As you watched the first inning of yesterday’s game you had to think there was no way Chad Billingsley was going to make it through more than 5 innings. First it was walking Roger Bernadina after getting ahead of him zero balls and two strikes, then it was hitting Danny Espinosa on a 1 ball 2 strike pitch. After two straight singles the Nats had a 1-to-0 lead, the bases loaded and Bills had yet to retire a batter.
Yet he responded to strike out the side and the Nats would not get another hit the rest of the game. Billingsley needed 38 pitches to make it out of the first inning, he would need only 77 pitches to get through the next 6, finishing with 10 strike-outs.
The Dodgers then turned to their suddenly dynamic duo of Kenley Jansen and Javy Guerra to seal the deal. Jansen has now gone 12 appearances without allowing a run. Even more impressive is he’s only allowed 3 hits during that span, while striking out 22. In the process he has lowered his ERA to a season best 3.86.
Meanwhile Guerra registered his 7th save of the season in a non-dramatic 1-2-3 fashion. Known for making his save opportunities as dramatic as possible, Guerra was pleasingly boring on Sunday getting the heart of the Nats order to strike out, fly out and ended the game by striking out the Nats $126 million dollar man Jayson Werth. It was the third straight appearance for Guerra in which he didn’t allow any base-runners, resulting in 2 saves and a win, and he seems to have settled into the closers role quite nicely.
For Werth it was strike out number 99, in just 97 games, and for Nationals fans patience has to be running thin for their $126 million dollar off-season investment. Werth looks nothing like the player he was in Philadelphia who resurrected his career after battling wrist injuries which ultimately cost him his job with the Dodgers.
On a personal note, not like anyone cares, Werth is killing me in my dynasty fantasy baseball league. In a league with a salary cap that averages about $10 per player with a 30 man roster, I made the mistake of trading away a $23 Prince Fielder for a $13 Jayson Werth, and since the time of that trade Werth has been garbage. So if Nats fans are looking for an outlet for their Werth frustrations they need to look no further than Lasorda’s Lair.
The Dodgers are back at it tonight with stud rookie Rubby De La Rosa on the mound against the Rockies. As the Dodgers sit 11 games under .500 and 13.5 games out of the playoff hunt one can only wonder at what point players like Hiroki Kuroda, Jamey Carroll, and hopefully Matt Guerrier will be on the move. The latest buzz has the Yankees interested in Kuroda, perhaps Colletti can figure out some way to pry Jesus Montero away from them and in the process actually give the Dodgers a catcher who is a threat offensively, yeah right.
Finally be sure to check out The Pulse Network tomorrow at 10am ET and tune in to their Sports Buzz show. Lasorda’s Lair will be the feature Dodgers correspondent as we talk McCourt, trade deadline and what the Dodgers will do the final two months of the season. It’s guaranteed to be quality TV.