7/9 Lilly & Lee – what's next?
If this was one of Ted Lilly’s last games with the Cubs, it was one he won’t want to remember. Lilly struggled with his mechanics and was pulled after 3 2/3 innings, his shortest outing of the season, in the Cubs’ 9-7 loss to the Dodgers Friday night. He gave up seven runs — five earned — on seven hits and two walks. In his last two starts, he’s given up 16 runs over 10 1/3 innings.
“I feel healthy, just not happy,” Lilly said. “The only thing that doesn’t feel good is the way the ball’s coming out. There’s a few things I need to do to make that happen mechanically. Whatever it is, I need to figure it out.”
The left-hander, who will be a free agent after this season, has been mentioned in trade rumors by teams searching for starting pitching, especially now that Cliff Lee has been traded from Seattle to Texas. Lilly’s record isn’t reflective of how he’s done as he’s received an average of 2.31 runs of support per staff, the lowest mark in baseball.
“I’ve got my hands full just getting guys out,” Lilly said of all the gossip. “I’m busy doing that. I’ve got to go out and get hitters out regardless of anything else that’s going on around me and that’s it.”
Lilly will have a long All-Star break to think about Friday’s game.
“You give up seven or eight runs in three innings and put your team in a real tough position,” he said. “Their pitching is pretty good. Then we score seven runs. You look at it and think if I could’ve done a few things differently and held it together a little more, maybe we’re still playing right now.
“There’s a lot of second guessing and self reflection that goes on at a time like this,” he said.
There’s also the nasty rumors swirling around. Maybe that was the problem with Lilly?
“It’s a possibility,” Marlon Byrd said. “It can affect you mentally. [Lilly] is a professional and he’s never going to let it show. But it can start creeping in there.”
* First baseman Derrek Lee also will be a free agent after this season and his name also has been mentioned as possible trade bait. He does have a full no-trade clause and would have to approve a move. Would he consider it?
“That’s something I’ll have to think about if it happens, if it gets to that point,” Lee said.
The Cubs had hoped that at this point in the season, they would be considering adding help for the stretch run.
“It’s not good news,” Lee said of the rumors, “because it means you’re not doing your job.”
— Carrie Muskat