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Lilly, Soriano Lead Cubs To Win With Timely Hitting And Solid Pitching

Teams supposedly are coveting Ted Lilly as the 2010 trading deadline approaches, and after last night's 3-1 Cubs win over the Pirates, you can see why.

Ted throws strikes, mixes his pitches around, and works quickly. Last night, Harry Pavlidis tweeted:

I'm going to miss Ted Lilly. What ever the Cubs end up doing, just get plenty in return, please.

Not so fast, Harry. While Ted will be 35 in January, he seems completely recovered from his offseason shoulder surgery and I don't see any reason why the Cubs shouldn't try to keep him. If the Cubs do indeed wind up moving Carlos Zambrano somewhere before the end of this month, getting some salary relief (I assume they'd be able to save some of Z's money, not all of it), they could then afford to keep Ted on, say, a two-year deal or maybe two years with a vesting option.

Ted owns a home in Chicago, only a few blocks from Wrigley Field. He clearly likes it here. He and Ryan Dempster are close friends. Why would you want to lose a pitcher like that in exchange for a couple of maybes? If nothing else, offer arbitration at the end of the season. He is one of Jim Hendry's best free agent signings.

Another amazing Ted fact, tweeted by The Cub Reporter last night:

At no time this year, spanning 86 2/3 IP, has Ted Lilly been on the mound with a lead of more than two runs.

Ted's 3.12 ERA now ranks 16th in the National League, despite the abysmal run support, and he has posted quality starts in 11 of his 13 outings. For a while on a quite cool late June evening (65 degrees at game time, and many in shorts began to leave around the seventh inning), it looked like Ted might be able to finish up. Not only that, but the game appeared headed for a sub-two-hour time, until the Pirates wasted time with a mid-inning pitching change in the seventh. Heaven forbid that the dangerous Ryan Theriot face a lefthander. Brendan Donnelly was brought in to face Theriot, who decided this was the time to work the count. He had an eleven-pitch at-bat before walking.

He couldn't have done this on Monday?

Anyway, at this point, the complaint department is closed. Alfonso Soriano hit a pair of homers and may be on another one of his hot streaks -- he's hitting .343 over his last 10 games with three HR.

The win itself likely doesn't mean too much with the Cubs still nine games out of first place. But they have a chance to win a series for the first time in two weeks with a victory this afternoon. The game preview will post at 11:30 am CDT.