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Torre lets Dodgers rest a day after tough loss

Dodgers reliever Cory Wade heads off after giving up a tying homer and a single Monday.

Associated Press

Dodgers reliever Cory Wade heads off after giving up a tying homer and a single Monday.

LOS ANGELES — The Dodgers are facing a difficult road to get back in the NL Championship Series, and manager Joe Torre decided the best way to begin that process was a day off.

No batting practice Tuesday. No infield, either. Just time away from the ballpark to rest and a few extra moments for Torre to come up with something to say, with Los Angeles coming off a costly late-inning loss and trailing the Phillies 3-1 in the best-of-seven series.

"I'll just remind them of everything that they've accomplished to this point and to just continue to fight," he said. "You don't get to this time of year without the ability to win three, four, five games in a row."

The Dodgers are in a hole after pinch-hitter Matt Stairs' two-out, two-run homer off Jonathan Broxton capped a four-run eighth and sent Philadelphia to a 7-5 victory Monday night. Game 5 is 8:22 tonight in Los Angeles.

"I think the fans were just as disappointed and shocked as we were," Casey Blake said after the Dodgers blew a two-run lead. "We have nothing to lose now. We need to grasp onto every positive thought we can at this time."

That's why Torre canceled the team's scheduled workout, believing another round of BP was useless.

"I just thought getting away from it would probably benefit them more than anything else," he said. "I sense we'll be back here with the right attitude. These guys have been playing hard. There's a little inexperience sprinkled in, but we know that. But they're certainly not afraid."

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel took the opposite approach, with his team swinging freely on a warm, sunny day that offered only a hint of a breeze rustling the palm trees in leftfield.

"We don't want to disrupt the flow of things," Greg Dobbs said before batting practice. "There's a nice sense of realism in here. You don't want to give any team hope. You want to pounce early, score runs and put pressure on defensively."

History is on Philadelphia's side. Nine of the previous 11 teams to go up 3-1 won the NLCS.

"We're anticipating something good to happen," Jimmy Rollins said. "No one is overly excited. When we get there, we'll be excited."

Chad Billingsley, 24, starts tonight for the Dodgers, who need a better performance out of the right-hander than what he showed in Game 2. He allowed eight runs, seven earned, and eight hits over 21/3 innings in an 8-5 loss Friday in Philadelphia.

"It's pretty much do or die," he said Monday.

Billingsley took it hard after Phillies starter Brett Myers, a career .116 hitter, hit a go-ahead single off him with two outs in the second, then chased him with a two-run single in the third.

"He's sensitive, yet he's very aggressive and very sure of himself," Torre said. "The tough part about playing in this postseason is to make sure you keep it as a baseball game and let the panic come from the manager and not from you. Hopefully he can get himself in that frame of mind … you can only win one game right now and that's the game you're pitching."

Game 1 winner Cole Hamels returns for the Phillies. He staked the Dodgers to a 2-0 lead in the series opener before settling down, allowing two runs and six hits over seven innings.

"He's our guy. Anytime you have your guy going you feel very confident," Dobbs said. "He finds a way to right the ship the next time out. He's going to come out with a lot of intensity and as a club, we need to feed off that."

Torre lets Dodgers rest a day after tough loss 10/14/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 3:51pm]
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[Bill Serne | Times]