Tag:Ted Lilly
Posted on: September 26, 2008 8:41 pm

Cubs set playoff rotation

MILWAUKEE -- Chicago manager Lou Piniella said the other day that Ryan Dempster will start Game 1 of the playoffs for the Cubs. Friday, he mapped out the rest of the Chicago rotation: Carlos Zambrano, who threw a no-hitter earlier this month, will start Game 2, followed by Rich Harden in Game 3 and Ted Lilly in Game 4.

Starting Dempster in Game 1 makes sense for two reasons: One, it's a reward for the man who successfully re-converted from closer back to starter and, so far, leads the Cubs in victories with 17.

Zambrano (14-6, 3.91 ERA) badly wants to start Game 1, but he historically has had difficulty controlling his emotions. No doubt, some of Piniella's decision hold Zambrano for the second game is partly related to the manager's ongoing effort to help Zambrano harness those emotions.

There is no guarantee that Zambrano won't be overly exuberant as he opens Game 2. But perhaps he'll work some of that out on the sidelines as Game 1 is played.

Harden (5-1, 1.77) and the left-handed Lilly (16-9, 4.17 ERA) will start the Cubs' two games on the road, Games 3 and 4.

Piniella has said all along that he has confidence in all four of his starters, and the fact that he's naming them now instead of working matchups when the Cubs find out who they'll be playing next week backs that up.

Now, all the Cubs need is an opponent.

If Milwaukee wins the NL wild-card, the Cubs will open their National League Divisional Series next week against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

If the wild-card comes from the NL East, the Cubs would play whomever earns the wild-card slot -- either the Mets or the Phillies.

Posted on: August 26, 2008 2:11 pm

Webb's gem on deck Tuesday night

Brandon Webb is good to go tonight in his nostalgic, old-timers' quest to actually do something we once took for granted: Win his 20th ballgame.

No National League pitcher has won 20 since 2005 -- imagine what Hall of Famers Warren Spahn (13-time 20-game winner) and Steve Carlton (six-time 20-game winner) would say about that -- yet Webb tees it up in San Diego tonight at 19-4 (and it's only Aug. 26!).

Better yet for Webb, winner of six consecutive decisions, he'll do so with minimal trouble from his rib cage. He was drilled there with a line drive in last Wednesday's outing against San Diego in the desert.

"It's still a little sore to the touch, but it's not terrible," Webb says. "There were a couple of days where I couldn't run, but I've thrown every day. I should be fine to go."

The fact that he could win No. 20 so early is not lost on him, though he's not obsessing over it, either. What he's more concerned about is his team's slim three-game lead over Los Angeles in the NL West.

"I've got seven more starts, and I want to win every game," Webb says. "We need every one. Every game for us is pretty much a must-win. …

"It's probably going to come down to the last week of the season, and we need to win every game we can."

Likes: I don't know how the Mets are doing it with that shaky bullpen, but it's fun to watch. Two consecutive complete-game wins for Mike Pelfrey? Great, but with John Maine on the shelf and that Swidd cheese Mets bullpen, I still don't think we've heard the last from the Phillies. Gonna be fun, though. … The Cubs' Ted Lilly, 13-7. … The chicken parmesan pizza at Gregorio's in Carlsbad, Calif. … Michigan State-Cal in prime time Saturday night. … King Burrito down the hill from me, which had the doors locked on Sunday night but still took mercy and made me a great burrito 15 minutes after closing time. … XM radio 49, Big Tracks. … XM radio 20 on 20, great way to keep current with what's popular today (both good and bad). … It may be risking overplay, but I still really like Coldplay's Viva la Vida. Terrific pop hooks.

Dislikes: The Dodgers get 13 hits and still get shut out in Philadelphia on Monday? That's pathetic, and more power to the Phillies for doing it. No major league team has been shut out on that many hits in a nine-inning game since 1928. … Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band's Magic tour rolls to a close Saturday in Milwaukee. Life is always better when the band is on the road and the prospect of catching another concert, somewhere, is a distinct possibility. Really disappointing that I could only catch three shows on this tour -- in Paris in December (OK, that one made up for a lot) and two in Anaheim in April.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Writing his memoirs, losin' his hearin'
But he don't care what most people say"

-- Jimmy Buffett, He Went to Paris

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