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Pitching, Pitching, Pitching

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When Grady Little said that Chad Billingsley was in the rotation "for now", it gave the impression that Bills was being given his last chance. If he kept walking almost seven guys per nine, he was going to be taking a trip back to Vegas.

Whether or not this gave Billingsley extra incentive to perform, no one can say, but he finally showed us what we've all been waiting for. Billingsley threw seven scoreless innings, striking out nine, and walking only one. Can we say Billingsley has turned the corner and he'll be dominant the rest of the way? Of course not, the last good outing he had, he turned around and walked six guys in five innings in his next start. However, it's really nice to take a peek at what we could have come 2007 or 2008.

While the Dodgers were banging out runs at the beginning of their streak, over the last eight games, they've only scored more than four runs once. The pitching has been nigh unstoppable. Look at the ERAs of the pitching staff over the last eighteen games.

IP ERA
Chad Billingsley 24.0 1.13
Mark Hendrickson 19.0 3.79
Derek Lowe 27.2 2.98
Greg Maddux 20.0 0.90
Brad Penny 20.0 3.15
Joe Beimel 4.0 2.25
Jonathan Broxton 10.0 0.00
Giovanni Carrara 6.2 4.02
Takashi Saito 8.2 1.03
Aaron Sele 8.2 5.17
Brett Tomko 9.0 1.00

Even pitchers who had thrown horribly during this streak, namely Hendrickson and Billingsley before last night, have managed to escape without allowing runs. Hendrickson has had a WHIP of almost two over his last three starts, yet he's gotten a quality start each time he's gone out there. The top half of the bullpen has been especially nice, with Broxton, Saito, and Tomko allowing two runs between them.

Of course, with any streak, good or bad, comes several really bad articles. Bill Plaschke, and Scott Miller step up to the plate.

On the flip side of the coin, Joe Sheehan talks about Grady's willingness to go against the book with regards to the bullpen, something I never would have expected when we hired Little.