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Running out of time to decipher the mind of Chad Billingsley

Chad1 Not sure what was more confusing, watching Chad Billingsley Tuesday night or reading what he had to say about it afterward.

Anyone who witnessed the Incredible Shrinking Chad Billingsley in the third inning -- six runs on six hits, none cheapies -- had to be left bewildered by this Billingsley postgame quote:

"I thought I was throwing quality pitches."

Right, and my last post was Pulitzer material. He left fastballs over the plate like Christmas morning gifts. Fastballs with precious little movement.

Really, he doesn’t seem to get it. And he could be running out of time.

"Last year, the second half, I felt like I was battling myself," he said. "I couldn't repeat my delivery. Now, I feel like I'm repeating my delivery consistently. I'm throwing the ball in areas that I want to."

Say what? You mean that right over the plate was the intended target?

After the game, Manager Joe Torre said he thought, understandably, that Billingsley was currently having confidence issues. There goes that mental makeup thing again.

Billingsley, understandably, denied lacking confidence.

"That's not an issue," he said. "I've been feeling good on the mound, as far as my delivery, my pitches. My arm feels good, my pitches feel good, my mechanics feel good. You have these times. I'm not going out there and walking guys. I'm going after guys. I'm making them beat me."

They are -- quite successfully.

Torre was just as confused by Billingsley’s postgame quotes as anyone. Enough that prior to Wednesday’s game, he met with the right-hander.

These were Torre’s pregame comments Wednesday, as provided by the team public relations department, and are intended as generally what he said and not exact quotes:

"He needs to get better. His location has to get better. He made some comments that he made some good pitches ... you don't get hit like that when you make good pitches.

"All his starts are important now. He needs to trust himself and feel it. We can talk to him all day, but he needs to go out and do it. It bothers him, I know it does. The game is important to him. You've got to carry your load too  ... there are [24] other guys."

All his starts are important now, not just to the team, but to Billingsley. Torre seemed to be putting him on notice: Get it together or lose your spot in the rotation.

The trouble is with what happens if they take him out of the rotation. It isn’t like there’s some young pitcher whose performance is demanding opportunity. The Dodgers' rotation is piecemeal already.

Plus, what do you do with Billingsley? Send him down, send him to the bullpen?

The best choice, for now, still appears to be sending him out there and hoping he can work through this.

That requires, of course, that Billingsley actually knows what it is he needs to do to turn things around.

His most honest quote Tuesday night, when asked if he was throwing the ball where he wanted and his mechanics were sound, then what was the problem, was probably this:

"I  mean ... I mean  ... Honestly, I don't know."

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Chad Billingsley during Tuesday's game against the Cincinnati Reds. Credit: Al Behrman/Associated Press
 
Comments () | Archives (11)

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Watching Billingsley pitch yesterday, I was more focused on the hitters rather than Billingsley. They all seemed to be leaning over the plate, digging into the batter's box, and generally looked very comfortable hitting against Billingsley. Perhaps Tommy Lasorda should be called in and give him the speech he gave Orel Hershiser. Until Billingsley decides to pitch inside, he will continue to struggle.

Well, his next start is Sunday against the Nationals. I'd say it's imperative that he has a solid outing. I'm sure he's thinking too much...just get out there and pitch. As Torre said, "he needs to trust himself and feel it. We can talk to him all day, but he needs to go out and do it."

Now there are two people that believe Billingsley is making quality pitches.Billingsley and Steve Lyons.I couldn't believe Steve's comments while I was watching the game.Chad's fastball is flat and has no to little movement.I'm also glad that Torre finally realized there's something wrong with Chad's pitching,since he's the one that put him on the playoff roster last season.

Age team W L PCT ERA
21 LAD NL 7 4 .636 3.80
22 LAD NL 12 5 .706 3.31
23 LAD NL 16 10 .615 3.14
24 LAD NL 12 11 .522 4.03

Age team W L PCT ERA
21 TOR AL 1 0 1.000 3.80
22 TOR AL 8 7 .533 3.92
23 TOR AL 4 7 .364 10.64
24 TOR AL 5 3 .625 3.16

Give Billingsley a chance, please. He's not even 26, and if you check out his career stats, he seems more advanced than another pitcher who is destined for the Hall of Fame (Roy Halliday). Do we expect Bills to be another Doc Halliday? Probably not, but let's give the young man a chance!

Doesn't his career kinda resemble that of another Dodgers pitcher a while back, guy named Rick Honeycutt? Wait - isn't Honeycutt the Dodgers pitching coach?

Hmmmmmmmm.

SEND HIM DOWN!!!!!!!!!! How many chances does he get, the guy is not getting it and is NOT by any stretch anywhere close to the pitcher the Dodgers saw the first half of last season. Maybe someone in the minors can work out his issues. Let him pitch in the minors where there isn't the constant pressure. He obviously can't handle the pressure.

bilz is a mere AAA talent & thus needs to be "pitching" (loose use of that term) @ that level (hello, alb.)....
FAR too much "politics" @ play where chad is concerned, as he was a prized former #1 draft pick, & mgt just hates to admit that they missed/were wrong on him (as they have missed quite a bit in reality, butt that's another story!)....
& true, dodgers -- quite astonishingly!!! -- have no viable alternative, as a once pitching-proud organization is now part of baseball's junk-heap (can u "ortiz-squared"??)...
nevertheless, recall Alb righty John Ely, who quite possibly could improve upon chad's woeful 7+ E.R.A.????

Pitch selection, pitch selection, pitch selection. Ronnie is right in that Chad needs to drive a few guys off the plate, even if it means putting a few on by HBP.

its there in his eyes for all the world to see - ITS FEAR -

I would love to see the split between Bills' numbers when he has a lead and when he's tied or behind. He literally CAN'T hold a lead. I swear, give him a couple run cushion and he doesn't know what to do with it. Again, this is all mental. The kid's a head-case and will just have to figure it out on his own--hopefully sooner rather than later...

I'd suggest that a close eye be kept on Bills, he doesn't sound right to me.
IMO as far as his pitching, I think he should STOP pitching to contact and try to go back to trying to strike people out, even if it means giving up more bases on balls and higher pitch counts. That's his style of pitching.
Right now I think he's just throwing strikes and hoping batters will hit it at somebody, but in his case it's not working, so give it up.
The pitch count may be important but in some cases like in Bills and Kershaw, that just how they pitch and that's how they pitch best.


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