCS appearance, he was anything but, allowing seven earned runs in just two and one-third innings: the worst outing of his career. The Dodgers are hoping the regular season version is the one they get tonight, as they'll send Billingsley to the mound to try and stave off elimination for their critical Game 5 match-up against the Phillies.
"I think the last time out he may have tried to over-prepare," Torre said. "Looked like he was trying to do too many things or think about doing too many things, as opposed to just going out there and staying with his plan of using his stuff and changing speeds and the variety that he has."
Some teammates expressed their frustration that, *ahem* "nobody" retaliated for inside pitches at Russell Martin and Manny Ramirez from the Phillies' Brett Myers, and obviously, that "nobody" is Billingsley. Chad said that he tried to come inside a couple of times, but he just couldn't get it in enough. The Dodgers' Hiroki Kuroda had no problem doing so however, as he threw at the head of the Phillies' Shane Victorino, which caused the benches to clear in the third inning of Game 3.
The Phillies ultimately won the retaliation battle, coming from behind to take Game 4 and a commanding 3-1 series lead. Tonight they'll send their ace Cole Hamels to the mound, who beat the Dodgers in Game 1 by allowing just two earned runs over seven innings. The Dodgers' bats will have to be sharp to get to Hamels, which hasn't been a problem for Manny Ramirez, considering the fact that he's reached base 12 times in 18 trips to the plate in the series.
After the emotional Game 4 loss, manager Joe Torre gave the team the next day off to get themselves mentally ready for what could be an elimination game. Torre fully expects his guys to come out fighting, and even mentioned the cliche of "taking it one game at a time." Because trailing three games to one, that's really all the team can focus on at this point if they hope to stay alive.