Chad Billingsley will make his 2013 debut in the same place he made his major league debut, at Petco Park in San Diego against the Padres, a place and a team against whom the Dodgers right-hander has had much success throughout his career.
Billingsley was activated from the disabled list on Wednesday after being sidelined with a right index finger contusion. But after a pair of minor league games and three bullpen sessions of being able to throw his curve ball, Billingsley is back, and looking for more success in San Diego.
On June 15, 2006 Billingsley made his major league debut at Petco Park. He didn't get a decision but allowed just two runs in 5⅓ innings in an eventual 7-3 win by the Dodgers. In 12 starts in San Diego, Billingsley has allowed two runs or less eight times, including last season's 11-strikeout gem when Billingsley pitched scoreless ball into the ninth inning in the second game of the season.
In his career at Petco Park, Billingsley is 6-4 with a 2.36 ERA in 16 games, including 12 starts, with 77 strikeouts and 30 walks in 84 innings. He is 12-8 with a 2.62 ERA in 26 games, including 22 starts against the Padres overall in his seven-year career.
The only Padres player with a home run against Billingsley is Chase Headley, who even with that home run is hitting .205/.244/.333 against Billingsley. But that is moot now since Headley is out until May. Among active Padres, Will Venable has faced Billingsley the most, with 31 plate appearances, and he's hitting .280 with six walks and a .419 on-base percentage against him.
Billingsley has owned Everth Cabrera (1-for-14), Nick Hundley (2-for-12 with a double) and Cameron Maybin (0-for-9), though Mark Kotsay is 4-for-5 with a walk against Billingsley. Kotsay's four hits are second to Venable among active Padres.
Opposing Billingsley on the mound on Wednesday is Eric Stults, drafted by the Dodgers in the 15th round in 2002, a year before they drafted Billingsley. Stults pitched five scoreless innings in New York last week, with seven strikeouts. In 97⅓ innings as a Padre, dating back to last season, Stults has a 2.77 ERA with 58 strikeouts, 25 walks, and just seven home runs allowed (though five of the seven have come at Petco Park.
Stults has faced his old team just once in his career. He picked up a no-decision last Sept. 4 at Dodger Stadium after allowing one run on seven hits in six innings.
Time: 7:10 p.m. PT
TV: It's complicated. See here.