Snakebit Again at Chase Field

One thing is certain after eight games, the Dodgers will put this one out of their minds much quicker than their fans will. As the immortal Crash Davis said, "Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and sometimes it rains." He should have added, "Sometimes you get your hat handed to you." And that's just what happened last night.

Facing Arizona starter Doug Davis, who will have a thyroid cancer operation tomorrow, the Dodgers played like a club that hasn't yet settled into what they will become.

Billingsley threw a fastball to fastball-happy Mark Reynolds and he promptly deposited it in the left field seats. It was his third home run of the series -- the Dodgers have three in eight games.

Billingsley wiggled out of a bases loaded mess in the second but then in the third he faced six batters and retired only one of them on a sacrifice fly that made it 4-0.

Davis' (1-1) had a key single himself in an inning that pushed Arizona's lead to 5-0.

Billingsley was making his first start and manager Joe Torre said Billingsley's routine was disrupted last Wednesday night, when he was scratched 20 minutes before a scheduled start because of an anticipated rain delay, pitched one-third of an inning of relief that night before the delay actually occurred, then pitched two more innings of relief Friday night.

"We screwed around with him his last start," said Torre. "We banged him and brought him in relief. He's not using it as a reason. But he didn't get into any kind of rhythm, he didn't look comfortable. At the time we made the decision, it made sense. I'm not saying we would have done anything different. But starting pitchers get into a routine and it certainly got in the way of his routine. It was just the circumstances more so than the decision. We made the decision, so we have to take our share of the blame, too."

The youngster, however, had no excuses. "I had nothing" he said. He had dug himself into a 3-0 hole in the opening inning and was gone after 2.1 innings. He hit a pair of Diamondbacks, allowed five hits, who of which left the field, and walked three.

The park was filled with emotion for Davis, who apparently didn't need much help as he struck out seven in his six innings of work and received a standing ovation as he left the field.

Davis noted that the Dodgers crusty second baseman Jeff Kent, stopped him briefly and said, "Best of luck to you and God bless,"

Amid the wreckage, there was a bright spot or two. Hong-Chih Kuo, who pitched three scoreless innings when he substituted for Billingsley last week against the Giants, pitched 3.2 scoreless innings.

And Matt Kemp, who has been missing in action for a number of games while the Dodger coaching staff proved to themselves that Juan Pierre really couldn't hit, chipped in three of the Dodgers 11 hits, including his first triple of the season.

Kent and rookie Blake DeWitt added a double and a single.

But Los Angeles has been outscored 19-8 in their two games and were handicapped by 4-0 and 3-0 deficits in the first inning, doesn't have the punch to overcome those sorts of problems.

The $18-million-man Andruw Jones was 0-for-3 with a strikeout and walk, looks as if he is more than satisfied to draw a walk. His average plummeted to .103 and without his expensive price tag would be switching apartments with Jason Repko in Las Vegas. His numbers are a solid contributor to the Dodgers .224 team average.

The Diamondbacks switched to the youth movement a full year quicker than the Dodgers, who demanded their prospects "knock the door down" before giving them a shot in The Show. The result is that Arizona has an even younger team that Torre does.

The DBacks were the ones who drew six walks, four hit batsmen and 12 hits, six of them coming with runners in scoring position, a statistic that the Dodgers don't talk about with just cause. (That's explainable, they were 2-for-11 last night and 5-for-31 the last five games, an average of .161).

Billingsley threw 70 pitches, 38 of them were balls and suffered from the distraction of the flying trip to China instead of allowing Torre a full spring season to evaluate his troops. The PR was excellent and the club may reap a good player or two in the future, but, like the man who was run out of town on a rail said, "If it wasn't for the honor of the thing, I would just as soon skip it."

Torre, who beat cancer himself, put the night in perspective for all of us. "Certainly, he has a much more important game coming up," he Torre. "We all pray it goes well. It's tough to put yourself in his place and know what his emotions were. He did a great job keeping himself intact with the rubber."

