Rays to uncover unused seats at Tropicana Field - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Rays to uncover unused seats at Tropicana Field

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Posted: Wednesday, October 15, 2008 7:35 pm | Updated: 10:47 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

LOS ANGELES - The Dodgers' latest last hope rests squarely on the shoulders of pitcher Chad Billingsley.

He's the one who will take the ball tonight at Dodger Stadium, trying to keep the Dodgers alive in the National League championship series.

Billingsley is the one who will try to put his Game 2 performance behind him and look more like the pitcher who the Dodgers were able to rely on the most during the regular season.

"It's pretty much do-or-die," Billingsley said of tonight's game against the Philadelphia Phillies.

"We've just got to come ready to play."

The Phillies followed that advice when they faced Billingsley last week in Philadelphia.

They scored seven earned runs off Billingsley in 2 1/3 innings and beat the Dodgers, 8-5.

While much of the attention in the game was focused on Phillies pitcher Brett Myers, who had three hits, drove in three runs and threw one pitch behind Manny Ramirez's head, Dodgers manager Joe Torre could tell the Billingsley he saw that night wasn't the same one who won 14 games during the regular season.

Billingsley's Game 2 meltdown reminded Torre of a starting pitcher that he had while managing the New York Yankees.

Andy Pettitte, fresh off 21 victories in 1996, self-destructed in the first game of that season's World Series against the Atlanta Braves. Pettitte gave up seven runs in 2 1/3 innings. The Yankees lost that game, 12-1.

"I talked to him (Pettitte) the next day and said, 'I've never seen you do that before,' " Torre recalled.

"He said, 'Yeah, I just thought I had to do something different because it was the World Series.'

"He pitched a 1-0 shutout the next time."

Torre is thinking that Billingsley had a similar problem last week in Philadelphia. He's hoping for a similar rebound.

"He was focused on starting the game but I think he was second-guessing himself about how he went about it," Torre said. "I don't think nervousness or anything like that factored in. I think it was just maybe a little over-preparation from trying to over-think it, which could happen to veterans, too."

One of Billingsley's problems in last week's loss was that he wasn't using the inside half of the plate to his advantage.

Most of his pitches were over the outside half of the plate, which was exactly what the hard-hitting Phillies wanted.

"Just the fact that he was out over the plate all day, that was the issue," Torre said. "You use both sides of the plate."

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