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Daily Dodger in review: Ted Lilly makes his case to stick around

OK, it’s the almost Daily Dodger review. Yeah, missed a day here and there. The review winds up this week.

TED LILLY, 34, pitcher

Final 2010 stats: 10-12, 3.62 ERA, 166 strikeouts, 44 walks, 1.08 WHIP in 193 2/3 innings.

Contract status: Signed through 2013.

The good: Had a 5-0 record and 1.83 ERA his first five starts after coming to the Dodgers at the July 31 trade deadline. Finished with double-figure wins for his eighth consecutive season. Went at least six innings in 24 of his 30 starts, and seven or more in his 12 starts with the Dodgers.

Allowed only 2.04 walks per nine innings, second lowest in the National League to Cy Young winner Roy Halladay of the Phillies. Held right-handers to a .216 batting average. Went 4-1 with a 2.09 ERA at Dodger Stadium.

The bad: After those first five starts with the Dodgers, went 2-4 with a 4.89 ERA. During his 12-year career, has a 4.18 ERA. Had first losing season since 2005, though the Dodgers and Cubs combined to average only 2.88 runs per nine innings for him, the worst support in the majors.

Turns 35 on Jan. 4. He’s far from overpowering, but proved that when his control is on -- which is most of the time -- he is still difficult to beat. Unless Casey Blake is complaining about his delivery.

What’s next: Signed a three-year, $33-million deal with Dodgers last month which bodes well for next season. We’ll see how he holds up the following the years.

The take: Lilly is a solid, veteran arm who can eat up innings. And the way the bullpen was beaten up last year, that’s a definite plus.

Lilly, though, was essentially acquired to be the team’s fifth starter. Then he got off to that ridiculous L.A. start, and the Dodgers were looking like they had a steal.

He predictably came back to earth afterward, but that 5-0 record raised expectations, which might be unwise. Now he’s considered the team’s third starter behind Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley, which of course, is something different.

With the Dodgers later signing Hiroki Kuroda, they now have a very formidable starting foursome. It would look a lot more imposing if they could sign Cliff Lee and push everyone back a spot, but no one believes that’s going to happen. Despite his age, Lilly’s five best seasons in the majors have been his last five.

-- Steve Dilbeck

 
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If you actually look at Lilly's starts in that stretch when he went 2-4, he had only two bad starts out of 7. The other 5 were quality starts, getting 2 wins, 2 losses and a ND despite pitching well enough to win all five. The ND was a Broxton blow up against the Giants and the two losses were when the offense scratched out 1 and 2 runs. And other than those two bad starts, he had quality starts in the remaining 10, never gave up more than 3 runs, never walked more than 2 in any game, and could have easily went 10-2. As for the signing, if he can pitch like Derek Lowe has the past two years for the Braves (at the same age as Lilly is now), then the signing will be a success.

I think in Lilly's case it's how he pitches, the way he pitches, more than the results which usually depends on how much run support he gets. He seems to have a very consistent delivery,which is the only way I can put it. He always looks good no matter how well he's doing. I think that's a sign of a very good pitcher. I'm glad we retained him.


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