The final game of the series tonight in Arizona will see RHP Hiroki Kuroda (1-0, 1.29) face RHP Micah Owings (1-0, 1.35) before the team returns home to host San Diego for three games.
 Score by innings
Los Angeles	000 002 021- 5
Arizona	        302 000 41x-10

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	4  1  1  0  .387
Kemp rf        	5  1  3  0  .273
Ethier lf	3  1  0  1  .276
Kent 2b        	4  1  2  2  .280
Loney 1b	5  1  2  0  .367	
Bennett c	3  0  0  0  .000
 Martin ph-c	1  0  0  0  .120
DeWitt 3b	4  0  2  2  .280
Billingsley p	1  0  0  0  .000
 Kuo p        	1  0  1  0  1.000
 Young ph	1  0  0  0  .200
 Troncoso p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Sweeney ph	1  0  0  0  .200
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
  Totals	36  5 11  5
  Arizona	34 10 12 10

 Error- Furcal (3). 2b- Kent (2), DeWitt
(2), Furcal (4). 3b- Kemp (1). RBI- Kent
2 (6), DeWitt 2 (2), Ethier (4).  SF-
Ethier. LOB- Los Angeles 9, Arizona 12.
DP- DeWitt and Loney.

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Billingsley (0-1)2.1  5  5-4  3  1  9.64
Kuo        	3.2  3  0-0  1  5  0.00
Troncoso	1.0  2  4-4  2  0  7.71
Broxton	        1.0  2  1-1  0  3  2.70
 HBP- by Billingsley 2, by Kuo, by Troncoso.
T- 3:36. Att- 28,973.
Infielder Received for Hull
When the Dodgers traded reliever Eric Hull to Boston they received minor-league infielder Christian Lara. Lara was with the Red Sox's Single-A Lancaster affiliate, which at the time was playing the Dodgers' Inland Empire club, so all he had to do before Tuesday night's game is switch clubhouses.

Brazoban Improving
DeJon Watson said Yhency Brazoban has already lost between five and 10 pounds and that his fastball is routinely hitting the 89-93 mph range. He also said Brazo has had a good attitude despite being sent to Double-A Jacksonville to start the season when he came to camp believing he would be in the majors.?"He hasn't pitched in about a year, so he is just really getting his overall strength back," Watson said. "He has had no setbacks whatsoever, and he has been diligent about getting to the ballpark early and getting his work in. He hasn't slacked off at all."

Nomar Back Soon
Third baseman Nomar Garciaparra could rejoin the team as early as Monday, when the Dodgers begin a three-game series with Pittsburgh. He reported no ill effects from having taken regular batting practice on Monday, and he actually joined the early session Tuesday.?Garciaparra hasn't played in a game since March 7, when he suffered a microfracture in his right hand after being hit by a pitch in a Grapefruit League game.

Pierre over Kemp???
Aaron Gleeman, writing on the Rotoworld site, has this to day about the Pierre/Kemp situation.

"Joe Torre received praise last week in this space for smartly choosing Andre Ethier to start over Juan Pierre in the Dodgers' outfield, but apparently that was speaking too soon.

"Ethier has indeed been playing regularly, but Torre has still managed to get Pierre into the lineup by inexplicably benching the team's best outfielder, Matt Kemp. Kemp batted .342 with an .894 OPS in 98 games with the Dodgers last season, which was extremely impressive for a 22-year-old.

"It never even crossed my mind that Kemp might be benched for Pierre, because that seemed so obviously misguided, yet that's exactly what's happened. Pierre started over Kemp for a third straight game Monday and has forced him to the bench four times in seven games this season.

"Kemp played Tuesday against left-hander Doug Davis and his three hits plus Pierre's 1-for-15 (.067) start may help Torre come to his senses, but his decision-making is in serious question."

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