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An Encouraging Sign

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Chad Billingsley's last three starts:

7 IP, 2 earned runs, 9 hits, 1 strikeout, 1 walk, 0 HR
5 IP, 1 earned run, 6 hits, 5 strikeouts, 1 walk, 0 HR
7 IP, 0 earned runs, 3 hits, nine strikeouts, 1 walk, 0 HR

It's far too soon to say that Billingsley has solved the control problems that have plagued him since he's come up to the big leagues. But, I can say some things I'd never thought I'd be able to two weeks ago:

Billingsley has a strikeout to walk ratio over one.

He's dropped out of the top five in walks per nine.

Billingsley is also the only starter with an ERA under two since the All-Star Break. It looks good, but considering he had several outings where he walked five guys and gave up one run, it's mostly luck. Even so, seeing Billingsley put together several above average to great performances over the last few weeks makes me all giddy when I think about what's to come.

The only thing that I'm concerned with at this point is how many innings Billingsley has pitched. Last year, he threw out of the bullpen for a few weeks to keep his innings down, this year, he hasn't had that luxury, so he's already thrown 151 innings between the majors and AAA, surpassing his career high of 146 innings pitched. With at least six starts ahead of him, Billingsley could end up burning out as we enter the last two weeks of the season.

When the Dodgers haven't developed a starter since Chan Ho Park, seeing Billingsley find even a little success at this point in his career is remarkable. Of course, now I just jinxed it, and he's going to get maimed by a coyote.