Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Ted Lilly

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Game Recap: Cubs 5, Mets 2 -- Thanks, Brian!

You know how I know Brian Stokes sucks? He gave up four runs and got just one out yesterday--AGAINST THE CUBS!! Sheesh. Fortunately, Stokes decided to be really bad at baseball on a day when the Cubs' ace was on the mound, and SOMEHOW this team snagged another win.

(Also Brian Stokes probably listens to Coldplay.)

At the very least, Stokes made teammate Pat Misch look stellar. Misch went seven innings as the starter, allowing just one run on six hits. (THAT'S the Cubs team we all know and hate!) Even though it happens all the damn time, it's still somewhat baffling to see how often total no-name pieces of crap shut down this team's offense.

On the other side of the ball, the Cubs got a good performance out of their starter, as Ted Lilly pitched 7.1 solid innings of his own. Since the offense was generally inept (surprise!) aside from Brian Stokes' incredibly sucktastic performance, Lilly deserves a lot of credit for keeping the game close for a long time yesterday.

If anybody on offense deserves any credit for yesterday's win, it's gotta be Milton "Everyone's Favorite Cub" Bradley. Bradley had a double in each of the innings in which the Cubs scored, went 3-for-3 on the day, and also walked. This guy is trying as hard as he can to get his average all the way up to... .270. Guh.

Only three other Cubs had hits of any kind yesterday: D-Lee, A-Ram, and Soriano (The Fonz was 3-for-3, and hit the game-winning home run in the 8th). That means four other Cub starting position players posted oh-fers: Theriot, Soto, Baker, and Fuld. Man, Geo Soto has had a rough year, huh?

If you're in favor of the idea of picking one Cub to root for while the rest of the team goes down in flames, you could do a lot worse than Ted Lilly. His starts are a refreshing break from what's usually a totally mystifying level of incompetence demonstrated by this team.

Go Ted Lilly!

Gamecast: August 28th vs. Mets - No. 2 Starter

Pat Misch (0-1, 4.09 ERA) vs. Ted Lilly (3.40 ERA)

Story Lines

The Cubs still suck....so we are moving on to the second part of our series on the Cubs players returning (AS OF NOW) to the 2010 Chicago Cubs, because we have nothing better to write about.

Starting Pitcher - No. 2 Starter (Ted Lilly)

Contract 2009: 13 Million

Contract 2010:13 Million

Stats 2009: 9-8, 3.40 ERA in 135 innings. 116/27 K/BB Ratio with a 1.11 WHIP

Ted Lilly has more strikeouts and less walks than Carlos Zambrano. I understand the walks, but how are the strikeouts possible? That was the really a telling stat with me, not to mention Ted's 1.11 WHIP. I really think the Cubs were dealt their biggest blow this year when Ted hurt his knee, which led to his hurt shoulder. At the time, he was mowing people down and keeping the Cubs in contention. Then, the Cubs lose him for about a month, the wheels come off. As Paul Harvey would say, "Now you know the rest of the story."

For all of Jim Hendry's move like trading for Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee, there where moves like Milton Bradley and Alfonso Soriano. He's really hit and miss. I was SURE that Ted Lilly's signing was the dumbest thing he has ever done, and that included getting Jacques Jones. There was no way this signing would work, but Ted's that lefty every team needs. He keeps you in games, throws strikes and wins. He's not going to win 15 this year thanks to his time on the DL, but I expect him to really be out No. 1 next year (Don't forget he makes about five million less than Big Z). Hopefully, he will be heathly all next year and lead us to the World Series. The best thing is that Lilly does not get a crazy raise next year. He makes another 13 million, which is still a lot of money. It just so happens our next pitcher will make 13 million next year, and he really needs to improve to earn it next year.

Running Totals:
Payroll for 2010: 30.9 Million (Two Starting Pitchers)

Who's Hot

Aramis Ramirez - This is just a lost year for Aramis with the shoulder issues. I won't be surprised if they shut him down in a few weeks to let him get his shoulder scoped. That way he is well over 100% at the start of Spring Training next year. Anyway, he's hitting .374 in his last six games with four RBI.

