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Ted Lilly looks to turn hot finish in 2011 into hot start in 2012

October 5, 2011 | 10:20 am

As pleased as he was to salvage his season with two brilliant months, Dodgers left-hander Ted Lilly said he couldn’t help but reflect on 2011 with a sense of regret.

With the Dodgers finishing 11½ games behind the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks, Lilly said he wondered what-if.

“If we were able to sneak into the playoffs, it’d be really easy to forget about the first half,” Lilly said.

Lilly was 7-10 with a 5.02 ERA through July 29. At that point, he had given up 23 home runs in 22 starts. Opponents had stolen 23 bases off him.

Over his final 11 starts, Lilly posted a 2.09 ERA. He didn’t give up any home runs over his last five starts.

The winner of five of his last six decisions, Lilly finished the season 12-14 with a 3.97 ERA.

“I was locating my fastball a little bit better,” said Lilly, who pitched through elbow pain early in the season.

Lilly, who turns 36 in January, said the way his season unfolded served as an important reminder.

“It’s a reminder of how important it is to get off to a good start,” he said. “I need to do a better job for six months, not two.”


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Photo: Ted Lilly. Credit: Jae C. Hong / Associated Press