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Ted Lilly gives the Dodgers that crafty left-hander thing again

April 15, 2012|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Dodgers catcher Matt Treanor talks strategy with left-handed starter Ted Lilly during a 6-1 victory over the Padres at Dodger Stadium.
Dodgers catcher Matt Treanor talks strategy with left-handed starter… (Victor Decolongon / Getty…)

Apparently he felt a tad left out. All that early team success, and Ted Lilly was reduced to something of a cheerleader. Which given his quiet nature, must be a tough gig.

“I’ve been sitting and watching a lot of games,” Lilly said, “and it’s been a collective effort.”

Minus Lilly, anyway. His start to the 2012 season first required a stopover on the disabled list with a strained neck. Then came a rehab assignment last Sunday at Class A Rancho Cucamonga, where he was roughed up for seven runs in six innings.

His season debut arrived Saturday against the Padres, and if overshadowed by the pair of two-run homers from Matt Kemp, it was everything the Dodgers could have hoped for.

Lilly was all efficiency, a model of left-handed precision in the 6-1 victory. He went seven innings, gave up only two hits, walked one and struck out four. Most importantly, of the 24 batters he faced, he threw a first-pitch strike to 19.

“If I don’t, if I pitch from behind, it’s pretty tough for me because I don’t have a ton of movement and I don’t throw real hard, so I’ve got to be able to take advantage of the 0-1 count,” Lilly said.

In his seven innings, he threw only 79 pitches (53 strikes). He was in such control, that in no inning did he throw more than 15 pitches. Not bad for his first start of the season.

“It doesn’t matter which outing, I’ll take that all day long,” said Manager Don Mattingly. “Teddy was good. That’s kind of what we talked about. Those rehab games don’t matter. You turn on the lights, Teddy knows what he’s doing. He’s going to change speeds. It felt like he was sharper than in spring.”

It left Lilly, 36, very much feeling like part of an 8-1 start for the Dodgers. Clayton Kershaw (0.90 ERA) and Chad Billingsley (0.63) have been strong in their first two starts, and Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano rebounded well in their second starts.

Now the final piece of the rotation has given the Dodgers a promising start, which right now, is all they’re about.

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Original source: Ted Lilly gives the Dodgers that crafty left-hander thing again

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