OK, so maybe it’s not as impressive in April as it would be in September, but it’s something for Dodgers fans to be excited about nonetheless.
The Dodgers combined timely hitting, solid defense, another strong start from Chad Billingsley, and a steady bullpen performance to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 4-1, at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday night.
Juan Rivera led the way for the Dodger offense, going 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored. Rivera’s three hits boost his average to .364 on the young season, behind only Matt Kemp’s .400 clip for the team lead.
Billingsley (W, 2-0) pitched six strong innings, allowing just five hits and one earned run, a home run by Clint Barmes in the third inning.
I’ll tell you what. The Dodgers are going to be just fine if Andre Ethier continues to knock in 10 runs a week.
Ethier continued his early hot streak, going 2-for-4 with an RBI, which he recorded in the sixth inning when he drove in Kemp with a single. His 10 RBIs are good for the best total in the bigs thus far.
Matt Guerrier, Kenley Jansen and Javy Guerra teamed up to pitch an inning a piece and shut down the Pirate offense. They combined to allow only one hit over three innings while striking out four. Guerra picked up his MLB-best fourth save of the season.
One Up: Juan Rivera, LF; 3-for-4, R, 2 RBI
Rivera is one of the X-factors for the Dodgers this season, along with James Loney and Juan Uribe. So far this season, Rivera is far outplaying the latter two. He has the luxury of hitting in between two of the best hitters in the National League in Kemp and Ethier, and he has been taking advantage of the pitches he’s seen thus far.
One Down: James Loney, 1B; 0-for-2
This is pretty much Loney’s default slot by now, but he won’t play his way out of it until he records his first hit. Hopefully, for the Dodgers’ sake, it’ll come very soon.
W: Chad Billingsley (2-0)
L: Erik Bedard (0-2)
SV: Javy Guerra (4)
HR: PIT: Clint Barmes (1)