Gamecast (July 9, 2010) Cubs @ Dodgers
With the impending trade of Cliff Lee to the Yankees and the likelyhood that Roy Oswalt and Dan Haren won't be dealt, the #1 trade target appears to be Theodore Roosevelt Lilly. That's the #1 trade target in all of baseball! Who'd have thunk? I like the idea of getting a big time prospect like Jesus Montero for him but let's be realistic, I think the Cubs can scare up a couple of B level prospects here and be happy. Lilly is pitching tonight and as I've reported in the past, his ERA continues to outpace his performance. Hopefully he can keep this up for a couple of more starts. I'm not sure who replaces him in the rotation when he leaves but if the Cubs gets a couple of prospects for him, I say good bye Ted, we loved you while you were here and will never forget you.
Today's Matchup: Ted Lilly (93.1IP, 3.76ERA, 4.63xFIP) vs Chad Billingsley (88.IP, 4.06ERA, 3.87xFIP)
You know about Lilly so let's concentrate on Billingsley. He's an enigma. A great big guy with several different pitches that has just never been able to quite put it all together. I hope he doesn't choose tonight to doso. I consider the "BZZZZZZZSAW" to be a decent #2 starter in the majors with the talent to be a #1 starter. He's ground ball rate is getting better and he's showing better control. If he could drop his walk rate into, say, Randy Wells land, he'd be major league quality ace.
He throws a few different types of fastballs (2 seem, 4 seem, cutter) and a slurve that is a cross between a slider and a curve. His slurve tends to be very slow and he uses it often as a change of pace off of his low 90's heater. There is close to a 20 MPH difference between the two pitches. Fangraphs says he throws a change up but I think that is wrong and they are confusing some other pitch for a change up.
Still he's a horse. He's struggled a little bit with lefties so it wouldn't surprise me to see Soriano, for instance, get a day off tonight. I don't like this matchup.
Who's Hot: Yeah, that'd be Aramis Ramirez. As AJ pointed out, Ramy has been popping the shit out of the ball over the past few weeks and now is on the precipice of climbing over .200 in batting average. On top of that, his contact rate is climbing and so is his isolated power. His ISO is up to .155 which isn't quite there but is far more Ramirez like than the .110 or so he's been sporting all year.
I want to say something about Ramirez' early season slump and the Cubs' options, not going into 2011 because they are "stuck" paying him $16 Million that year but rather for 2012 and beyond. Some players fade quickly in their 30's. I hope that Aramis is going to be above average for the next year and a half but the Cubs really need to think twice before giving him a single dollar over, say, $8 Million to play for them in 2012. I think the evidence is he's going to fade in a way that is sad and quick and the Cubs need to steer clear of that. I think that will be one of the tests of whoever replaces Hendry.
Who's Not: Tyler Colvin's triple slash line in June: .250/.280/.500 and July: .222/.250/.444. The increase in playing time has overexposed him. I think he should start tonight (along with Fontenot at second) only because he's left handed but I think it's a little premature to think of this guy as our right fielder of the future. He's excellent as a secret weapon fourth outfielder that you give 250-300 AB's to in a year. It fairly obvious he should not be starting, Kosuke isn't great but I still think he's more of a 'starter' than Colvin is.
Conclusion: This game is about Lilly and his trade value. That is all. It would be nice if the Cubs win the game but the next 3-4 starts that Lilly makes will hopefully be near his best starts of the year. I love ya, Ted but it's time to boost that trade value. 2012 beckons and tonight's start is about that.