2008 Season Recap: Ted Lilly
Lilly made a big leap this year. Not one time did he throw his glove to the ground in exasperation. Not one time was he given a playoff opportunity that was subsequently wasted.
So yeah, that's a plus. The down side, of course, is that the reason he didn't blow a chance is that he wasn't given a chance. The Cubs were too interested in ruining lives to give him a turn on the mound during the Division Series. And yes, this is the first time I've written about the Cubs since the playoff disaster. And not, I'm totally not bitter. Or frustrated. Still.
So anyway, Ted Lilly actually ended up having quite a nice season. He got off to a terrible, terrible start, ending April with a nifty 6.46 ERA and four losses. But just as showers give way to flowers, April horrendous pitching gave way to May almost-but-not-quite decent pitching. And as the weather improved, Lilly started to become the third ace on the Cubs' staff. Starting in June, he posted monthly ERAs of 3.02, 4.23, 3.35, and 3.30, resulting a 3.32 second half ERA. The main cause of this drop in ERA? During the second half, Lilly allowed about half as many homers and walks while maintaining a solid strikeout rate. While I'd love to say that it was a tale of two pitchers, I'm afraid that I'm just about maxed out on cliches and there's lots of off-season still to go. So no go.
One of the best examples of how much Lilly has improved as a pitcher while with the Cubs is the confidence Cub Fan Nation possessed that, had Harden been able to get the ball to Lilly, the series would have come back to Chicago. Lilly's been an excellent clutch pitcher during his Cub career - especially last year - and 4 years at 40 million is starting to look like a solid bargain.
For the second half of 2008, Ted Lilly was the best 4th starter in baseball, reminiscent of the Braves teams of yore (yore?). So, whatdya all say to just grabbing up Peavy and re-signing Dempster and turning Lilly into the best fifth starter in baseball history.
Personally, I think it sounds like a hell of an idea. Do it, Jimbo.
Oh yeah, and Ted Lilly is a serial killer. That is all.