Koyie Hill - Hill's batting .500 in his last three games and is cleary the better hitter right now. Geovany Soto just needs to head to winter ball and find his swing.
Who's Not

Alfonso Soriano - It's time to shut him down just for sucking so much. Come back next year and lets try this again. He's 1 for 10 in his last four games.

Ryan Theriot - He's 4 for 24 in his last six games with a .240 OBP. Can say you are going to score many runs with that number. Guess What? The Cubs aren't scoring many...hmm...I might be onto something.

Conclusions

Ted Lilly rocks, and he is going to pitch a gem today. Mark it down, folks...No David Wright, no Jose Reyes, No Jeff Francoeur....oh wait we wouldn't mind him playing...well still the Cubs will probably find a way to lose 1-0 with Angel Pagan hitting an inside the park home run to right.

Taking the high road for a change...

Lost in the perpetual suckitude of the Cubs offense and the pitiful showing by our short-armed "closer", was the stellar performance by Ted Lilly, coming off of the DL with both a knee and shoulder problem.  Having him back to full strength bodes well for us, both short and long term.


If we are going to salvage anything from this abortion of a season, we need guys like Lilly.  If we are going to do anything next year, we need him to be at full health and strength.  Based on what we have on staff, when you consider all qualities of a starting pitcher: physical talent, mental toughness, emotional stability, on-field results, and health - Ted Lilly is as close to a staff ace as we have.


Look, folks, I don't know if a manager has much to do with whether or not a highly-paid player acts professionally, takes his job seriously, does the prep-work, and gets himself back from injury in a timely manner.  Because Ted Lilly does that better than any other Cub.  I personally don't think those things SHOULD be Lou Piniella's job.  But I don't know that for sure, maybe that is the manager's job, to motivate the troops. 


If it IS, then Piniella should be fired, immediately, because for the most part, this is the most listless bunch I have ever seen.  If Ramirez, Soto, Zambrano, Dempster, Harden, Soriano, and all of the Second Basemen of Suck were to follow Lilly's lead, maybe we wouldn't be six games in back and sinking like a rock.

Game Recap - Cubs 7, Astros 1 - Sweeeeet.

Cubs win!
(with additional contributions by Kurt)
Good teams beat up on bad ones, and that's precisely what happened in Tuesday night's game.

Brian Moehler sucks. Before tonight's game, he'd allowed 10 earned runs in 6.2 innings pitched against the Cubs this season. He was no better tonight, giving up another five runs in just three innings.

His replacements fared no better, as the Cubs feasted on Astro pitching. Five Cubs ended the night with multiple hits, and a couple of young-and-struggling types in particular boosted their numbers with great hitting.

Mike Fontenot went 4-for-5 on the night, including a double and his sixth home run. And right on cue, Geovany "I love you, Rob!" Soto went 3-for-5. Unfortunately for Soto, however, while a three-hit night is great for the OBP, he'll need more than singles to return to his '08 form.

On the other side of the ball, Ted Lilly pitched a great game, and was an out away from a sub-3.00 ERA on the season. Furthermore, after being given a big lead, Aaron Heilman and Sean Marshall both threw strikes, giving up a combined zero walks.

There was really only one negative aspect to tonight's game.

That was having to watch Milton Bradley try to remember how to hit major league pitching throughout the game. Bradley ended up leaving ten men on base, going 0-for-6 with three strikeouts and at least one weakly hit pop-fly in foul territory that I remember.

Am I worried? No, not really. In fact, I'm HAPPY! The Cubs looked great tonight, and I hope it's a sign of better things to come.

GO CUBS!

From Kurt
Minute Maid Park has to be the weirdest in baseball.  How many ground rule doubles do they have a year?  Even Ted Lilly hit a triple!  Ted Lilly!  A triple!  Afrghth!1!  And yet, on a night when the Cubs offense was cracking, the Astros nearly got no-hit by Lilly... again. 

