Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Chad Billingsley is Back

Chad Billingsley turned out one of his best starts of the year (photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

They worked on his delivery in Spring Training and he got pounded.  They said not to worry about Spring Training performances, after all, he was simply working on his mechanics, but how could you not be concerned.  Billingsley was getting hit hard.

As the season started he looked good.  He made it into the 9th inning, shutting out the Padres in the season debut.  Then he beat the Pirates at home.  Yeah, there was a terrible start against Houston, but he wrapped up April with a 2-1 record and 2.64 ERA.  It looked like the Dodger starter that is signed through the 2015 season would be productive, but then regression set in.

Billingsley wasn’t tearing the league apart, and he was surely hittable.  Slowly his ERA started creeping up.   Chad couldn’t put hitters away.  His pitch counts were high.  It seemed like he was always pitching himself into 3-2 counts and that hitters would foul off 2 strike pitches over and over again.  He didn’t have that pitch that would put hitters away.  By the 5th and 6th innings, Chad was tiring due to high pitch counts.

In June the losses started to pile up and by the All Star break he’d lost five in a row and was 4-9 with a career high 4.30 ERA.  Bills wasn’t going to say anything was wrong, but the Dodgers put him on the D.L. with elbow inflammation at the All Star break.  Chad wasn’t at all pleased with it, but it turns out that rest was just what the doctor ordered.

Since coming off the disabled list, Billingsley has turned out these performances:

July 23, 6 IP, 7H, 1 ER - a win by the Dodgers at St. Louis 5-3
July 28, 7 1/3 IP, 4 H, 0 ER - a win by the Dodgers at San Francisco 10-0
August 3, 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER - a win over the Cubs at home 6-1
August 8, 6 1/3 IP, 7 H, 4 ER - a win over the Rockies at home 6-4
August 14, 8 IP, 5 H, 0 ER - a win by the Dodgers at Pittsburgh 9-0

Those are 5 key wins in the heat of the pennant stretch.  If Billingsley turns out to be the true number two pitcher that we have always known he is capable of, the Dodgers just may have the most valuable addition they could have ever attained at the trade deadline.  And they didn’t even need to give up a prospect for him.

Some say it’s the beard he has grown.  Others the rest he got after the break.  Whatever it is, it has worked.  A 1-2-3 punch of Kershaw-Billingsley-Capuano is enough to take this club far into the post season.

12-1 in the Eastern Time Zone

With a 11-0 route of the Pirates today, the Dodgers continued pounding teams on the road in the Eastern Time Zone.  I’m not sure if there’s an explanation for it, but it certainly is a welcome surprise.  This East Coast trip that many dreaded is turning out to be the best road stretch this team has had all season.  With the Dodgers tied for first in the division, they also find themselves on the cusp of being one of the top two records for the wild card spot.  They are 5-0 against a fine Pirate team this season too.
Luis Cruz eludes a Clint Barmes tag (photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Luis Cruz’s career high 3- hit, 3- RBI night paced the Dodgers into the early lead.  Hanley Ramirez also had a 3 knocks as well, but we can’t ignore Chad Billingsley stellar starting pitching.  Billingsley has evened his record at 9-9 and lowered his ERA almost a full run in the last five starts.  

Tomorrow Dodger ace Clayton Kershaw takes the mound against Wandy Rodriguez.

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