Dodgers starter Ted Lilly tossed three scoreless innings in the Dodgers'… (Jae C. Hong / Associated…)
A designated No. 2 starter is not required, but it can be helpful. That second arm a team knows it can count upon. Someone who can stem the tide besides the team ace.
The Dodgers, of course, now clearly have an ace in Clayton Kershaw. The rest of the rotation is all filled out too, but how they line up could prove a work in constant flux.
Chad Billingsley is the most logical candidate, but his career has almost hit a plateau at age 27. Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano were signed in the off-season to be back-of-the-rotation guys.
Which leaves left-hander Ted Lilly.
Lilly is 36 and seemingly a long way from suddenly being acclaimed as a staff’s No. 2 arm. But however much he’s lost on his fastball, he’s a highly effective pitcher who understands how to pitch.
And, once again, he finished strongly, posting a 2.09 earned-run average in the last two months of 2011 and winning five of his last six decisions.
Lilly threw three scoreless innings Sunday, to set the pace in the Dodgers’ 5-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs at Camelback Ranch.
Lilly was as good Sunday as he was bad in his first spring outing (two innings, six hits, five earned runs). He gave up just one hit and one walk to the Cubs. Otherwise, he was an early-preseason study in effectiveness.
Six relievers followed Lilly on Sunday to complete the shutout. Matt Guerrier survived three walks in his inning and John Grabow two hits in his. Otherwise, Todd
Coffey, Mike MacDougal, Alberto Castillo and Will Savage had an easy time of it.
They combined to shut out the Cubs on five hits. And right now, the Dodgers’ bullpen is starting to look as if it could be an area of team strength.
Offensively, Tony Gwynn Jr. singled in a pair of runs in the Dodgers' four-run second against Chicago's Matt Garza. Outfielder Trent Oeltjen had a pair of hits and scored twice.
Daily Dodger in review: Ted Lilly has his finishing act down
Steven Cohen tours Dodgers' spring home
Dodgers bobble another one with Jaime Jarrin