Series Tale of the Tape
Ted Lilly – is looking forward to getting off to a better start in the second half. The lefty did win nine games, but in his last outing July 10 against the Reds, he was pulled after 2 2/3 innings. It was his shortest start of the season. Lilly gave up four runs on six hits, including two home runs, in the loss. He was 7-4 in the second half last year.
Lilly is that rare pitcher who can throw with control and power and all with his left arm. Can pitch well late into his starts and is rough on left-handed hitters.
In general, Lilly has very good stuff but when he gets hit, he gets hit hard, mostly because he offers too many pitches up in the zone that hitters can drive. Also has trouble with right-handed hitters.
Decent mid-rotation lefty.
Brian Moehler – ended his first half on a positive note, allowing four runs over six innings in a win over the Pirates. The right-hander allowed one run over three consecutive starts before yielding five to the Braves on July 4. Moehler faced the Cubs once this year, taking a loss after yielding three runs over five innings. Lifetime vs. the Cubs, Moehler is 1-1 with a 4.18 ERA over seven games (four starts).
- Has a wealth of experience and be used in a wide variety of roles. Doesn’t get fazed whenever batters start getting the better of him.
- Has trouble harnessing his pitches, and doesn’t have the stuff to blow hitters away. Is no longer reliable in pressure situations.
- A long reliever.
Carlos Zambrano – The All-Star right-hander will try to pick up where he left off in the second half. Zambrano held the Reds to one hit over eight innings in his last start prior to the break. Big Z was limited to 100-105 pitches in that game because it was his second start after being on the disabled list with a strained right shoulder. In his two starts since coming off the DL, he’s given up one run on five hits over 14 innings. This was the second straight first half in which Zambrano won 10 games. Let’s see if he can match that in the second half.
- He can throw big heat from two different angles and has hit 99 on the gun. His slider can be a great out pitch and he has remarkable endurance.
- Command is his one consistent flaw, but he can be effectively wild. Throwing from different angles gets him into trouble when his mechanics aren’t right.
- A legitimate frontline starter.
Wandy Rodriguez – has a 3-4 record and a 4.50 ERA over eight career games vs. the Cubs. He allowed eight hits over 5 1/3 innings against the Nationals on July 12, getting a win despite four earned runs.
- When he’s on, he keeps his good fastball low in the zone and induces ground balls, while setting the heat up with a solid change and good breaking stuff.
- Command can be a problem at times. Must work on his approach with runners on, as well as his endurance beyond the sixth inning.
- A quality mid-rotation starter.
Ryan Dempster – ended the first half on a sour note, suffering his first loss at Wrigley Field in 12 starts. The right-hander gave up four runs, seven hits and three walks over 6 2/3 innings in the outing. It’s the second time in his dozen starts at home that he’s given up four runs. Dempster faced the Astros once this season, May 20, and took the loss.
- His slider devastates both righties and lefties and he smokes a sinking fastball past hitters at 92-94 mph. He has a deceptive delivery that helps both when going to the plate and keeping runners honest.
- Sometimes his abundant energy gets in the way; he’ll find himself too pumped up early on and get knocked around a bit. He has some problems with his command and gets in homer trouble when he leaves his fastball dangling up in the zone.
- Quality starter and/or reliever.
Brandon Backe – had one of his best outings of the season against the Nationals on July 13, shutting Washington out through seven frames on five hits. His previous start against the Pirates lasted only three innings thanks to a nearly three-hour rain delay — he allowed no runs on three hits. He’s 4-2 all-time against Pittsburgh with a 3.09 ERA.
- His stuff, particularly his great curveball, can be nasty against right-handed hitters. Can work himself out of tight spots with aplomb.
- Injuries have constantly plagued his career. Left-handed hitters hammer him on occasion. As a starter, stamina has often been an issue.
- A mid-rotation starter when healthy.
Scouting Reports provided by MLB.com and TSN.ca