The T-shirts passed out by Juan Uribe to teammates are supposed to pay a sort of backhanded homage to Maury Wills. They were not directed purely at Chad Billingsley, though you could understand if someone thought otherwise upon reading the inscription: You can do better.
Everyone agrees there is plenty more to the right-hander, certainly more than what he demonstrated last season when he went 11-11 with a 4.21 earned-run average.
“For me, it’s kind of flat-lined,” said Don Mattingly at the end of last season. “I feel there’s more there.”
There was plenty more on display Friday on a cool night in San Diego, as Billingsley dominated the Padres from the mound, and Andre Ethier at the plate, on the way to the Dodgers’ 6-0 victory at Petco Park.
Billingsley held the Padres to three hits in his 8 1/3 innings, striking out 11 and walking only one. He looked a lot like the No. 2 pitcher the Dodgers need him to be. And he did it after Mattingly had gone deep into the bullpen in the season opener the previous night, when ace Clayton Kershaw took the mound with the flu and lasted three shutout innings.