"Does your glove smell as great as mine does?"
Most of the 30/30 talk regarding the Dodgers last season centered around Matt Kemp, but Ted Lilly seemed like a lock to become the first Dodgers pitcher ever to allow 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in one season. It is something that has only been done 18 times in major league history, with Gavin Floyd the last to do it in 2008 for the Chicago White Sox.
On August 26, 2011 at Dodger Stadium, Lilly allowed a home run to Carlos Gonzalez to the back part of the bullpen in the first inning to give the Colorado Rockies a 1-0 lead. That was the 28th home run allowed by Lilly on the season, to go with the 27 steals allowed (he would allow two stolen bases that night, and ended up allowing 35 steals on the season).
Kemp joined the 30/30 club later that night with his 30th home run, but then something strange happened.
Lilly stopped giving up home runs.
He pitched six more innings that night without allowing a run, and since then has still not allowed a long ball. Lilly has gone eight full starts and 55 2/3 innings without allowing a home run. It is easily the longest streak of Lilly's career without allowing a home run, surpassing a five-start, 33-inning stretch back in 2001 while with the New York Yankees.
Since the home run, Lilly's ERA is 1.46 with 47 strikeouts in those 55 2/3 innings, with a 7-1 record. But what is bizarre is that during that same span Lilly has walked 23 batters, an average of 3.71 per nine innings. That's not necessarily bad, but Lilly went his first 37 starts as a Dodger without walking more than two batters. But in his last 10 starts, he has walked three or more batters five times, including six in his last start Saturday in Houston.
Lilly goes for his third win in three starts tonight against the Braves, weather permitting.
Brandon Beachy, tonight's starter for Atlanta, has a streak of his own of six starts and 39 innings without allowing a home run. Beachy's ERA is 0.47 this season, while Lilly's is 0.69.
Beachy is from Kokomo, Indiana. If the Dodgers don't find a way to tie this in to The Beach Boys, with whom the club has partnered this season in a season-long celebration of the 50th anniversaries of both the group and Dodger Stadium, well, God Only Knows why it wouldn't happen.
Game Time: 7:10 p.m.