Can I take this moment to toot my own horn? Or maybe at least show you that I’m not just randomly making stuff up?
After Chad Billingsley made his last start, I posted a rather well publicized (surprisingly) analysis of what I thought might have been wrong with him. Well, after yesterday’s start, I thought Billingsley, Joe Torre, and Rick Honeycutt had a few interesting comments.
“I pretty much went out and kept it simple,” said Billingsley, “instead of trying to be too fine out there. Instead of attacking hitters [previously], I was worried too much about the situation or the count, doing that stuff. Just attack with the four-seam and hammer, and go after them.”
The objective evidence seems to back up the point that an adjustment of some sort was indeed made.
The amount of four seam fastballs he threw should jump at you. He did indeed attack hitters with it, and he threw it almost a mile and a half faster than he had been over the course of this season. Personally, I’m still not sure if he should be throwing so many cutters and sliders, but at least he went away from the heavy diet of two seamers.
“He was throwing the ball well, and his pitch count [of 86] was good for six innings. He wasn’t trying to guide the ball, just letting it go and trusting it.”
This was a rather obvious difference if you were watching the game. Billingsley was noticeably letting loose, especially later in the game.
“He was able to examine some things”, said Honeycutt. “He was a little bit better able to make adjustments. His approach was better, he kept it simple. He got back to who he was — fastball and curve, mix pitches, attack the batters. He stayed taller and was more consistent with his release point. It was very encouraging.”
Hooray for making the correct diagnosis!
In all seriousness though, this confirms that Billingsley did indeed make adjustments, both mentally and mechanically. In a perfect world, the adjustments would continue to progress on a linear path and power him directly to a return to greatness, but as we all know, progress often doesn’t work that way.
The important thing though, in my opinion, is that they correctly identified Billingsley’s problems, and now he can move forward to address them.