The Dodgers rallied for four runs in the second inning, and Dodgers pitchers allowed 10 baserunners but no runs in defeating the Chicago Cubs 5-0 in front of a season-high crowd of 10,380 at Camelback Ranch on Sunday.
Ted Lilly's second spring start was much better than his first, in which he allowed a pair of home runs and five runs in two innings. For Sunday's start, Lilly said he approached it like a regular season start, and that he was able to use his fastball, curve, and changeup effectively. He said his slider was ineffective and he didn't throw it too often today.
Lilly came into this season with a plan, and it was one of preparation. All to avoid the kind of start he had last year, which extended into a 5.02 ERA at the end of August.
"I take pride in answering the bell every five days, but I also want to be more effective coming out of the gate. I put us in some tough spots early in the year," Lilly said. "For any starting pitcher it sucks when you put your club in that position and you ask your bullpen to pick up so many innings and your offense to play from behind."
Lilly also during the season had a neck injury in midseason that caused him to skip some bullpen sessions in between starts, but he recovered to put up a 2.09 ERA over his final 11 starts with 64 strikeouts in 69 innings.
Lilly said he threw more often off a mound this winter on his own, but that he also threw at a lighter intensity, to sharpen his mechanics. The extra preparation will help him he thinks, and is similar to three years ago.
"I don't want to come to spring and be so far behind, and I've done that the last few years," Lilly said. "In '09 when I started to prepare quite a bit earlier because of the World Baseball Classic, I was sharper."
In 2009 with the Cubs, Lilly set career highs in ERA (3.10), walk rate (1.8 per nine innings), home run rate (1.1 per nine innings), and strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.19), making the All-Star team for the second time.
The Dodgers on Monday afternoon head to Tempe to battle the team from Anaheim. Aaron Harang starts for the Dodgers, against Jered Weaver and the Angels. The game will be televised by Fox Sports West (Angels broadcast).
Chris Withrow, WIl Ledezma, Angel Guzman, and Scott Rice are also scheduled to pitch Monday for the Dodgers.
Home Runs: none
WP - Ted Lilly (1-1): 3 IP, 1 hit, 1 walk
LP - Matt Garza (1-1): 1 1/3, 3 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, 1 strikeout