Torre banks on break from baseball to fire up Dodgers for Game 5

Updated: October 14, 2008, 9:21 PM ET
Reuters

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre gave his team a break from practice on Tuesday in a bid to recharge their playoff batteries for Game 5 against the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Dodgers squandered a 5-3 lead before losing 7-5 on Monday and they trail the Phillies 3-1 in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series.

"It was a very emotional game last night," Torre told reporters at Dodger Stadium. "Guys were down. I just thought getting away from it would probably benefit them more than anything else.

"We just obviously can't concern ourselves [with] what has already happened. We have to go out there and play a game tomorrow night, and I have a sense that we will."

The Dodgers face a daunting challenge in their bid to reach the World Series for the first time in 20 years but Torre expects his team to play with much more fire in Wednesday's Game 5.

"This ball club has been fighting back, doing a lot of things," he said. "Inexperienced at times, but it doesn't put them on their heels.

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

Although the Dodgers have to win the next three games to advance to the World Series, Torre has cautioned his team against looking too far ahead.

"What we have to do is make sure we just go out and put the blinkers on, win tomorrow and then concern ourselves with the next day and hopefully in Game 7 again," he said. "We just have to think in terms of not looking too far ahead."

Right-handed pitcher Chad Billingsley will start for the Dodgers on Wednesday and Torre expects the 24-year-old to banish his painful memories from Game 2.

Billingsley allowed eight runs, seven of them earned, in 2 1/3 innings in the Dodgers' 8-5 loss.

"He's sensitive, yet he's very aggressive and very sure of himself," Torre said. "And I think he was mad at himself for being sort of in between in that start.

"He's pitched a lot of important games this year. Hopefully, he can get himself in that frame of mind [where] you remind yourself this is still a baseball game. You can only win one game right now and that's the game you're pitching."