Ryan Theriot and Milton Bradley -- who is returning from another near-miss with the DL -- were the only two Cub regulars to miss out on the party. 

Anyway, it takes more than one big game to turn a team's offensive woes around but two or three more would be nice.  Nicer still would be an adjustment to the lineup, dropping the Fonz to cleanup or 5th, but I digress...

Gamecast: May 19th vs. Cardinals

Ted Lilly (5-2, 3.27 ERA) vs. Joel Pineiro (4-3, 4.17 ERA)

Story Lines

The Cubs and Cardinals renew their rivalry in St. Louis tonight. The two teams seem to be heading into opposite directions. The Cardinals are 3-7 in their last 10, while the Cubs are 7-3.

The Cubs would be in first place if it weren't for the red-hot Milwaukee Brewers. As it stands, the Cubs are two games back of the Brewers.

The Cubs have put together a 21-15 record with all kinds of players who haven't played well or are injured.

Tonight the Cubs send Ted Lilly to the mound against Joel Pineiro. The Cubs probably have the better of the match ups tonight, but stranger things have happened.

Who's Hot

Derrek Lee - Hello Derrek, welcome to the 2009 season, even if it took him 36 games. In his last seven games, Lee's hitting .333 with 1.012 OPS. I really hope he is breaking out and not just a quick flash in the pan.

Kosuke Fukudome - Who's hitting .400 in his last seven? Well, if you guessed Fukudome, you're right. He's not hitting for power, but he has .454 OBP.

Angel Guzman - He is quickly overtaking Aaron Heilman as the 7th Inning
pitcher. He has looked dominate in the last couple outings, which is
something

Who's Not

Mike Fontenot - Err, where's Mark Derosa when you need him? Oh right, Cleveland. As for our 2B, he hasn't had a hit since May 9th. He's in the lineup tonight, but with Scales and Freel on the roster, he might start losing AB's.

Neal Cotts and David Patton - Are these guys still on the roster? I guess so, but I feel the winds of change coming.

Conclusions

The Cubs really need to keep hot with the Brewers playing the Astros this week, before heading to Minnesota. The Cubs do end the week in San Diego, so they have a great chance to gain some ground.

Game Recap: Cubs 6, Marlins 1

Ok, who is spiking the kool-aid with HGH? No really, because this is the craziest thing since Ryan Theriot hit two home runs in one game. Anybody remember that one? I didn't, but thanks to Baseball-Reference.com for the information. Actually the entire offense was pretty good today with every regular getting a hit except Kosuke Fukudome, who ended up walking twice.

Theriot's blast in first inning was all that Ted Lilly would need. Lilly threw a brillant 8 innings, while striking 10 on the way to his third win of the year. Lilly's only mistake came in the fifth inning to Cody Ross, or he might have tossed a complete game.
The best thing about Ted's preformance was he didn't walk a hitter. Maybe it will rub off on a few more of the Cub pitchers.

The Cubs got all of their six runs off Marlin stater Anibal Sanchez, including another RBI by Mike Fontenot in the first inning that scored Fukudome to give the Cubs a 3-0 lead.

Taking inspiration from Dan Haren, Lilly came up with a huge 2-out, 2-run double in the third to give the Cubs a 5-run lead, which was more than enough. Derrek Lee added a home run in the fourth for good measure, and possibly a little ray of light that he isn't totally done.

Micah Hoffpauir continued to prove that he belongs on a MLB roster with two more hits and a walk. Of course the walk ended up as a caught stealing after Joey Gathright did his best Ronnie Cedeno impression by oversliding the bag.

More importantly, the Cubs were able to win for the second day in the row, and the Deadbirds finally lost to the Nats. The Cubs find themselves four back with one last game against the Marlins tomorrow. The Cubs have a great chance to take three out of four tomorrow if Carlos Zambrano can pitch well. At least he should be ready to hit after his third straight day pinch hitting.

Enjoy the rest of the night, and go Cubs.

