Daily Dodger in review: Is the storm now over for Chad Billingsley?
CHAD BILLINGSLEY, 26, starting pitcher
Final 2010 stats: 12-11, 3.57, 171 strikeouts, 69 walks, 1.28 WHIP in 191 2/3 innings.
Contract status: Arbitration eligible; made $3.85 million in 2010.
The good: After his first disastrous start of the second half (seven earned runs in four innings at St. Louis), finished as one of the National League’s best pitchers. Went only 5-6, but with a 2.45 ERA. Held batters to a .219 batting average in his last 15 starts. Lowered home runs allowed from 17 in 2009 to eight last season. And he went 2-1 with an 0.74 ERA in five starts against the Giants.
The bad: In his first 17 starts, he owned a 4.61 ERA. Immediately came the cry he just wasn’t mentally tough enough. Early on, seemed to struggle with the type of pitcher he wanted to be. Hit a career-high 10 batters -- wait! -- that’s supposed to be good news.
What’s next: Secure member of the rotation. His growing pains may well be behind him. Finished the season like someone who is ready to take the next step.
The take: Some people are never going to be convinced the mild-mannered Billingsley is tough enough until he dominates in the postseason. Maybe he needs to grow a beard or chew some nails. He seemed to mature as the season wore on and looked plenty tough enough mentally. He was close to dominating.
After he went 16-10 with a 3.14 ERA in 2008, people clamored he was a coming ace. After his falloff the next season (12-11, 4.03 ERA), they practically clamored for his head.
Right now, he looks like a solid No.2. And he’s still only 26.
-- Steve Dilbeck