From Tim Kurkjian at ESPN.com:
The Dodgers are clearly the best team in the National League West right now. We'll see whether they are going to end up being the best in the National League overall. [...]
They didn't have a real ace on the staff, but so far Chad Billingsley, who is 4-0 and starts Tuesday against the Giants, has been an ace in every sense and perhaps, outside of Johan Santana, the best pitcher in the National League this year. [...]
[Billingsley] didn't pitch well in the postseason, obviously, but in speaking to some guys with the team, it sounded as though that experience has pushed him forward rather than set him back. Billingsley wasn't very happy with the way the playoffs went and doesn't want to let that happen again.
A friend of mine, before the year even started, picked Billingsley to win the Cy Young this year. I wish I had been that insightful because he has been a Cy Young-caliber pitcher so far.
A qualified endorsement, to be sure, and maybe a by-product from the afterglow of the Dodgers' great start. Still, it's nice to see Billingsley get some national attention, especially since the first time many folks had heard of him was during last year's playoffs.
But more important than any awards talk is Billingsley's developing role as a team leader, intentional or otherwise. His teammates sense his drive, and his gaudy win record reflects it. Dodger fans have always known Billingsley as a steady personality, and should the team make the playoffs again, look for the team ace to emerge as one of its leaders as well.