Jim Hendry’s trade of Ted Lilly to the Dodgers in 2010 was my coming to Jesus moment–the Cubs’ organization was truly taking a turn for the worse.
Here was a quality, left-handed starter, who for my money was the staff ace since 2007, being shipped to southern California (with Ryan Theriot) for Blake DeWitt. Holy hell.
I wouldn’t go as far to say Lilly was underappreciated during his tenure in Chicago, but I do think it’s fair to say he didn’t get the recognition he deserved.
Ask Cubs fans who the staff ace was during the back-to-back division titles in 2007-08 and most will give top billing to Carlos Zambrano or Ryan Dempster.
For certain, both guys had their moments, but neither was as solid as Lilly during his 3.5 seasons on the North Side.
From his first season with the Cubs in 2007 to the eventual July 31st trade in 2010, the southpaw managed 47 wins in 113 starts while posting a 1.114 WHIP and a sparkling ERA+ of 122.
Lilly not only proved to be a terrific ‘stopper’ when the Cubs were coming off a loss, but he was regularly juggled in the rotation to pitch in the Cubs’ most important series.
Theodore Roosevelt Lilly was the Cubs ace.
Unfortunately, that’s not how most Cubs fans remember him. Instead, it’s the memory of Lilly’s mound tantrum during Game 2 of the NLDS at Arizona, when Chris Young lit him up for a three-run HR in the second inning, prompting Lilly to slam his glove to the ground in frustration.
Granted it was the worst timing for a poor outing, but Cubs fans overreaction to Lilly’s brief loss of composure would’ve made one think he fired a ball into the stands, punched a teammate in the dugout or bumped an umpire…or any number of episodes Big Z was actually guilty of while acting in the roll of the Cubs’ staff ace (rolls eyes).
Still, nothing compares to Lilly being snubbed by Lou Piniella during the 2008 NLDS when the skipper went with Dempster, Zambrano and Rich Harden to start Games 1-3. The series was over before Lilly could throw a single pitch.
Meanwhile, since the trade Lilly has put up respectable numbers with L.A. He made 12 starts to finish out the 2010 campaign with a record of (7-4, 3.97 ERA). The following year, his first full season with the Dodgers, Lilly made 33 starts, pitched 192.2 innings and won 12 games with little to no run support. A nagging shoulder injury, however, limited him to just 8 starts last summer, although he still managed a (5-1, 3.14 ERA) record.
After three months of rehabbing, Lilly ultimately opted for arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder in Sept., resulting in the Dodgers placing him on a modified throwing program this spring.
At 37-years-old, and in the final season of his contract, this may be Lilly’s last hurrah in the bigs. Los Angeles has a crowded rotation as it is, and any setbacks in Lilly’s recovery during spring training could see him as the odd man out in what would be his 15th major league season—the best of which took place with Chicago.
Chris Volstad (0-4) continues to be consistently ineffective.
He was again haunted by the big inning on Saturday thanks to a two-run double by the opposing pitcher. I mean, that just can’t happen.
It’s been 17 consecutive starts since Volstad last won a big league outing. He’s taken a loss nine times with eight no decisions.
Travis Wood is replacing Garza on Sunday. If Wood pitches well, the Cubs might give some thought to replacing Volstad in the rotation.
It’s only been six starts, but Volstad hasn’t shown improvement. His ERA is above 6-runs and he’s yet to pitch past the sixth inning.
Billingsley joins list of pitchers to lose 1-hit game.
According to the AP, it’s the first time since a 1914 game against the Chicago Cubs that the Dodgers have lost a game despite only giving up one hit to the opposition.
Ted Lilly suffered his worst outing with L.A. Thursday night.
Unable to keep the ball down, the Giants tagged Lilly for six earned runs, two coming via the long ball, courtesy Aubrey Huff & Buster Posey.
Teddy’s 3.1 innings pitched is his shortest outing since joining the Dodgers.
After winning his first five starts with the L.A., Lilly has dropped his last three, but isn’t getting much run support, either.
The Cubs and Dodgers have combined to provide Lilly with just 2.89 runs per game, the lowest in the Majors. L.A. scored two runs Thursday night, one with Lilly in the game, during its 10-2 loss against San Fran.
Through his nine starts with L.A., Lilly is (5-3) and (8-11) overall this season. Two more wins in his final three starts, however, gives Lilly eight straight seasons of ten or more victories.
Since joining the Dodgers on July 31, Ryan Theriot is batting .305 with seven runs scored and three RBI through nine games.
After going hitless (0-for-4) in his debut against the Giants at San Francisco on August 1, Theriot rebounded during the Dodgers’ seven-game homestand batting .296 with five runs scored, two doubles and two RBI.
He’s also been superb defensively at second base helping turn four double plays while comitting zero errors in 45-plus total chances.
With Rafael Furcal placed on the 15-day DL (lower back pain) it’s likely Theriot will see more time at shortstop where he started 29 games for Chicago this season.
The Dodgers have gone 5-4 with Theriot in the lineup to creep within 4.5 games of the NL Wild Card leading Reds.
Terrific outing by Ted Lilly in his Dodgers debut!
Already a victim of the major’s worst run support, Lilly gave L.A. exactly what they were looking for: an ace-like performance of seven innings, one-run, two-hit baseball against the team running away with the division.
The Dodgers’ 2-1 win over San Diego snaps a six-game losing streak and keeps L.A. in the division hunt another day (eight-games back).
In four starts since the All Star break Lilly has an ERA less than 2.00 with 29 strikeouts vs. five walks.
If the Dodgers keep its current rotation, Lilly (4-8) has 11 more scheduled starts down the stretch, inlcuding the season finale on Sunday, October 3 against Arizona.
The Mets, Twins, Dodgers & Cardinals are reportedly
still in the mix to trade for Ted Lilly.
Here’s a peek how Lilly would look in each roation.
–Ted Lilly (3-8) – 3.69 ERA
New York Mets
Mike Pelfrey (10-5) – 4.00 ERA
Johan Santana (8-5) – 3.11 ERA
Jonathan Niese (7-4) – 3.43 ERA
H. Takahasshi (7-5) – 4.47 ERA
R.A. Dickey (6-4) – 2.55 ERA
Carl Pavano (13-6) – 3.21 ERA
Fran. Liriano (9-7) – 3.35 ERA
Kevin Slowey (9-5) – 4.76 ERA
Scott Baker (8-9) – 5.00 ERA
Nick Blackburn (7-7) – 6.66 ERA
Feels like forever since we’ve seen Reed Johnson at Wrigley Field.
In fact, it’s been a whole year considering Reed missed most of ’09 due to injury.
Back spasms in late June kept him out until July…then a fractured left foot on July 30 sidelined him until September 21.
All totaled, Johnson played just 65 games…was left unsigned after the season and eventually signed with L.A. in February.
Now he’s back doing his old thing…platooning against left-handed pitching and playing where needed around the outfield.
The only problem for Reed is playing time, which is scarce given the Dodgers’ outfield leads all of baseball in batting average, RBI and On-base percentage.
The payoff, presumably, is Johnson’s opportunity to again make the post-season roster…and the Dodgers are headed that way, closing in on San Diego with its Major League-best 17-7 record in May.
The best we can hope for now is to see Johnson back at Wrigley this October…if the Cubs can only hold up its end of the deal!