Gamecast: May 2nd Marlins vs. Cubs

May 2 Game Day
Anibal Sanchez (1-2, 4.13 ERA) vs. Ted Lilly (2-2, 3.80 ERA)

Story-Lines
After falling below .500 on Thursday, the Cubs came back yesterday, down 5-1 at one point, and defeated the Marlins 8-6 thanks to power-hitting Ryan Theriot. Was anybody really hoping for the Grand Slam there? At best, maybe a bases-clearing double or something, but “The Riot” got a hold of his one for the year and gave the Cubs a spark.

Today’s game pits Lilly, a two-time almost no-hitter, and Sanchez, a one-time no-no, together in a crucial game for the Cubs. With the Cardinal juggernaut steam rolling the Nationals, the Cubs really need to stockpile some wins to stay within 4-5 games.

Sanchez started the year by throwing five-innings of shutout baseball against the Mets, but they got too him for six runs in six innings on Monday.

Of course things aren’t going much better for Lilly, who couldn’t locate on Monday in Arizona. He was tagged for five runs in five innings of work, which included four walks. The Cubs have to find ways of walking people, or I have a feeling Lou Pinella might need to visit a specialist for some high blood pressure.

Who’s Hot
Ryan Theriot – I know he’s only hitting .267 in his last six games, but he had the biggest home run of the year yesterday. So, we’ll give him a little wiggle room to get heated up.

The two-hit wonders – Derrek Lee, Reed Johnson, Geovanny Soto and Mike Fontenot all had two hits yesterday.

Who’s Not
The Bullpen – The Cubs pen got a win and save yesterday, but they also walked five and gave up two hits. Granted, all of those free passes and hits only resulted in one run, courtesy of our “closer” Kevin Gregg.  On the flip side, David Patton and Neal Cotts both worked scoreless innings. I know it was a better result, but I would like to see some clean innings, before I'm ready to move them up to the hot list.

Conclusions
The Cubs really need to string a couple wins together. It is still too early to worry, but it would be nice to start playing better baseball. Lilly has been solid this year, and hopefully he can put Monday’s start behind him to lead the Cubs to first back-to-back wins since April 17-21.

Most of use won’t get a chance to see the game today, because of the blackout rules, unless you live in the Chicago area. For the rest of us, it will be MLB.TV or XM or constant updates on the web. I will be do my best to post a recap later today.

Image update
As you can see, I'm not as good at Photoshop as Kurt. So, I did the best I could and spray painted the numbers out of yesterday's graphic. Maybe I can get a few lessons this summer. Well, enjoy the game today and go Cubs.

Image update update from Kurt
Ironically soon after Chris posted this article I sent him the GameCast graphic for today.  I guess he didn't see it, so I've gone in and imputed the proper image.  As far as the Game Recaps go, once I get home from my trip I will do them up.

Game Recap: Reds 3, Cubs 0

Reds 3, Cubs 0
After the first game of this series, Dusty Baker must have written Lou Piniella a strongly worded letter.  I can only imagine what it sounded like, but it was likely something such as this:

Dear Dude, as somebody who once managed the Cubs I can tell you that it's awfully tempting to change the way you manage to placate the fans who boo ya.  But I'm a winner, always have been.  I took my team to the World Series as recently as 2002, which is a lot more recent than you, dude.  And I'm telling you right now - walks don't win games.  You can have 10 walks in a game, dude, but if you have nobody hitting the ball you will lose.  So take it from me - get your guys to play more aggressively tomorrow.  Forget the walks.  Get them to swing the hot bats.  I know it will make our job tougher, but I love you dude.  I want to help.

Signed, Johnny B.

If that's similar to the letter that Lou received (but without words like "placate"), then he must have listened because the Cubs drew a big fat zero walks against the Reds last night.

They also only managed 6 hits, 5 of which came from the 1-3 batters (2 by Sori and D-Lee). 

Meanwhile Ted Lilly became the answer to a triva question last night.  Name the most recent pitcher to lose a game without allowing an earned run.  (I'm sure it happens fairly often, but Lilly went 7 strong, allowing 5 hits, 0 walks and 0 earned runs) but it can't really be argued that he deserved the loss.  After all, that unearned run was the eventual result of a Ted Lilly fielding error.

