Late-game shenanigans ruin Lilly’s return

I guess I’m glad I didn’t stay up for the entirety of last night’s Cubs-Padres pitching duel.  That would have made for an angry bedtime. 

Ted Lilly came through for a classic of a “first-game-back” performance that’s for sure.  After a month on the shelf, he almost pitched TOO well.  It crossed my mind that I’m sure they would want to be careful with him on his first day back on the job.  As much as a traditionalist that I am,  it would have been easier to pull Lilly had he given up a run.  The Cubs didn’t have that problem though, taking Lilly out after 70 pitches and six innings. 

They were pretty decent six innings at that.  Lilly was helped by good defense most notably two 4-6-3 DPs.  He spread out 4 hits and allowed no runs. 

Lillly’s return would have been a great feel good story had it not been for the nasty combination of San Diego RF Kyle Blanks and Cubs “closer” Kevin Gregg.  Blanks’ walk-off homer won it for the Padres and now has the Cubs wondering about the state of their bullpen.  In the space of 2/3 of an inning, Gregg gave up all 4 runs to the Pads.

And with that inning, Gregg has most likely lost his job as the Cubs’ closer

However, it would be easy and tempting to place all blame at the door of Kevin Gregg for last night’s loss.  But let’s face it.  We can’t expect Ted Lilly (let alone the bullpen) to pitch a shutout.  While the Cubs were winning 1-0 going into bottom of eighth, a little offense isn’t a lot to ask. 

As we saw with the series with the Phillies, it’s a question of timing.

With the Cubs’ bullpen in dire straits, Bleed Cubbie Blue wonders if we should sign John Smoltz who was DFAed by the Red Sox.  Yes?  No?  I’m willing to try anything at this point. 

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