Posts Tagged ‘Ted Lilly’

Dodgers notebook, 6/29

June 29, 2011 Comments off

Lilly struggling to hold runners on

MINNEAPOLIS — Ted Lilly has always had trouble holding runners on, but opponents have been running even more lately on the Dodgers lefty.

Lilly has been working on keeping runners close, but it has not seemed to be effective. With Lilly on the mound Tuesday night, the Twins stole four bases, one shy of their season high.

“It seems like every time I throw over to first, they’re standing there, and when I go home, they’re standing on second,” Lilly said. “They know something that I don’t.”

While his delivery to plate is slow, Lilly does have an above-average pickoff move to first base. But even that hasn’t helped.

“He’s got one of those moves that is deceptive, but it’s like when we’re picking guys, we’re still not able to get that guy at second base,” manager Don Mattingly said. “We’ve probably had three or four of those, where he’s picked guys off and we’re not able to get that guy at second.”

Mattingly said Lilly needs to use a spin move more with runners at second base, and he notes that Lilly has been mixing up his pickoff moves to try to keep runners off-balance.

One thing that Mattingly does not think will help, though, is Lilly using a slide step to cut down the length of his delivery.

Whatever the issue is with Lilly holding runners close, Mattingly said it has seemed worse than usual lately. It has also coincided with a few poor starts.

When Lilly was asked if one could be affecting the other, he responded, “Usually, that’s how it goes.”

Injuries, uneven play impetus of Dodgers’ woes

MINNEAPOLIS — Through the first half of the season, the Dodgers have dealt with numerous injuries and struggled to a 36-45 record.

As it entered the second half the season on Wednesday, the club sat 10 1/2 games out of first place in the National League West.

So what has first-year manager Don Mattingly learned about his team so far?

“I’ve learned we’re not in a good position at this point,” Mattingly said. “We haven’t really put ourselves in the position we’d like.”

After an impressive, historic victory on Monday, the Dodgers had won back-to-back games while looking like a team ready to put together a winning streak.

Instead, they followed with a 6-4 loss Tuesday night, in which lefty starter Ted Lilly struggled and the offense could not put anything together significant, save for a three-run fifth inning.

Midway through the season, the Dodgers still have not won more than three consecutive games.

“Obviously, at halfway, you’d like to start seeing your club kind of form an identity of who you’re going to be on a day-in, day-out basis,” Mattingly said. “Really to this point, I don’t think we’ve been showing any sign of that.

“We haven’t really put a run together yet, we haven’t gotten on one of those streaks where you’re winning and you get that confidence going as a ballclub, where you start to feel like, ‘We can do this, we can win this thing.'”

Mattingly: ‘Donnie Baseball’ came from Puckett

MINNEAPOLIS — During his 14-year career with the Yankees in the 1980s and ’90s, Don Mattingly earned the nickname “Donnie Baseball.”

Before Wednesday’s series finale in Minnesota, the Dodgers manager talked about how he got that nickname, from one of the Twins’ all-time greats, Kirby Puckett.

“I’m not quite sure why it stuck. … Kirby got it started,” Mattingly said. “The way he gets going and gets talking, he’s talking about ‘Baseball, baseball, Donnie Baseball, baseball.'”

Mattingly said Puckett coined the name at an annual banquet in Rochester, N.Y., held by former Major League umpire Ken Kaiser to benefit an orphanage. The banquet was well-attended by players, and Mattingly recalled seeing Nolan Ryan, George Brett, Mark McGwire, Jim Leyland and Don Zimmer there, among others.

Beyond getting his nickname from the Twins Hall of Famer, Mattingly said he had a good relationship with Puckett.

“You really respect the way Kirby played the game; he played hard,” Mattingly said. “From that standpoint, yeah. Not necessarily going out to dinner and things like that, but [we had] a good relationship from the standpoint of camaraderie amongst players.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Dodgers can’t rally after Lilly struggles

June 28, 2011 Comments off

MINNEAPOLIS — After matching a club record with 25 hits on Monday night for their second straight win, the Dodgers looked like they might be on the verge of putting together a winning streak.

