More Tommy Hanson stubble than Brian Wilson bush, Chad Billingsley's new beard really isn't that much to look at.
But as the Los Angeles Dodgers Twitter pointed out on Sunday, the right-hander's new whiskers have had magical powers. Billingsley's record has racked up a 6-0 record with a 1.30 ERA since returning from the All-Star break and a DL stint without his razor. That includes Sunday's sterling effort in Atlanta, where Billingsley scattered three hits and two walks over seven scoreless innings in a 5-0 victory over the Braves. In doing so, he became the first Dodgers starter to win six straight starts since Kevin Brown did it in 2003.
Billingsley's run of success over the past 41 2/3 innings can be attributed to other factors, of course. His K/BB ratio is 27/8 over that time span and hitters have managed only a .234 BABIP off him. But the 27-year-old is just superstitious enough that he told reporters after Sunday's game that the beard is probably here to stay.
Billingsley won't pitch during this week's big three-game series against the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium. That's just the way things work out some time, but the Dodgers have to be ecstatic about the way he's emerged over the last month. While the trading deadline was a disappointment in terms of starting pitching reinforcements, Billingsley pitching at the high level he's capable of can be a great addition in itself.