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.
Not as a major factor, but could be a tie-breaker. But, yeah, on performance and experience, it's Coghlan.
Arrieta’s 2.85 ERA would be good enough to lead 26 other teams. He's 3rd on #Cubs behind Hendricks (1.99) and Lester (2.28)
Meanwhile on the SouthSide
For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.
[Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.
Lackey finishes with a 3.35 ERA. Currently good for 13th in the NL. Not bad for a guy signed to be a #3 starter in a 15-team league.
He is also 6th in WHIP. Pretty amazing: Cubs have the #2, #3, #5 and #6 starters in WHIP.
Completely meaningless game, but Pena striking out Sean the Turd to with the bases loaded was very fun.
Other than one bad game in SD, Pena has been very good. Even with that game, 9.0 IP, 13 K, 0.89 WHIP.