Time to Play When Games Really Count

Back in the day, as goes the popular phrase, players would tell you that all they needed to be ready for the regular season would be about five games. Any more than that is a waste of time. However, clubs quickly came to understand they could charge nearly regular-season prices for games that didn't count, didn't matter if you won or lost and they became more for making money than getting ready.

Then came the World Baseball Classic, and the addition of about another week of meaningless games, more for those who were involved in the WBC.

Well before the Dodgers' 35th or 36th game, depending on how you count, it was apparent that whatever that number is, it is too many exhibition games.

Putting our soapbox away, we can tell you that Milwaukee scored on five of the eight pitchers used and came away with a 7-2 win in front of 24,899 fans.

Starter Chad Billingsley, pitching for the first time in 11 days, worked five innings and allowed only four hits and a couple runs, both coming on a home run by Jason Kendall, enough runs to be tagged with the loss. Billingsley threw 78 pitches, a full 70% (58) of them for strikes.

Russell Martin spanked his 4th homer of the spring season and the rest of the night the Dodgers went quietly.

Billingsley announced afterwards that he felt great and was very happy with both is new off-speed pitches and his fastball. He had a slight groin pull earlier in the spring and over his previous three starts had allowed 10 runs in 9.1 innings.

Manager Joe Torre took time away from his difficult task of separating the 25 players he wants to keep from the 36 still on the roster.

"Billingsley was great," He said. "He got behind in the fifth inning with that two-run homer, but I thought his stuff was really high quality and it looked easy for him."

But he went on, "These last cuts are the toughest. I always try to come from a positive side but it depends on the age. It's hard to find positives in telling a 36- or 37-year-old you don't know if he will get better. But it's about getting into what our needs are."

His decisions will be announced after the game tonight against the same Brewers.

Milwaukee improved to 21-10 with the win and five of their six pitchers didn't allow a run during the evening.

They increased the 2-0 lead they had taken off Billingsley through five by putting a "4" on the scoreboard in the sixth off Guillermo Mota, Will Ohman and Tanyon Sturtze. The Brewers tapped Jeff Weaver for their last run in the seventh.

Martin homered in the last of the inning to record the only Los Angeles runs.

Matt Kemp singled twice and Mark Loretta added a double in the ninth.

Left-hander Clayton Kershaw, who is 2-1 with a 5.11 ERA in seven Spring Training outings, will start for the Dodgers against the Brewers tonight. It will be Kershaw's final tune-up before he faces the Padres in the fourth game of the season.

 Score by innings
Milwaukee	000 024 100-7
Los Angeles	000 000 200-2

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	1  0  0  0  .239
 DeWitt ss	1  0  1  0  .300
Hudson 2b	2  0  1  0  .212
 Castro 2b-3b	2  0  0  0  .400
Ramirez lf	1  0  0  0  .478
 Weaver p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Paul ph-rf	2  1  1  0  .317
Ethier rf	3  0  0  0  .280
 Repko lf	1  0  0  0  .231
Martin c	3  1  1  2  .333
 Ellis c	1  0  0  0  .281
Loney 1b	2  0  0  0  .271
 Loretta 1b	2  0  1  0  .257
Kemp cf	        2  0  2  0  .276
 Hu pr-2b	0  0  0  0  .264
Blake 3b	3  0  0  0  .241
 Kuo p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Wade p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 Maza ph	1  0  0  0  .250
Billingsley p	1  0  0  0  .000
 Mota p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 Ohman p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Sturtze p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Pierre ph-lf   2  0  0  0  .258
  Totals	30 2  7 2
  Brewers	38 7 11 7

 Error- DeWitt (3). Two-base hits- 
Loretta (2). HR- Martin (4). RBI- Martin 
2 (14). CS- Kemp (6). LOB- Los Angeles 6, 
Milwaukee 8.

 Los Angeles	   ab  h r-er bb so  era
Billingsley (1-2)  5.0  4  2-2  0  5  5.51
Mota	           0-0  1  2-2  1  0  3.75
Ohman	           0-1  0  1-1  1  1 18.00
Sturtze	           0.2  3  1-1  0  1  9.72
Weaver	           1.0  2  1-1  0  0  7.20
Kuo 	           1.0  0  0-0  2  2  5.40
Broxton	           0.1  1  0-0  0  0 10.80
Wade	           0-2  0  0-0  0  1  4.05
 T- 3:05. Att- 24,899.

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