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Dodgers Right To Expect A Quality Effort From Lilly

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The Dodgers send their hottest pitcher to the mound in the opener in Milwaukee tonight, as Ted Lilly goes for his fifth win in as many starts. Lilly's last few starts with Chicago were good as well, but he didn't have any wins to show for them. Over his last seven starts, Lilly has a 1.50 ERA with 50 strikeouts against just nine walks in 48 innings. He pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings in his final start as a Cub on July 27; had he recorded one more out he would have a streak of seven straight quality starts. On the season, Lilly has 16 quality starts in 22 efforts, the highest percentage on the current Dodger staff:

Pitcher Starts Quality QS%
Lilly* 22 16 72.7%
Kershaw 26 18 69.2%
Kuroda 24 16 66.7%
Padilla 15 9 60.0%
Ely 14 8 57.1%
Billingsley 24 13 54.2%
Monasterios 9 1 11.1%
*Lilly is 4/4 (100%) with LA

Lilly's quality start percentage is 13th in the National League this season.

The Brewers have a couple of things working against them tonight. One is that Dave Bush has been alternating good and bad starts of late, giving up 10 runs, then three, six, three, seven, and one run in his last six starts. If the trend continues, Bush should give up a boatload of runs tonight. Over those six starts, Bush has given up a total of 30 runs in 32 1/3 innings, but thanks to seven unearned runs Bush's ERA is only 6.40 during that span.

The other anti-Brewer sentiment tonight is that the team is unveiling a statue of the commissioner and former Milwaukee owner Bud Selig (and sometimes both, at the same time!) before the game tonight. There will be three statues in front of Milwaukee's Miller Park: Hank Aaron, Robin Yount, and Bud Selig. One of these things is not like the others. Surely there is some karmic price to pay for this.

LA Dodger Backstops

When Rod Barajas catches his first game for the Dodgers, he will be the 70th LA Dodger to catch a game. That number seemed absurdly low to me, that the Dodgers have used so few catchers in their 53 years in Los Angeles. It turns out that the number of catchers used by the Dodgers is low. Of all the franchises that existed in 1958, only the Twins have used fewer catchers:

Catchers Used 1958-2010
Team Catchers Used
Senators/Twins 67
Dodgers 69
Reds 70
Yankees 73
Braves 75
Pirates 75
Indians 79
A's 79
Phillies 83
Giants 86
Red Sox 86
White Sox 87
Cardinals 89
Orioles 91
Tigers 92
Cubs 97

Even six of the eight expansion teams added in the 1960s have used more catchers than the Dodgers, with only a pair of franchises born in 1969 using fewer: the Royals (64) and the Pilots/Brewers (65).

The backstop stalwarts for the LA Dodgers were Mike Scioscia (1,394 games), John Roseboro (1,199), and Steve Yeager (1,181), and the cup of coffee guys were Einar Diaz, Gil Hodges, Trent "Trenidad" Hubbard, Lee Walls, and Rick Wilkins, who caught one game apiece.


Over on SB Nation Los Angeles, I made the case why Manny Ramirez should be dealt before next Tuesday.


Get your guesses in for Xeifrank's game simulation here.

Game Time: 5:10 p.m.


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