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The two faces of Chad Billingsley

The two faces of Chad Billingsley

June 4, 2009 – Tony Jackson’s Blog -  Chad Billingsley walked four batters, constantly flirted with danger and threw 111 pitches through six innings. He was good — good enough to get the win, anyway — but it is that tendency to nibble that has plagued him since the day he arrived in the major leagues, and it is that tendency that is still keeping him from joining the truly elite pitchers in the National League, guys like Jake Peavy, Johan Santana, Tim Lincecum, etc.
   dodgersGive him credit for this, though: as much trouble as he got himself into tonight, he always managed to get out of it. During his six innings, the Diamondbacks stranded seven runners, four of them in scoring position. Five if you count the one who was on second and got erased in a third-to-first double play to end the second (officially, you don’t count that guy).
   And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why Billingsley is a lot closer to that elite level mentioned above than he is to the often-scared pitcher he used to be. He appeared tonight to be trying to be too fine, and that might be the result of his having lost his two previous starts, even though he took a hardluck, 2-1 loss on Saturday at the Cubs. But what he didn’t appear to be tonight, at any point, was rattled.
   Oh, and he also struck out nine, just the third time in 11 starts this season that he has had at least that many.

   Daron Sutton and Mark Grace wondered after James Loney’s leadoff triple in the sixth inning, the one that led to the Dodgers’ only run, whether it might have been the result of Gerardo Parra playing Loney too far over into left-center. Parra did run a long, long way, and he did almost catch the ball, which skipped by him and into the corner after he went into an all-out dive. Doesn’t much matter now, though.

   Dodgers go to 37-18, second time this season they have been 19 games above .500, and push their division lead to 9 1/2 over the Giants, who got rained out in D.C. Phillies in for four starting tomorrow night, rematch of last year’s NLCS and a possible preview of this year’s.

28 Responses to “The two faces of Chad Billingsley”

  1. Mark_Timmons says:

    Nice win last night – a triple by James Loney? Then Blake does what has to be done and that's get the ball in the air to the outfield. 1-0! I'll take it! These guys are junkyard dogs.

    As I predicted, Andy LaRoche is hitting for a nice batting average, getting on base at an excellent rate, and playing solid defense. The next thing to develop will be his power. He will be a .300 hitter who hits 20-30 HR. I'm happy for him. Sad for us.

  2. CaptainLoose says:

    I saw that triple. Loney got lucky. Parra was playing him to pull, ran a long way, then misplayed the ball. Even after the long run, that pop-up should have been caught.

    Yes Tony, another Dodger pitcher who threw enough pitches to get him through 7+ but only got credit for 6. What up with that? Why so many pitchers with control issues?

    LaRoche is now playing with reasonable health, and is doing what most of us thought he could do if given a real chance. He should have a long and steady career. But, he did give us one full season of Manny, though that one season has been broken up over two years. I wonder if he will stay for a second – third – year? Any guesses? I say he is solid gone, to an A.L. team that needs a 3 year DH.

    This just in – the Dbacks can't hit worth spit. I wonder if the Phillies can?

  3. Mark_Timmons says:

    After what happened this year, and with the economy, I cannot see anyone giving Manny more than $20 mil next year, so I think we will have him one more year. Hopefully, Lambo, Russell, Hoffman or some other pheonem will develop during that time.

    Are you no longer the Badger, Captain?

  4. BillRussell says:

    I will let D Romo handle this LaRoche trash this morning. Peace….

  5. RT of D.C. says:

    Speaking of former Dodgers, Rob Dibble said during a Nationals broadcast that Koyie Hill had told him he would be learning to play 3B. Joe Thurston is currently on the Cardinals roster and with the McClouth trade, does that mean more time for Dilly-Delly Young? I think the trade that really hurts now is the Edwin Jackson trade. Baez and Lance Carter did nothing and I've seen Jackson pitch three times this year and he's been astonishing and he's 25 years old. Ugh, that hurts!

  6. BillRussell says:

    Can you imagine how good we could be if we had an Ace Pitcher on this team? We could put Bills in the 2 slot, Wolf in the 3 slot, Kuroda in the 4 slot and have Kershaw round out the staff?

