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Sep
20
2007

Lilly Does His Best Smoltz Impression

By Jack Cobra  |  Comments (10) | Hype It Up!  |   Filed Under: Baseball | Jack Cobra Archive
howry.jpgWe talked a little bit yesterday in the comments section about how, with Carlos Zambrano not pitching well when needed, it would be up to Ted Lilly to pick up the slack. I believe I made a comparison to how the Braves used to have Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine dominate throughout the regular season only to have John Smoltz* seemingly throw every game that they absolutely needed to win.....I guess teams can win when their 'star' players don't come through, they just need that 'glue guy' to pick up the slack and get the job done. Lilly is 9-1 when pitching after a Cubs loss this season, so he's become their 'stopper' and their 'glue guy'.

See, I don't think Ted Lilly really cares. It could be April, August or October and he's going to head out to that mound with the same frame of mind as he would any other start. He always seems to be under control out there and as long as he's throwing strikes, he's tough to hit. I think this is especially important for the Cubs because after they deal with the Zambrano roller coaster one day, they get the smooth, jazzy feel of Lilly the next day. He seems like the yang to Zambrano's ying. Maybe I'm just going on like this because I'm extremely happy with the Cubs victory last night.

The game started off with a bang as Alfonso Soriano led off the Cubs half of the first, yet again, with a home run to put them up 1-0. This is why the Cubs signed him. I complain a lot about his lack of running since he came off the DL, but the guy has still been hitting. Geovony Soto also went deep again as he continues to bruise Jason Kendall's ego every time he's put in the starting lineup. Matt Murton ended up driving in the game winning run, but the reason why the Cubs were in position to win at that point was because Soriano threw out a Reds runner at the plate to end the 8th inning. That was his 16th outfield assist of the season...when will teams learn not to run on his arm?

Lilly worked through two solo homers to go seven strong innings on only 99 pitches while working on only three days rest. With all the concern people had over Zambrano and Lilly throwing on three days rest, Piniella kept them both right around 100 pitches, so they should be ready to go for their next starts....which the Cubs figured out last night. They've moved around this pitching rotation like musical chairs the last two weeks. I guess it's 'whatever it takes' time.

After Lilly was through for the night Bobby Howry came on in his usual set-up role.....and then Lou left him in for the 9th inning too. This kind of sent me into a frenzy as I wondered what the heck was going on. I started looking up stats and Howry had been hit hard earlier this season against the Reds, so I was starting to get even more confused. Then I noticed that the Reds had two left-handed hitters coming up in the 9th and I knew what was up. Dempster has that slider he throws and when it's flat....it's like a meatball served up on a platter to lefties. Lefties have hit .250 against Dempster this season, while they've only hit .200 against Howry. If these aren't the reasons why Howry was left in....then I don't know. Anyways, Howry closed the deal without any problem and hopefully, no hard feelings from Dempster.

The Cubs now host Pittsburgh, who took two of three from the Cubs last week. The Pirates have been playing well during the second half of the season and they have some players who give the Cubs fits. If the Cubs take care of business, they'll set themselves up very nicely for their final six games of the season.

*Smoltz is a Hall of Famer but at the time Maddux and Glavine were trading the Cy Young Award between themselves and Smoltz was the #3 on that staff.

**I know I said I wasn't going to talk about these guys, but they lost.

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10 Comments
Hoosiernation said

As you probably know by now, Dempster had the flu. Murton seems to really be building up some confidence at the plate. I know that I have more confidence in him to come through when we need him. Last night was another great example. Lilly is the probable starter for the last game of the season for a reason. You explained those reasons in this post. Hope I didn't just jinx him.

Jack Cobra said

Yeah, I just read that about Dempster. I'm surprised they didn't bring in Marmol in the 8th.

Murton and Soto are quite a right handed duo coming off the bench for the playoffs.

gianluca said

Love that both Lilly and Z get two more starts in the last ten games. Marquis in a playoff makes me queasy like when I eat paste but there's not really much other choice. Couple other thoughts:

Hopefully Soto plays a little more in the last week. Lilly pitched a real smart game last night not sure if the bench or Soto calls the pitches? The guy in the pink hat sitting behind home plate must be executed.

Jack Cobra said

The Cubs face three lefties this weekend so I have to think that Soto plays twice...I hope. Then again, off day today and on Monday means kendall can play all three and still be rested.

Erin said

Sportscenter was on last night at the restaurant where I was eating dinner, and I saw the highlights from this game. I said, "Wow, big win for the Cubs." And my girlfriend said, "Who's the guy who writes for the Cubs?" I said, "Jack Cobra." And she said, "You should ask him why it isn't Jack Cub-ra."

And so I'm asking.

Jack Cobra said

Interesting question....Cobra was the nickname I always wanted since my real one seems to be boring (part of my last name). So, I just threw a Jack in front of it and here we are. Pretty boring explanation.

So what did you have for dinner and how was it?

Also, it's not fair that you are eating dinner when Cubs highlights are on and I've already been in bed for at least 30 minutes. Dang time zones.

Erin said

I ate later than normal, at about eight.

And we had barbecue. She had chicken, I had tri tip (known as brisket in other parts of the country, but "tri tip" at this particular restaurant). It was delicious. But I got to the place just as Broxton was giving up the lead (again) for the Dodgers, so it wasn't all good.

I think my gf will be calling you "Cubra" from now on, just so you know.

Jack Cobra said

Your gf is free to call me whatever she likes....

Sounds like a good dinner, with bad TV

Boney said

I'm surprised nobody said anything earlier than this:

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/566156,CST-SPT-cubnt20.article

I saw the condition of Wrigley's OF, and I determined (along with my buddy Jeremy), that it would be safer to play in Veterans Stadium pre-field turf...

Jack Cobra said

This is actually very well known. People have been talking about it for years.

The Cubs were going to try to fix the field earlier this season but the impending sale of the team, and the $7 million price tag to resurface it, kept it from happening. This has been talked about ad nauseum.


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