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Mechanics at heart of Billingsley's woes

Struggling Billingsley rushing on hill

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LOS ANGELES -- On Friday night, after Chad Billingsley gave up two runs on four hits in 1 2/3 innings of relief, Dodgers manager Joe Torre didn't go into much detail about Billingsley's outing.

He said "he needed to go out and get some work" and "he threw a good number of pitches."

The next day, before his team began the second game of a three-game series against the Giants, Torre spoke more openly on just what exactly is going on with his starter.

"Mechanically, he's just rushing himself -- he's just not packaging it," Torre said. "That just comes from being overanxious, which is something he's going to have to feel and get back to."

Rectifying mechanical problems has been easier said than done for Billingsley of late.

The script almost always is the same.

Billingsley takes the mound hoping he'll find the form that made him an All-Star. He looks effective for a short time, only to have it all fall apart.

Then after the game, he's forced to pick up the pieces and explain to the media why another one got away.

Since his last win on Aug. 18 against the Cardinals, Billingsley has made five starts and one relief appearance.

In those outings, he's compiled an 0-4 record with a 5.97 ERA.

When asked what Billingsley's current mood is like, Torre described his pitcher as "anxious" but added that Billingsley physically is fine.

"I make sure I ask him those questions first about how he feels," Torre said.

Torre said that Billingsley needed to slow things down mechanically.

"Let that arm come through instead of trying to catch up with the arm," he said. "That's where I think he is right now."

Billingsley still is slated to start on Wednesday against the Washington Nationals in what could be a make-it-or-break-it start for his confidence heading into postseason play.

Torre said Billingsley's situation is such that one solid outing could re-establish his timing on the mound and solve his pitching woes.

Torre compared Billingsley's current predicament to that of a slumping hitter that just needs to get one solid swing on the ball to get back into a groove.

"I think one outing can fix it as long as he gets the feeling and sees the result," Torre said. "I think that's the important thing is to know what it feels like and see how well it works.

"It's just like a hitter. You wonder if you're ever going to get a hit again. And all of a sudden, you're in there and you're comfortable, and you hit a ball on the button and you wonder where it's been."

David Ely is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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