    When Manny returns in July, we will have an extra outfielder again with Pierre showing he's too good to sit . I would hate to see Kemp or Ethier go but one of them could be Packaged for a quality arm. Looking at the outfield, I would say Manny, Pierre and Ethier wouldn't be my choice. Manny, Pierre and Kemp just has a better ring. The outfield defense would be down graded a bit but the pitching staff could become deadly. Just a thought…..

  7. Roger says:

    Billy, that is what those GMs get all the money for . . . to make trades and sign free agents. Who to trade, and who to sign. The Dodgers have made numerous mistakes over the past twenty years.

    Pitchers are tough decisions. A young gun gets a lot of publicity coming up in the minors — great stats, great praise, other teams want to trade for them. We bring them up, a good 5 innings of work, then get pushed around, then become a bit wild . . . The next season, not what the doctor ordered, back for some more seasoning, learn a new pitch — then the big club does not have enough arms — bring 'em up again.

    Conclusion then, they might not make it in the biggs. The club has a hole to fill, so the young gun is traded in a package . . . three four years later — they are now what they should be . . . and the old club still have a hole or two to fill.

  8. PhillyBlue says:

    Why are all the titles "Tony Jackson’s Blog"? This makes it difficult to track in RSS Readers.

  9. Mark_Timmons says:

    Philly Blue,

    I'll fix that.

  10. CaptainLoose says:

    The Badger had trouble logging in, so, he went back into hibernation.

    I would hate to lose Kemp. He is still 3 years away from hitting his most productive years. If we are going to move him, make it to some junior varstiy team in the American League. Can't we use Pierre and a couple of AA studs to get this arm we need? Why does it have to be a guy we will surely miss in a few short years?

    The way the Dodgers used to do it was to bring up one a year, have him win the R.O.Y. and do it again next year. I would think we still should be able to do something like that, blending our very best youth in with the FA's we, as a large market club that owns our own stadium, draws 3.5 mil b.i.s. revenues a year and will soon have a cable deal in place, can afford to do.

  11. CaptainLoose says:

    (too long again – so… conclusion)

    Yeah, Jed has some work to do. He has had a few hits along with his misses, but we need a G.M. that has better average than Casey Blake if we are going to win this thing.

    Speaking of Blake, where's my daily dose of LaBlake compares and contrasts. I am counting on you Bill. It's actually a close race, with the difference of only about $5 million separating the two.

  12. lawdog says:

    The has our best prospect rated as Scott Elbert, 51st on their list. Here's what they had to say about him.

    Scott Elbert
    Born 8/13/1985 (23 years old)
    LHP, LAD

    The Dodgers passed up Phil Hughes for Elbert (maybe foolishly, maybe not) but there's nothing foolish about Elbert. One of the minors' best left-handed pitchers, the first round pick Elbert has power stuff with an exploding 93-95 mph fastball and a sinker/slider that's best in class.

    However, Elbert's delivery is unconventional, often leading to some disastrous walk numbers and a few fingers pointing him to the Instructional League. His control looked more in hand before his 2007 season was shut down for some (minor) cleanup surgery, and he missed most of 2008 recovering, but the Dodgers saw enough in his return that they brought him all the way up to the big league club in the fall, using his lefthanded lightning from the bullpen during the stretch run. Elbert's arm quality is very very high, and he seems to have the mental makeup to survive some bumps along his path to the majors. Since the combination of the surgery flag and his odd delivery may scare too many people into ranking him quite low, he's an excellent sleeper candidate for 2009-2010. Chad Billingsley and Clay Kershaw still get most of the attention in LA right now, but Elbert just might be the real future ace of the Dodgers.

    I would add that Elbert has pitched well of late in the minors and can tell everyone that there is nothing wrong with his breaking ball and change up. He can change the speed and angle of snap on his curve so that it can come in fast hard with a short 12-6 break (like a slider) or slower and a more conventional snap and sweep from 11-5. His change dips a little and darts away from a right hander.

