Chad Billingsley’s lesson on trying to be pitcher perfect – LA Times

By Dylan Hernandez
Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Pittsburgh

Chad Billingsley said he felt he fixed the problems with his mechanics in the six weeks the Dodgers spent in Arizona for spring training.

But he said that a final tuneup in Los Angeles last week is what got his head right.

Billingsley, who will make his first start of the season in the Dodgers’ series finale in Pittsburgh on Thursday, said that being roughed up by the Angels in the Freeway Series reinforced a message that Manager Joe Torre has been trying to deliver to him.

“Pitchers, we have the tendency to give hitters too much credit,” Billingsley said. “There are times I try to be perfect when I don’t have to be.”

His habit of nibbling instead of trusting his stuff cost him against the Angels.

He gave up five runs in the third inning of that game. A grand slam by Kendry Morales was preceded by three walks and a hit.

“I beat myself in that game,” Billingsley said.

Billingsley went into the Angels game with a spring earned-run average of 1.84; he exited with an ERA of 4.67.

Though he said he was looking forward to taking the mound Thursday, Billingsley downplayed the idea that he had to pitch well to regain the confidence he lost in a brutal second half last year.

Torre said he wanted to see players who had tough 2009 seasons