Lilly Breaks Sweat [& One Bat]
After four efficient innings and a mere 51 pitches Ted Lilly called it a rehab at Principal Park tonight and headed for the clubhouse, maybe to call ahead and order a postgame spread for his temporary teammates.
Lilly fanned four, all swinging, and walked only one. He permitted only one hit, a wind-blown home run by Tyler Greene in the top of the 1st. His pitch counts by inning were 17, 12, 13 and 9.
There was no hint that he was removed due to the stiff back that's nagged him lately since his relief, Jay Jackson, was warming throughout the 4th inning and Lilly was even allowed to bat for himself and make the final out in the bottom of the frame. He had been expected to throw at least 60 pitches.
TRL III threw first-pitch strikes to 9 of the 14 hitters he faced. He picked the only baserunner he allowed off of 2nd base but Bobby Scales was daydreaming at 3rd and neglected to cover the bag. No matter - Lilly struck out Greene with his next pitch on a 3-2 count to end the top of the 3rd.
When he left the I-Cubs had scratched out a 2-1 lead, thanks in part to some aggressive managing by you-know-who. With the game knotted at one in the bottom of the 3rd and runners at first and second, #23 called for a hit-and-run with Scales at the plate. His bouncer up the middle was knocked down by the Memphis second baseman. Matt Camp never stopped running [I wanna say Sandberg Wendelled him around 3rd but I wasn't looking at him]and dove safely across the plate on a close play.
Lilly didn't reach the mid-80's with his fastball until the 4th but was sharp with his command of all his stuff throughout.
If he stays for another outing I would think it would be strictly for arm-stretching purposes based on how he looked tonight. We'll see if the post-game reveals any ailment-based reason for his early removal. I left as soon as he did to get home and put this up.
Oh yeah; it was Matt Pagnozzi's bat that he sawed off on a grounder to short to end the 2nd.
2nd in defensive WAR, NL.
6th in NL in RBI
Go complain about something else, like, "they never play good against the good teams", or some other shit.
Addy really has trouble breaking through .250 BA -- after his hot streak got him to .251, he has gone 1-for-17.
Thank goodness for Jansen's 2 WP on Friday -- otherwise this would have been a sweep.
There seems to be a direct correlation with overconfidence in the Cubs offense against mediocre/young pitchers and really poor offense against mediocre/young pitchers. So, let's fear the Pirate pitchers!
Rizzo due for a power surge -- one HR in August so far. He truly does hit them in bunches.
Sometimes I'm not as supportive of Cahill as maybe I should be. There, I said it.
Rough 8th inning all around -- HBP, Cahill error, Javy's poor decision.
Oh well - given that the Cubs didn't look like they were going to score, it's better to lose in 9 innings, save the bullpen and get changed for the PJ trip home.
Baez still learning
heyward with his 3rd multi-hit game since the all-star break (all in august)...2nd in the past 3 games during his 7 game hitting streak.
he's gone from flirting with a sub-.300 ob% to nearing .310 ob% in 3 games (1 game was just a 1 for 1 pinch hit appearance). all 5 hits in the past 3 games have come in a row...neat.
stewart with 7Ks through 3ip...of course.
that 10-13 mph difference in his fastball/change is working today...and they're swinging at his crappy slider.
brock stewart...steven brault...fun times for the cubs hitters vs allegedly competitive teams...maybe.
Maddon would have started three lefties against the Dodgers, Montgomery, Zastryzny and Lester, except that he doesn't have the juice to do that. No manager does. Maddon has a boss, Epstein (and probably Hoyer, too), who gave him a starting rotation of five guys including Hammel. Maddon was asked yesterday about the starting group for next year and basically said, Not my call, that's why I drive away in my RV in the summer and occasionally check in, etc.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.