    This I get from watching him closely on television, but it was accurate at least as late as the last tie he pitched for the Dogs.

    Command is all he lacks and he's worth watching in the minors. His control already is very good. When he can throw his pitches into a dixie cup from 60 feet 6 inches he'll probably surpass Billingsley on the depth chart and become our ace.

  13. lawdog says:

    Oops! That source is the for those interested. Their next Dodger prospect is rated all the way down at #99. I guess we don't have too many can't miss prospects on the major league scouting lists anymore. Anyway, #99 is someone we all know and love. We've been debating whether to send him to the pen or try and make a starter out of him:

    James McDonald
    Born 10/19/1984 (24 years old)
    RHP, LAD

    A former two-way player who's come back slowly since a two year 'vacation' in center field, McDonald cruised through the minors in 2008 and landed in the Dodgers' bullpen just in time to give it a late-season playoff boost with one of the most impressive post-season performances of the year. His fastball might look like an average 92mph offering, but he throws it plus confidence and control, and mixes in both superior curve and real plus changeups for devastating effect.

    Concern about his durability has been pushing him into the bullpen, as expected, but as a finesse pitcher with a killer change and curve ball, his smallish frame might not matter. He's a nice option for the L.A. bullpen this year, with a chance to sneak into the rotation if the Dodgers don't bring in big-name replacements. As a reliever he could still be one of the league's ten best, but if he makes the starting five, watch out: he could have serious sleeper potential.

  14. Voldomer says:

    We can lament not having Jackson now, but being traded was probably the best thing for him. He had some rough years in Tampa Bay, and LA would not have been as patient with him. He was probably rushed to the big leagues, and it is good to see him finally get things going despite that.

    We'll always have that glorious night in 2003 when he beat the Big Unit. Maybe he'll end up in Blue again some day.

    Tony, do you hear of any Dodger interest in Glavine? I see several national writers suggesting it, but the LA Times says no. I could see him as a good mentor, but I don't think LA has roster room for that this year.

  15. lawdog says:

    Here's the guy we need to just go get:

    Yu Darvish
    Born 8/16/1986 (22 years old)
    RHP, Jap

    He's six foot five with a 94mph fastball and he's… Japanese? Well, half-Japanese, at least. Darvish, the Japanese/Iranian wunderkind who's half baseball star and half sex symbol, is Japan's best young pitcher. Playing for the Nippon Ham Fighters, Darvish posted a 1.82 ERA over 26 starts while striking out 210. Again, that's 210 strikeouts in only twenty-six starts.

    MLB players who've faced him or played beside him call him one of the best pitchers they've ever seen. His current manager calls him "the best pitcher in the history of Japanese baseball." And ex-manager Trey Hillman has said that if it was possible, Darvish would be worth "the rosters of a couple of major league teams" in a fair-value trade. (Then again, Hillman also said that Darvish's rock star cool was like "Fonzie and Elvis, both at the same time.")

    He's only 23, which means he has a lot of time to build his legend in Japan before even considering international free agency, but considering his age and skill level, and the way he'd justify a posting fee at least as high as Daisuke Matsuzaka's, it's more than possible that the Carp will consider how much they could improve their team with, oh, an extra $80 million dollars or so. He's committed to Japan for the next couple of years, but he remains a very big question mark for 2012, 2013, 2014…

  16. BillRussell says:

    Mr. Voldomer,
    I think Tony spoke about the Glavine situation in one of his earlier posts. He said that the Dodgers had no interest. I think I read that last night so it should only be one or two posts ago.

  17. Roger says:

    Billy . . . 1988 was so long ago, I could pee without taking a pill.

    The last two games have to make all of the teams in both leagues really take up and notice, the Dodgers are for real.

    The Diamonbacks went into L.A., thinking they could start on a roll and win three games. The the last two night broke their D-backs. Two night ago, they had a win in their hip pocket. Then, just by a foot or so, they missed a drive by Loney up against the right centerfield wall — and it broke their little hearts.

    Last night, a hight fly ball to the opposite field, near the line, was just missed by an inch or two. That broke their little hears. 1 to zip.