But after a complete performance in Monday’s victory, with good pitching, hitting and defense, the Dodgers couldn’t keep the Twins off the board on Tuesday and could not string together enough hits of their own as they lost, 6-4, at Target Field.

“It’s kind of really been our story, for the most part. We’ve been able to put a couple games together, [or] three, it looks like we might get something going here and there, and then we just seem to fall back,” said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. “Obviously, we’re going to need to win tomorrow and keep trying to put this thing together.”

It started on the mound, where left-hander Ted Lilly had just one inning in which he did not allow a run, giving up six on nine hits over 4 2/3 innings. Lilly allowed at least one hit in every inning, and multiple hits in the first, second and fifth.

Lilly did not strike out a batter for just the third time in 302 career starts. The other two times came on Sept. 23, 2005, at Yankee Stadium and May 18, 2001, at Seattle. In his last three starts, Lilly is 0-3 with a 10.43 ERA, giving up 17 earned runs on 23 hits, including four home runs.

The big hit came in the fifth, when Twins first baseman Luke Hughes knocked Lilly out of the game with a two-run homer that broke a 4-4 tie.

“It was in, but it was up, and it just didn’t come out very good. I think if I finish that ball a little better and the location’s the same, maybe he pops it up, usually,” Lilly said. “Sometimes the balls that are hit like that are leaked back out over the plate. He kept it fair, and it cost us the game.”

One night after former Twins prospect and Australia native Trent Oeltjen had four hits and was a double shy of the cycle, his fellow countryman, Hughes, came through in a big way for the Twins.

“It was great to watch Trent Oeltjen do his thing last night — it was bittersweet watching him get four hits against us — but tonight was a fantastic opportunity, getting a chance to face Lilly for a third time,” Hughes said. “He got me out the first couple at-bats, but I was lucky enough to square one up and get it over there.”

In the top of the fifth, the Dodgers had tied the game with three runs on a home run, two singles and two walks. Second baseman Aaron Miles hit the solo blast, his first of the season, and Andre Ethier delivered two runs with a single that just got through the infield.

But the offense would not score again, as it managed just three more hits on the night.

The Dodgers had a chance in the seventh, with singles by Jamey Carroll and Casey Blake, but a couple of calls went the Twins’ way to keep Los Angeles off the board. Left fielder Tony Gwynn appeared to have beat out a grounder to short, but was called out, and Carroll looked to have scored on Blake’s single before being called out at the plate.

Twins lefty Brian Duensing gave up four runs on four hits and four walks over five-plus innings with three strikeouts. Duensing dominated the first time through the Dodgers’ order, but he was not much better than Lilly in the end.

“To be honest, it was hard to tell yourself to let them put [it] in play after last night, when every single one of them put [it] in play and put [it] in play hard,” Duensing said. “But I thought the chances of that happening were slim, so I went after them, especially early. But then it got away from me a little bit, and I lost that feeling.”

The Twins took an early lead with an RBI single by Joe Mauer in the first. They added a pair of runs in the second inning with two singles, two stolen bases and an Alexi Casilla double. Minnesota added a run in the fourth inning, the second of the night scored by former Dodgers outfielder Jason Repko, and two in the fifth on Hughes’ home run.

At the midway point of the season after Tuesday’s loss, the Dodgers sit 10 1/2 games behind the first-place Giants, and are nine games under .500.

“We know the situation,” Mattingly said. “Tonight, you feel like you get back in the game and you’re hoping to get something going, but as far as putting some wins together … it’s just not being consistent, really.

“We haven’t been able to consistently put it together, where we’re getting that pitching and we’re swinging the bats.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Barajas’ three-hit debut propels Dodgers

August 24, 2010 Comments off

MILWAUKEE — Growing up in Southern California, catcher Rod Barajas dreamed of some day playing for the Dodgers. Once given the opportunity, Barajas made the most of it.

Before the game Tuesday night, Dodgers manager Joe Torre talked about the offense his new catcher could provide and how that could boost his ballclub. In particular, Torre talked about Barajas being a home run threat.

