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Chad Billingsley shines, bullpen collapses in Dodgers' 5-4 loss to Diamondbacks

Billingsley_300 The answers to some questions sort of hover agonizingly, looking like the correct response could go a couple of ways, defying precise response.

So it is asked: What have we learned this season about right-hander Chad Billingsley?

He is the Dodgers' international man of mystery. By way of Defiance, Ohio.

Billingsley came into the year following the worst season of his four-year career (12-11, 4.03 earned-run average) and another disappointing appearance in the National League Championship Series (0-2, 12.96 ERA in two seasons).

In 2008 he was a budding ace (16-10, 3.14 ERA), at least until the NLCS. Since then, brilliant at times, struggling at others.

He started this season slowly and, given his mild-mannered demeanor, again came those questioning his mental toughness.

The definitive answer may still be elusive, but Billingsley has returned to previous form in the second half this season, which the Diamondbacks could testify after their 5-4, comeback victory over the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon.

Billingsley went seven outstanding innings, striking out 13 Diamondbacks and allowing one run on only four hits. He walked one.

At the All-Star break, Billingsley was 7-4 with a 4.14 ERA. In the second half lack of run support has left his record at 4-7, but with a 3.04 ERA.

The Dodgers were leading 4-1 when Billingsley sat down after throwing 121 pitches (81 for strikes), in position to earn the victory before once again being betrayed by the bullpen.

George Sherrill and Jonathan Broxton each gave up two-run homers in the eighth, ex-Dodger Tony Abreu’s first of the year pulling Arizona within one and then Chris Young drilling Broxton’s first pitch for the game-winner. Young was 0-for-13 against Broxton until that swing.

It wasted a brilliant performance by Billingsley. The outcome of the game, of course, is actually meaningless between these two lower division teams.

More important to the Dodgers on Sunday, was the performance of Billingsley, his increased effectiveness and building confidence.

Out of their five-man rotation, only Clayton Kershaw and Billingsley are assured of returning next season. With Ted Lilly, Hiroki Kuroda and Vicente Padilla all potential free agents, the Dodgers need to enter the off-season feeling confident about the two starters they do have returning.

And right now, Billingsley looks like a starter who can be counted upon. That might sound less than definitive, but given last season, is an answer to be welcomed.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Dodgers starting pitcher Chad Billingsley works against Arizona on Sunday in Phoenix. Credit: Jennifer Stewart / US Presswire

Comments () | Archives (13)

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Second half of season, same old song. Bring in Sherrill and Brox and its like pouring gas on a campfire. They have just fallen.

Great job by Bills - 13 Ks ain't easy to do. With offense and a bullpen, he and Kershaw could have each bid for the 20-win neighborhood.

Beat the Rockies!

Los Doyers bullpen now officially known as The Arson Squad

Broxton and Sherrill should be shut down for the rest of the year. Keep sending them out there just destroys their confidence, and more importantly, loses games. This examplifies how the Dodgers have failed this year.

damn it, torre! he's just killing the team with his psychotic dependence on sherril and broxton!! what is going on? these late inning losses have been absolutely demoralizing, and in the second half, it's been broxton and sherrill behind them. why does torre keep sending them out there to fail? where was kuo? kuo against a right-hander is still light years better than brox in a pressure situation. hasn't torre seen this happen more than he can stomach?

Sherrill and Broxton are complete BUMS!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have never seen such a horrible lefty reliever in my 30 years following the Dodgers. And Broxton reminds me of gas can Todd Worrel in the 90's. What a shame!!!! Bills, outstanding effort. Too bad your teammates let you down. Please release Sherril and trade Broxton before all you end getting for him is some 5th starter or a utility player.

Such a shame. 13Ks and a base hit, too. I scored the game if anyone is interested. You can find my card at my blog.

Broxton the Loser needs to be traded.

We were just being neighborly.
Tony Abreu and Chris Young are pals of ours.

If the Dodgers have any sense at all, they will make it a priority to dump Johnathon Broxton before the start of the 2011 season. Problem is, I don't know what you could get for him on the open market. It's amazing that a closer could lose all confidence in himself. You know when Torre brings him in, the game is over. Another brilliant effort by Billingsly. I'm sure when they go to Broxton, Billingsly and Kershaw scream "Nooooo" inside, but they would never admit it.

To Terry: Arson Squad. I hate poking fun at my team, but that one is on target. Especially considering there's a relief pitchers award (or was back in the day) known as the Fireman of the Year.

For those of you pushing to trade Broxton, I feel your pain. But with the dismal numbers he's put up since the All-Star break, who'd want him? He has almost no trade value on the open market, and Sherrill isn't far behind.

And would someone please explain to me why Torre insists on using either of them in close games? If I used them at all, it would be only in a blow-out.

And now we'll get to see Mattingly do the same thing for the next three years, or until he gets fired, whichever occurs first. Good grief...

I hope Torre has seen enough. I kind of can understand bringing in Sherrill with a three run lead. Torre was betting against the odds that Sherrill may have one of his infrequent passable outings. But to bring in Broxton with the winning run at the plate can only be a desperation move. With a week left, it's time to see if Jansen can save a couple.
Please, no more screaming to trade Broxton. Where have you newbies been all season? Thank God some of us have come to our senses and realize that Broxton is an untradable liability.

Jeezum Crow, Joe, goodbye, already. Let a peanut vendor manage the last week, anyone. What are trying to do, drive a spike thru our collective heads?


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