    Two games the Dodgers could have easily lost. So, the other teams as well and the Diamonbacks know that the Dodgers are for real, and never ever give up.

    The glass is now "full."

  18. BillRussell says:

    Or Conclusion the team gets what it needs in the trade to win a World Championship.

    Like you said, one can't predict the future but 1988 was the last time we held the trophy.

    Ned has some things to kick around I guess.

  19. mark says:

    Maybe these are Destiny's Dog…………………………..


    (Falling off chair)

  20. BillRussell says:

    Roger, I remember those days. When an all nighter meant staying out all night having a good time partying. Now an all nighter means making it through the night without getting up to pee two or three times. Boy do things change.

    The two faces of Billingsley and the development of Kershaw are my only concerns at the moment. If I can't sleep because I need to pee, that's just not a worry until November.

  21. CaptainLoose says:

    Mr. Loose. I like that. Respect. But you can call me Captain.

    I don't want out of the bet. Shoot, let's double it.

    We have had more than a few electric arms in our system – Kuo, Miller, Elbert, Kershaw, others not coming to mind right now – but something seems to happen. I guess that's true with most prospects. I think I read somewhere that only 1 in 20 actually make it, so, pick one and hope for the best. Use the others in a trade for a veteran that the low budget teams can no longer afford. You know, guys like Kevin Brown and Jason Schmidt.

    The Dbacks don't have much anymore. They do have a few arms, and they have Justin Upton, but the other guys seem to not be developing like many had hoped. Webb went down, Jackson went down, Tracy out, Young can't buy a hit – bummer for them.

    Hey, is this for real?

  22. Michael says:

    Captain, that reminds me of the Sid Finch piece SI did a few years back.

  23. Roger says:

    I am remembering back to those Dodger teams in the early to mid-1960s.

    The pitching, as I remember, was about as good as it gets. Koufax, Drysdale, Podres, Perranoski, Sherry, and the rest. Roseboro behind the plate. There was no second guessing about the arms.

    Tommy & Willie Davis and Maury Wills — all with speed. Ron Farily , Howard and the rest.

    As I remember, many games the Dodgers were in those 0 to 0, 1 to 1, 2 to 2 games. In the 9th, Maury walks, steals second, Fairly singles up the middle and game over.

  24. Roger says:

    (too long, here is the rest)

    In hte 1963 World Series, the Dodgers beat the Yankees 4 straight games, and Mel Allen, the Yankees broadcaster was sharing the booth with Vinny — and as I remember, Mel lost his voice in the 8th inning of the last game and Vinny had to finish the game for him. Mel was in shock that his great Yankees were shut out and did not win a game.

    The 2009 Dodgers, are a different team than the 1963 guys. Younger, and of course, less experienced. Maybe the 2009 version can grow into the 1963 version?? We hope so. Right now, Mr. Loney is doing the Ron Farily and Tommy Davis bring 'em home style.

    Between Sandy, Don, and Ron Perranoski, they totaled 74 of the 99 wins. Wow.

  25. BillRussell says:

    Mr Loose, I never recall a daily dose of Blake vs La Roche???? Maybe twice a month. I even was allowing you to bailout several times while leading the race. I won't kick a man when he's down. Maybe a few jabs to the head but nothing else. We still have 2/3's of a season for Andy to develop his annual back and thumb problems so don't count your chickens just yet. Let's just sit back and let the cards fall.
    Back to the topic.
    I am guessing eveyone feels that we have enough pitching to go all the way. The altimate deal would be to include Pierre with prospects to procure an arm but Pierres trading value has to still be negitive considering his contract. In todays market, there won't be too many 9 million per year, slap hitter ,weak armed contracts written.

  26. lawdog says:

    Don't forget hard luck Claude Osteen. I think he lost more 1-0 games than Don and Sandy put together.

  27. lawdog says:

    Tommy Davis wasn't the banjo hitter a lot of the others proved to be. Sonovabitch could hit. I think a couple of years he hit.340 well over 100 rbis and 20+ homeruns.

  28. Mark_Timmons says:

    New Post up Top

    Thread Closed!


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