Chad Billingsley shows everything he has in a single game Dodgers rally to win, 5-4
For all those mystified at the otherworldly highs and lows of right-hander Chad Billingsley, he offered Monday night as a neat, little one-game capsule that the Dodgers managed to wrap into a 5-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Billingsley started this season 2-2 with a 5.06 earned-run average. In his next four games, he went 4-0 with a 1.50 ERA.
This fairly mirrored last season’s effort, when he went 9-4 with a 3.38 ERA in the first half and then 3-7 with a 5.20 ERA in the second.
Anybody suspect a pattern here?
So comes Monday, when in a single game, he managed to be both positively brilliant and look-away awful.
Billingsley gave up four hits in the first two innings against the Diamondbacks, three for home runs and the other a double off the wall. Rockets that put Arizona out to a quick 4-0 lead.
He also struck out the side in each inning.
Indeed, by night’s end, he had struck out a season-high 11. He had gone a season-high eight innings. He did not walk a batter. And did not allow another run, and only two hits, after the second inning.
Anybody got him all figured out?
Billingsley can be remarkably efficient, stunningly inconsistent and occasionally maddening.
Somehow it fit into a game the Dodgers rallied to win, 5-4, scoring two runs to tie it in the eighth when Kelly Johnson committed two errors on one play, and then won it in the ninth on a balk by Esmerling Vasquez.
That Billingsley sure knew how to set a tone.
When you saw balls fly out of the park in the first and second innings, you wondered if he’d make it into the third. When you saw him shut down the Diamondbacks over the next six innings, you wondered how they ever scored off him in the first place.
Somehow, it was perfectly Billingsley.
Stretches when he looks like he could be an ace, and other stretches -- admittedly less frequent -- when you’re hoping he can be a fourth or fifth starter.
And if you’re wondering how he pulls it off, Billingsley offered it all in one simple game Monday.
Photo: Dodgers starting pitcher Chad Billingsley works against the Diamondbacks on Monday night at Dodger Stadium. Credit: Jeff Gross / Getty Images