Down on the Dodgers Farm

Here's how well Chad Billingsley is pitching this year. He has an ERA of 1.84. In 29.1 innings, he's allowed only 18 hits and 13 walks while striking out 41. Wow, those stats look like the kind of numbers Roger Clemens is putting up in the big leagues. Clemens has won seven games already. So, how many has Billingsley won? Uh, well, uh, none.

Once again the Dodgers No. 1 draft choice of 2003 threw the ball superbly for Vero Beach Tuesday night but once again had nothing in the "W" column to show for it as Vero dropped a 3-1 decision to the Dunedin Blue Jays ro leave Billingsley at a totally misleading 0-3 for the season.

This time the 19-year-old righthander from Ohio threw seven innings in which he allowed only three hits and a pair of runs and one of those was unearned. He walked two while striking out seven. But the Dodgers could muster only a home run by Russell Martin, his fifth, and two singles by Rod Van Buizen in the way of offense to fall five games back in the Florida State East.

As a matter of fact there wasn't a victory to be had in the whole system for the second evening in a row. Vegas came home, only to lose to New Orleans (Astros) 8-6, Jacksonville dropped a 4-2 decision to the Greenville Braves and a late Columbus rally failed to catch Lake County (Indians) as the Catfish were edged 5-4.

The last time out Heath Totten was slammed for five home runs. This time he didn't give up one but unfortunately he was clipped for 11 hits of other varieties in the Vegas loss. Totten's now 1-4 and the 51's are 5 1/2 behind in the Pacific Coast South. Chin Feng Chen racked up two doubles and a single, Antonio Perez a double and single and both Jose Flores and Koyie Hill, a pair of base knocks as Vegas didn't lack hitting.

Jacksonville's lead in the Southern League East is down to one game after its second setback by Greenville. Ryan Ketchner held the Braves to two runs in five innings but those were enough to hand him his first loss after three victories. Edwin Bellorin hit his first home run for the Suns while Jason Repko had two hits and stole his ninth base.

Brandon Weeden of Columbus was still another starter who put forth a strong effort only to pinned with defeat. Weeden, now 2-3, threw five innings in which he was nicked for three hits and two runs (one earned). The Captains, however, then got to Ozzie Rodriguuez to build a 5-0 lead that a pair of two-run homers by Jereme Milons (No. 4) and Tony Abreau (No. 3) couldn't overcome.

Mike Nixon banged out two hits as the Fish dropped two games back in the South Atlantic South.