The bullpen - today being Angel Guzman and Kevin Gregg - gave up a couple of garbage runs that really meant nothing. 

Milton Bradley went 0 for 4 again.  Back in February and March a lot of us - myself included - were hoping aloud that he wouldn't have a bad start because Cub fans will turn on new players very quickly and Bradley is a volatile athlete.  And although starting the season with a.043 AVG is really, really something a player doesn't want to do (duh), one hot month will put him right back to where he should be. 

For now, he'll just be the poster child of my Small Sample Sizes argument.

Quick Links

Game Recap: Cubs 4, Rockies 0; One-Hit Wonders

Win!
I think we can call that one a bit unexpected.  Five days after serving up 4 homeruns and 5 earned runs in 5 innings pitched, Ted Lilly took the mound for the first time at Wrigley Field and proceeded to hold the Rockies hitless until the 7th inning.

All told, Theodore Roosevelt "Psycho" Lilly went 6.2 innings, striking out 8, walking 2, and allowing only that 1 hit on 104 pitches.  Meanwhile You-bald-ho, who threw shutout ball his last time out, walked 6 and failed to get out of the 4th inning, although he and the Rockies did escape numerous bases-loaded situations.

Amazingly the Cubs bullpen was mostly competent this time around.  Angel Guzman, Aaron Heilman, and Kevin Gregg tossed 2.1 innings, allowing 0 hits, 2 walks, and striking out 4.  Considering the circus he's been managing, Lou will take it.

Offensively, the only two Cubs not to get hits are ironically the two who've been the most successful.  Ryan Theriot had his first 0-fer of the year and Mike Fontenot also failed to get a hit while starting third base for the first time in '09.  The Fonz, meanwhile, collected 2 hits along with Derrek Lee (who drove in another run) and Three Finger Hill (who is now batting .300 on the season).

The Cubs also managed to draw 9 walks today, leaving most of them stranded (proving Dusty Baker's "base-clogging" manifesto to be right again).  Among the regular walkers were Fooky (who walked three times) and Lee (who walked twice). 

It was a dominating performance for Cubs pitching.  Maybe that shouldn't be too surprising - after all, it was also a blisteringly crappy day weather wise and I'm pretty sure that Rockies manager Clint Hurdle intentionally got tossed so he could escape to the theoretically warmer comforts of the clubhouse.  (Little did he know that the heater doesn't work in the Wrigley Field visitor's clubhouse.) 

The Cubs have tomorrow off and will look for the pseudo-sweep on Wednesday. 

Quick Links
Series Preview Rockies vs. Cubs
GameCast April 13th

This is going to be one long strange paragraph

So the new Shout Box is causing GROTA to get blocked by the Fun Filter at my work, so I scraped up enough to buy this cheap computer for home, so I can still come out and play.  But when I get out here, now the editor won't let me put in a paragraph break, so today's and all subsequent posts from me will be confined in this annoying format which is even more annoying that my usual writing, which already bugs the shit out of all the statheads who followed Colin over here.  So I just wanted to say that tomorrow I am going to the land of beer-n-cheeze to see if Zambrano can rediscover his Miller Park No-Hit Magic.  So far this year I have secured tickets to see the Boys in Blue at four stadii, including both in Chicago, and on Labor Day, in Pissburgh.  I'm really excited about that one.  Anyway, so far so good for us this year.  I'm not worried about us losing a game in Houston, nor am I worried about Ted Bundy giving up homers in large Ray Burris-sized bunches.  For Mr. Lilly has always given up a lot of donggs, and both he and the Cubs have earned what they call "earned autonomy" at work.  In other words, he's won like 34 games for us, and the team has won 2 division titles in a row.  Take this from the guy who would and will be the first one to crawl up they ass when things aren't going well - they've earned some Regular Season Slack, so I for one am going to give it to them.  There.  That's it for today, look for me in the stands tomorrow.  I'm the one ending fights with cheezheads.  Roooollllll Out the Barrelllllll!

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