Opening Day starter 2009: Ted Lilly
***Note: I wrote this post yesterday, so knowing my luck, the Rangers will light Ted up this afternoon.***
There has been some joking around by Lou and Z about anointing Ted Lilly the Opening Day starter this season in order to make amends for Lilly not getting a chance to pitch in the playoffs, but maybe the Cubs should actually consider it.
The season starts on April 6 against the Ass Trolls in Houston. Upon first seeing the schedule, I thought there was no way Lilly should pitch in this series much less be the Opening Day starter. This line of thinking was based on the power of Carlos Lee/Lance Berkman to hit the ball very, very far and Lilly’s tendency to give up lots of dingers (32 last season...by far the most on the team).
To my surprise though, Sweaty Teddy seems to be quite the stud in Houston based on his performance last season.
In 2008, Lilly had three starts at Houston. Here are his combined stats in those games...
2-0, 3 ER, 11 H, 1 HR, 21 K, 5 BB
Not too bad, eh?
Granted, Lilly hasn’t been know to tear it up early in the season, but he seemed to enjoy success against a 2008 Astros team that isn’t much different in 2009.
Now I know that Opening Day is just one game out of 162 and will most likely play a somewhat minor role in the larger outcome of the season, but I want to start the season off with a win damn it. As far as I’m concerned, the Cubs are on a 4-game losing streak (none of which Lilly pitched in). Plus this will save Zambrano the pressure of having to be the Opening Day starter...a role he has sucked at quite mightily.
After that, I would start Z in Game 2 (he did throw a no-no against the ‘Stros after all) and then Harden for Game 3.
Why start Rich third?
Well, based on the schedule, it will maximize his rest for the next few weeks without having to skip a start.
By pitching Harden on April 8, he wouldn’t have to make another start until April 15 (6 days rest). Staying with that schedule, Harden’s third start would then come on April 21 (5 days rest). And as well all know, the more rest Rich gets, the better he pitches.
Will this happen? Most likely not. I’m guessing Lou will go with a rotation that looks more like this : Z, Demp, Lilly, Shark/Marshall/Other guy, Harden.
But maybe, just maybe, my plan is Ted Lilly-psychotic enough to work.