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NLCS

Dodgers Hiroki Kuroda ready to take on the Phillies again

Dodgers Manager Joe Torre, meanwhile, juggles Game 3 lineup, moving Ronnie Belliard to second in the order.

October 19, 2009|Dylan Hernandez

PHILADELPHIA — Not even Chad Billingsley escaped from Citizens Bank Park unscathed Sunday night.

Replaced in the rotation by Hiroki Kuroda, the 25-year-old All-Star looked in mop-up duty the way he did in his last couple of starts in the regular season -- solid, up to a certain point.

In his first appearance of this postseason, Billingsley was charged with two runs, two hits and two walks in 3 1/3 innings.

Manager Joe Torre first had Billingsley warm up when Kuroda gave up a two-run home run to Jayson Werth that put the Dodgers behind, 4-0. Torre asked him to get loose again in the second inning when Scott Elbert worked his way into trouble and inserted him into the game with two on and two out.

Billingsley struck out Werth to get out of the inning without letting the Phillies extend their 6-0 edge.

Billingsley didn't give up any hits over the next two innings, limiting the Phillies to a walk in that span.

But he walked Raul Ibanez with two out in the fifth inning, setting up a run-scoring triple by Pedro Feliz. Carlos Ruiz knocked in Feliz with a single to right that increased the Phillies' lead to 8-0.

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A long time coming

Randy Wolf will do something tonight that he never did in his eight seasons with the Phillies: pitch in a postseason game in Philadelphia.

"It's kind of surreal," Wolf said. "It's really weird. You know, my second postseason start is against a team that, basically, I was born and raised with."

Wolf admitted that he felt a tinge of jealousy when he watched the Phillies win the World Series without him.

"I'd be lying if I said there was a part of me that wasn't jealous," said Wolf, who last pitched for the Phillies in 2006. "I was jealous. I was with the organization for a long time and I obviously missed the boat."

Wolf developed a cult following when he pitched in Philadelphia, as he had his own fan club that wore wolf masks and called itself the "Wolf Pack." He said he has kept in touch with members of the group.

"I know they'll be here, but I don't think they'll be in costume," Wolf said. "They're born and raised Philadelphians and they're Phillies fans, first and foremost. I think for the sake of their own lives, they'll keep that under wraps."

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A little change

With the Dodgers facing a left-hander in Cliff Lee on Sunday, Torre drew up a lineup that had Ronnie Belliard batting second.

The reason: He wanted to keep Andre Ethier in the No. 3 spot.

"I've been a lot more comfortable with him against left-handers," Torre said.

Ethier batted .194 against left-handers in the regular season and normally hits second when the opposition has a left-hander on the mound. But in the Dodgers' first five games of this postseason, he was three for seven with a walk against lefties.

"He's hit them in the past," hitting coach Don Mattingly said. "There's no reason he shouldn't hit them. His swing is short. His swing is quick. He's not afraid. I think it's all about him having an approach against the guy he's facing."

What makes Ethier special, Mattingly said, is his ability to wait on pitches.

"Against lefties, for some reason, he's wanted to go get it instead of letting it come to him," Mattingly said.

But that's changed in the last couple of weeks.

"I think he's letting the ball get farther," Mattingly said.

Mattingly was particularly pleased with how Ethier drew a bases-loaded walk from left-hander J.A. Happ to force in the deciding run in the Dodgers' victory in Game 2.

"That at-bat was tremendous," Mattingly said. "He took that pitch easy, that last one. He saw it right away."

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Game 5 starter?

Torre backtracked from his comments Saturday, when he said that he expected Clayton Kershaw to start Game 5.

Like Kershaw, Vicente Padilla threw a bullpen session Sunday. Because of the off day Tuesday, Padilla could pitch Game 5 on a regular four days' rest.

Torre said he has told both Kershaw and Padilla to be ready to pitch Wednesday.

"I'm not sure what would tip the scales," Torre said. "I just want that option."

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dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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