His ERA now sits at 2.95,as Clayton Kershaw won his 5th in row and kept the Dodgers from losing 3 in a row. In 106 innings this year, he has allowed just 70 hits! In his last 24 innings he has allowed just 8 hits, and his ERA for july is a microscopic 0.38. I have long predicted that Clayton would be our ace, and Billingsley would be our #2, but I never thought it would happen this quick. This is not so much about Billingsley struggling, as it is about Clayton Kershaw realizing his potential at a very young age. If the playoffs started today, is there another pitcher on ANY team that is pitching as well as Young Clayton? Dodger fans, you are seeing the Clayton Kershaw maturing into a superstar! These guys don’t come along that often, but we currently have the incarnations of Sandy
Koufax and Don Drysdale on our team. To truly become Drysdale, Chad has to get a little meaner, which bring me to the question of What’s Wrong With Chad Billingsley? Nothing, Just Evolution… No, he’s not turning into a monkey. He’s evolving into a better pitcher. Better? He’s worse! Here’s the deal – he’s mastering a new pitch – the cutter, and he’s over-emphasizing it right now to get the proper “feel” for it. Sometimes you have to get worse before you get better.
I got the idea from Kensai (although he didn’t come to the same conclusion as I) of MemoriesofKevinMalone.com. According to Kensai (and I’m trusting him and his statistics), Chad is throwing his fastball a lot less and his cutter a lot more:
Billingsley is throwing less than 50% fastballs this year, which way down from 59.2% last year, and 64.8% in 2007. He’s now throwing his cutter 28.7% of the time, compared to 20.9% last year, and his rate of curves is up from 17.5% to 20.7%.
OK, that makes sense. His velocity isn’t down and there appears to be nothing physically wrong with him. Now, I know what is happening – he is evolving! Maybe the Dodger staff is asking him to master the cutter. Maybe he’s doing iy himself, but I think in his next start of two, you will see a different result. Now, if we can just get Kuroda back on track…
TJ Simers of The LA Times has an excellent one-liner today: “[Kershaw's] name has been tossed around in trade rumors, but only from the clueless.”
Belisario is throwing without pain. Expect to see him in a game or two in the minors next week.