By now you’ve probably seen it or read about it: Chad Billingsley this morning pitched five full innings of two-hit ball, yielding only two free passes to go with three strikeouts. He threw most two- and four-seam fastballs which started 89-90 but were more 90-92 as the game got going, and touched 93 once. He threw a couple of change-ups which came in at 84-85, although I can’t recall that it was an effective pitch for strikes. The big hook came in 74-76, which was effective as a strike-out pitch at times, but not featured. We didn’t get to see the 64-MPH “ephus-like” curve that we’ve heard about. The IronPigs won the game 8-4. Maikel Franco had two hits, including a triple.
Billingsley after the game:
“I felt pretty good. I didn’t feel like I had my best stuff but I was able to go out there and execute some pitches to get some ground balls and get out of a jam early”
“It’s been a long road, but I’m excited and I’ll keep working. I’m getting closer, the plan is three more starts.”
“You can’t look too far ahead, right now my focus is on the next start.”
“The strength is there, my arm feels good. I talked to my doctor who performed the surgery and he said if I can get through a month and a half of pitching in games with no pain, I’ll be in the clear”
“I didn’t really too much in terms of my secondary pitches, but when I needed to, I was able to execute them”
Word is, with the expected three more starts, that the next one will be in Reading on Monday night, so that he doesn’t have to travel with the team to Buffalo and Scranton. That would put Reading’s rotation at home:
Friday (Home Opener): Nola
Billingsley’s following start would be with the IronPigs at home on Saturday, April 25, versus Buffalo. If he does indeed need a third start, it would be Thursday morning 4/30 versus Durham on another “education day” 10:35AM first pitch.
It’s worth noting, that the trip to Reading isn’t that much different than the trip to Moosic, where the IronPigs will be on Monday, but I suppose it’s to keep him in front of the home fans and for the brass from Philly to observe if they so choose–it IS closer to Philly.
For Reading fans, note that Friday has strong rain possibilities–I know, I hate it too for opening day–so a Nola/Biddle doubleheader on Saturday could be in the works (again).
See you at the park,