Coming into a new clubhouse as he joined the Dodgers in Milwaukee, Barajas just wanted to get the first hit out of the way. He did a lot more than that.

Barajas was even better at the plate than advertised in his first game in a Dodgers uniform, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and a three-run homer in a 5-3 victory over the Brewers.

“It was nice,” Barajas said. “I try not to do too much. I was excited, nervous, a little bit of everything. I think getting that first base hit — something I’ve never really done in my career, hit a ball down the line like that — kind of got the nerves out of the way.

“From there on, it was just regular baseball.”

Barajas’ blast, off Brewers starter Dave Bush with two out in the sixth, put the Dodgers back on top and proved to be the eventual game-winner in the first of a three-game set with the Crew at Miller Park.

It was the 13th home run of the season for Barajas, who also increased his RBI total to 37 on the season. Perhaps more significant for Barajas, it was his first homer with the Dodgers.

“It’s been exciting,” he said of the last 48 hours. “The fact that I came to the Dodgers was the real exciting part. If it was any other team, then I probably wouldn’t be as excited. But being an L.A. boy and growing up cheering for these guys, I was nervous coming in here meeting new guys and performing with all my family and friends watching.

“They’ve said all along, we’d love to have you over here. I was afraid that if I didn’t do well, I’d get some bad text messages. It’s been a little hectic, but it’s been great.”

With the Dodgers trailing 3-2 at the time, Barajas came to the plate with two on and two out, following back-to-back singles by Ronnie Belliard and Jamey Carroll.

Given a 2-2 slider that caught too much of the plate, Barajas jumped on it, belting the pitch from Bush into the Brewers bullpen in left-center.

“It was supposed to be a slider around the bottom of the zone,” Bush said. “It just backed up. It was a terrible pitch, no two ways about it. It didn’t do much of anything.”

While Barajas made an excellent first impression, left-handed starter Ted Lilly has been doing so for the past three weeks.

Lilly continued to impress, tossing 6 1/3 innings while giving up just three runs on seven hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Lilly (8-8) has enjoyed success throughout his career against the Brewers, posting a 5-2 record with a 3.54 ERA. This season, Lilly has allowed just four runs over 22 1/3 innings against the Crew.

Since joining the Dodgers at the Trade Deadline, Lilly has gone 5-0 with a 1.84 ERA, giving up just seven runs over 34 1/3 innings in five starts.

While his performance Tuesday night was decidedly uncharacteristic for Lilly, the lefty was fortunate enough to escape with just the three runs allowed against a potent Brewers lineup.

“I got away with quite a few pitches,” Lilly said. “I just wasn’t locating. I was leaving just about everything arm side on all my misses. We got some good ‘D’ and I got away with a few and a few of the balls that were hit hard, were right at guys.

“Fortunately, we came up with some big hits.”

Most impressive defensively was a big double play turned by Belliard at third base in the eighth.

Following a one-out double by Prince Fielder, Belliard snagged a hard liner off the bat of Casey McGehee and fired quickly to second base, doubling off Fielder and ending the inning.

“Heck of a play. So quick,” Torre said. “It’s not easy catching a ball and then getting rid of it, but to throw over the runner too, that was a huge play in that inning.”

The Dodgers had fallen behind just an inning before Barajas’ home run on a two-out solo home run off the bat of Rickie Weeks, which was followed by an Alcides Escobar single and Ryan Braun’s RBI double into the corner in left field.

Those two runs put the Brewers on top after the Dodgers had taken an early 2-0 lead.

In the second, the Dodgers’ other two runs came on another homer, as center fielder Matt Kemp belted a ball off the scoreboard in center field, measuring an estimated 447 feet.

Kemp and Barajas continued the Dodgers’ recent power surge, which has seen the club smack seven home runs in the last three games while scoring 15 runs on 30 hits.

Before this current stretch, the Dodgers had scored 17 runs in the previous eight games.

“Hopefully we can build on something,” Torre said. “We keep threatening to, we just need to do that. We need to win a handful of games. But you can only do it one game at a time.”

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brewers recap 4/24

April 26, 2010 Comments off

Brewers’ bats silent once more vs. Cubs

By Jordan Schelling