Chad Billingsley looks for his third straight win on Friday night as the Dodgers open a three-game weekend set with the Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium. Since returning from the disabled list, Billingsley has been especially good.
In two starts since missing time with elbow inflammation, Billingsley has allowed just one run. He has been peppering the strike zone this year, never more evident than in July when had 19 strikeouts and just one walk in four starts. On Tuesday at FanGraphs, Michael Barr analyzed Billingsley's approach this season, particularly his success against lefties, and also noticed that Billingsley has been in far more pitchers counts than hitters counts overall:
His walk rate is at the lowest of his career at 6.9%, and if you’re a "per 9″ fan, it’s just 2.67 versus his career rate of almost 3.8 BB/9.
Billingsley allowed four runs in six innings in a loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 4.
Another pitcher who has improved his walk rate is Jeff Samardzija, who starts the series opener for Chicago. The former Notre Dame receiver walked 13.2% of the hitters he faced in the first four years of his career, but is down to just 9.3% this season, his first full year as a starter.
That said, Samardzija did walk six in his last start, second most in his career, but it didn't prevent him from having a stellar July. In five starts, he was 2-1 with a 1.91 ERA, with 36 strikeouts and 13 walks in 33 innings.
New Dodger acquisitions Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino are both hitting .500 against Samardzija. Ramirez is 6-for-12 with a double, while Shane Victorino is 2-for-4 with a triple, a home run, and a walk.
With several Dodgers getting closer to returning from the 60-day disabled list (Ted Lilly, Justin Sellers, Rubby De La Rosa, Matt Guerrier), plus the possibility of a waiver acquisition in August, Mike Petriello at Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness took a stab at identifying those not long for a spot on the 40-man roster.
Game Time: 7:10 p.m.
TV: Prime Ticket