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Searching to recharge a flat-lined Chad Billingsley

October 4, 2011 |  7:03 am

Is there more in there or not?

That was the question we had about Chad Billingsley when the Dodgers opened camp this year –- and that remains the question now that their season over.

Billingsley made 32 starts, marking the fourth consecutive season he made 31 or more. He was 11-11 with a 4.21 earned-run average.

“It’s not bad,” Manager Don Mattingly said.

But …

“I think he should be trying to get a little better, a little better, a little better,” Mattingly said. “For me, it’s kind of flat-lined. I feel there’s more there.”

Billingsley said he felt the same way.

“It definitely wasn’t what I wanted,” he said of his season.

Billingsley was 16-10 with a 3.14 ERA in 2008, his first full season as a starter. He made the All-Star team the next season, only to falter in the second half. He won 12 games in 2009 and 12 games again the next season.

As was the case when he struggled in the past, Billingsley blamed mechanics.

“When I was going rough and was inconsistent, I was worried about staying on top of the ball and my mechanics changed,” he said. “I was struggling with my arm slot and delivery this year.”

Billingsley is being paid like a middle-of-the-rotation pitcher -– he will make $9 million next season, less than Ted Lilly –- so the Dodgers aren’t overpaying him. But considering how dominant he can be at times, he seems as if he should be better than a .500 pitcher.

“It’s up to Chad,” Mattingly said. “We know that he has the ability to get people out. He has the pitches. He has the stuff to do it. For me, it’s up to Chad to say, ‘I want to be better.’”


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Photo: Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley. Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea / U.S. Presswire