If this really was Ted Lilly's final appearance in a Cubs uniform (and I'm betting it's not), at least he leaves us with something good to remember him by.
Ted matched Brett Myers for the first 5.2 innings but had to leave after reaching 113 pitches in the last of the sixth. Andrew Cashner finished off that inning... but then blew up in an ugly seventh that "featured" two hit batters, a squeeze bunt, and the final indignity, a grand slam from Lance Berkman.
The Cubs lost 6-1 to the Astros Tuesday night, and were spared the indignity of a shutout by Brett Myers because Tyler Colvin led off the ninth inning with a solo home run, his 16th. One more and he'll tie Mel Hall for the most by a Cubs lefthanded rookie batter since Hall hit 17 in 1983.
Lilly threw well enough, but if I were one of the many scouts in attendance last night in Houston, I'd go back to my GM and recommend acquiring Brett Myers, who was dominant and shut down the Cubs on two hits before Colvin's HR. Myers threw his second complete game of the season and lowered his ERA to 3.10, 12th in the National League.
More interesting last night was this tantalizing tweet from ESPN's Buster Olney:
Heard this: The Cubs have made it clear to other teams that they are ready to move Carlos Zambrano, if anyone is interested. #trades
... which is already being discussed in this FanShot, but I wanted to mention it here as well. As I posted there, I wrote about a possible "out there" type of deal for Z on SB Nation Chicago, sending him to the White Sox in exchange for the risk that Jake Peavy will never pitch again.
Commenter fsuapollo brought up this:
So, if you’re Kenny Williams, to make this deal you have to believe: a) you can "fix" Z, b) you can "control" Z, c) Z’s plummeting K rate somehow plays well at the South Side little league launching pad, d) this set of circumstances culminates immediately in order to help your club, and e) PV will never again be fully healthy.
That's a lot of "if"s, and this response is kind of too long to put in a comment in the FanShot, so let's take them one by one here.
a) "fix" Z -- the Sox are probably the one team that can do this, because of Ozzie Guillen's close personal relationship with Z. He's the one manager in baseball who actually has the chance of understanding why Z goes off the deep end -- likely, because Ozzie does that himself from time to time.
b) "controlling" Z -- see the point above.
c) the plummeting K rate -- this isn't really true; Z has 53 strikeouts in 55.2 major league innings this year. But Z is really most effective when he has his heavy sinker working, rather than trying to be a strikeout pitcher. Also, "little league" was a little over the top, but the Cell is definitely a launching pad, one reason Ted Lilly wouldn't do well there. Z would have to become more of a sinkerballer to succeed there.
d) "immediate" success -- Kenny Williams took on Alex Rios' contract via waivers last year. People laughed. Kenny got the last laugh. Obviously, he can't wait a year this time -- but then, the Sox aren't where they were last year. This would be a roll-the-dice type of move, no doubt, because the Sox need pitching help. It could pay off big-time.
e) PV never being fully healthy -- that would be the risk for both teams, right? The Sox can wait for spring training and hope he's healthy, but if they don't make the deal, they lose out on a postseason spot AND Peavy isn't healthy, they lose on all three counts. Z might help them to the postseason, which would allow the Sox to tweak the Cubs and Cubs fans again. Normally, I wouldn't be for that but the relationship between Z and the Cubs seems irreparably broken, especially now that the Cubs have gone public with their desire to trade him.
Get it done, Jim. Seriously. And if not to the White Sox, then to someone else (Omar Minaya, are you answering your phone?) in a bad-contract exchange.
Beyond all this, the Cubs will try to win the series in Houston this afternoon. The game preview thread will post at 11:30 am CDT.