LOS ANGELES -- As frustration continued to set in for the Los Angeles Dodgers after the Cincinnati Reds completed a three-game sweep with a 7-2 victory at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday, manager Don Mattingly's frustration seemed to center on right-hander Chad Billingsley, who struggled for the third consecutive start.
The Reds scored all seven of their runs off Billingsley in the first four innings. He also gave up nine hits, all of them when he was either ahead or even in counts.
"Ultimately, you have to go out and tell yourself you're not going to make mistakes, that you're going to throw the ball where you want to throw it," Mattingly said. "I don't have any magic words. You've got to get yourself ready to play and to pitch to each guy. Really, the mindset has to be that you're not going to be denied, you're not going to make mistakes and they're going to have to fight to beat you.''
In his past three starts, Billingsley is 1-2 with an 11.19 ERA. During that span, he has given up a staggering 30 hits in 13 2/3 innings.
"Honestly, it's still the same stuff,'' Mattingly said. "You still see the ball coming out the same way. But you can't just throw the ball by people, because if you're going to catch too much of the plate, you're going to get hit. It's as simple as that. (The Reds) are too good a team, and really, everybody you face, you have to throw the ball where you want it. If you can't (do that), you're going to be in trouble."
Billingsley was at a loss to explain the way he has pitched of late.
"I definitely didn't get the job done," he said. "I was throwing strikes and getting ahead of hitters, but I couldn't put them away. I'm just not executing pitches in certain situations. It just wasn't very good today. I just have to come back out and get better, just keep working hard and figure it out."
Billingsley said there really was no difference in this start and his previous two, one of which he won despite giving up four runs on eight hits over five innings against the Reds in Cincinnati on June 5.
"It's the same problem,"' he said.
Dodgers catcher Rod Barajas said that besides not being able to spot his fastball, Billingsley (5-6) also didn't have the usual sharpness to his curveball against the Reds, something that only exacerbated his struggle.
"He is one of our horses," Barajas said. "When he goes out there, we expect him to go seven and give us a chance to win. The last few times out, it just hasn't been there. It's frustrating, not only for him but for everybody in this clubhouse. It's just a matter of getting behind him and encouraging him to get back to where he needs to be.''
Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.