Ted Lilly has taken a lot of criticism this year, and for good reason: he gives up homers every five seconds, he can’t hold runners on, he’s now 7-13 on the year, and, oh yeah, he’s still owed about $28m through 2013, when he’ll be 37. He’s given up fourteen dingers over his last ten starts - fourteen! – and only once in that time has he made it through a game longball-free.
Still, after allowing just one run over seven innings tonight (yes, on a blast to Ryan Braun), it’s worth noting that Lilly’s actually been very good lately, since this is the fourth start in a row in which he’s allowed two runs or less. That’s a total of just six earned runs over 26 innings, which is excellent. The catch, of course, is that Lilly has come down with the loss in each of his last three games, since the Dodgers have scored – wait for it – one run in that span. One!
Tonight’s tragedy was perpetrated by former Dodger starter Randy Wolf, who allowed eleven runners over eight innings (five walks will do that for you), yet somehow not only kept the Dodgers off the board, but only allowed one runner to even get to third. Having the Dodgers hit into double plays (or worse, more on that in a second) in four of the first five innings tends to be a pretty effective way to keep the zeroes coming. Most prominent among the missed opportunities would be the third inning, in which Dioner Navarro led off with a double ahead of a Justin Sellers single. Rather than having two on with no outs, Navarro was thrown out at the plate, because any time you can try to have a slow-footed backup catcher advance an extra base, you have to take that opportunity. (Just kidding, mostly, since Lilly was up next. But still.)
Fittingly, the game ended on a Juan Rivera double play, though by that time both Scott Elbert and Mike MacDougal had allowed solo homers to push the lead to 3-0. The lesson, as always: no matter how well Lilly pitches, he will always give up at least one dinger, and the Dodger offense just isn’t good enough to overcome consistently hitting into double plays.
Oh, and James Loney hit into a triple play, which: bahahaha.