04/13/10 8:42 PM ET
Strong debuts make Billingsley, Lopez hot ticket
By Bailey Stephens / MLB.com
The Dodgers hand the ball to Billingsley on Wednesday as the young right-hander goes for win No. 2 of the young season. Prior to his first start, the Dodgers had lost back-to-back games before Billingsley allowed just five hits and one run in a win over the Pirates to prevent the sweep.
Thanks to an offensive burst in their home opener, Billingsley won't have to take the hill with the team on a losing note. He will be focused on churning out another quality start, in hopes of earning the Dodgers a series win. Despite the fact that he barely lasted into the sixth, Billingsley turned in a good outing and said he isn't concerned with the length of his outings right now, he only wants to pitch effectively.
"You can't think about the seventh inning in the first inning," he said.
While Billingsley isn't considering length, manager Joe Torre likely will be looking for him to pitch a little deeper into the game. On Tuesday, Clayton Kershaw couldn't escape the sixth inning and Torre had to call on Jeff Weaver for the sixth time in seven games. Either way, Weaver is probably lined up for a day off soon.
Lopez, meanwhile, opened some eyes in his first start, beating the Pirates, 9-1, in his debut. The former Orioles pitcher threw six strong innings, allowing just one run. While some were surprised at his dominance in his debut and in Spring Training, his manager A.J. Hinch expected such results.
"He's done pretty well in his career, he's answered the bell, he's won more games than the average person would know, which makes him reliable.
"It's not as if he came from nowhere. The guy can pitch."
Lopez beat out Billy Buckner and Kevin Mulvey for the No. 4 spot in the rotation in Spring Training and if his first start is any indication, Lopez isn't inclined to give it up anytime soon.
D-backs: Young adds another RBI
Chris Young continues to add to his RBI total, picking up No. 12 on the season against the Dodgers. Young's total more than doubles any of his teammates. He is currently tied with Kelly Johnson for the team lead in homers with three.
Dodgers: Bats blasting off in home opener
The Dodgers' offense went yard in Tuesday's home opener as four different players hit long balls. Manny Ramirez (solo) and Casey Blake (two-run) both hit homers in the fourth inning. Matt Kemp added a solo blast of his own in the fifth, followed by a three-run shot by Andre Ethier in the sixth. The homers were the first of the season for Ramirez, Blake and Ethier.
Lopez is 1-2 with a 3.18 ERA against the Dodgers in his career. ... Justin Upton is likely not excited about facing Billingsley as he's hitting .071 against the righty with just one hit in 19 career plate appearances.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.