There were probably a dozen or so scouts from other major league teams watching Ted Lilly throw against the Dodgers last night.
They got a show -- but likely not the one they wanted; Ted had his worst outing of the 2010 season, and shortest at 3.2 innings, too. The Cubs lost to the Dodgers 9-7, and I decided the game was over after the sixth inning, so very tired, I went to sleep and missed the Cubs' attempt at a comeback.
Figures, right? The Cubs score seven runs in a game, something they almost never do these days, and this is the game the pitching staff decides to be awful?
Let's focus on a few good things first. Marlon Byrd, headed to next week's All-Star game a few miles down the road from Dodger Stadium in Anaheim, had four hits and three RBI; his .319 average places him third in the league behind the Braves' Martin Prado and the Dodgers' Andre Ethier. His 40 RBI now rank second on the team behind Alfonso Soriano (43) but that's good for only 47th place in the NL; there may not be a Cub with 90 RBI this year.
Wait, I said I was going to focus on the good, right? Aramis Ramirez singled, doubled and tripled -- yes, that's right, tripled; he's had only one triple each of the last three years -- and raised his average to .204, the first time he's been above the Mendoza Line since the fourth game of the season, when he was 3-for-15 (.200).
Good. Focus on good: since A-Ram's return from the DL, he's hitting .333/.382/.667 (17-for-51) with 10 runs scored, four HR and nine RBI. That's the A-Ram we know from past years; he may, at least, have a decent second half, though it may be too late for any significant Cubs winning run.
Here's something that always seems to happen to Cubs pitchers: the three-run homer that Russell Martin hit off Ted in the second inning was his first in almost two months (May 11).
I guess I'm done with "good", for this game, anyway. The Cubs rallied for a pair in the eighth and two more in the ninth and actually had the tying run at the plate in Tyler Colvin, but he struck out to end the game -- and therein lies another story of last night's game, 13 K's by Cubs hitters, the second day in a row they've struck out that many times. Dodger pitching ranks second in the league in K's, and for a free-swinging team like the Cubs, that's... well, it's been the kiss of death.
38% of the nation will see this afternoon's game on Fox. Maybe that's a good thing. The game preview will be up at 1 pm CDT.