Game Thirty-Eight – Cubs 4 Yankees 7
WP – Chien-Ming Wang (1-2) LP – Ted Lilly (1-2) Save – Jonathan Albaladejo (2)
The weather held off on Friday night at new Yankee Stadium…too bad Ted Lilly could not keep the ball in the park. The Cubs took an early lead thanks to a sacrifice fly in the first by Derrek Lee that plated Aaron Miles, who recorded the first base hit in the new Stadium. Miles came through again in the second with a 2-out, two-run double that gave Ted Lilly and the Cubs a 3-0 lead.
Robinson Cano knocked the first of three hard hit home runs off of Ted Lilly. Cano cut the Cubs lead to 3-2 with a two-run dinger to right center in the second. Hideki Matsui gave the Yankees a brief 4-3 lead with a two-run homer off Lilly in the fourth…the ball hit the foul pole down the right field line and took a little yellow paint with it. Cody Ransom hit the exclamation point off Lilly in the fifth, a three-run shot that broke a 4-4 tie. Ransom’s home hit the left field foul pole.
Ted Lilly served up multiple home runs for his second consecutive spring start. His line on Friday night…seven runs on eight hits with a walk and two strikeouts in four innings.
Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez were in the original lineup but were late scratches due to the poor weather and wet field. Lou Piniella said there was no reason to risk injury to either of the players.
The Cubs offense was solid early on without two of their big bats, but could not buy a hit or a walk in the later innings…especially after Lou Piniella emptied his bench. Yankees’ pitchers retired the last 14 they faced on Friday night.
Aaron Miles and Joey Gathright fueled the offense and Reed Johnson tripled and scored the tying run in the fourth.
After the third home run served up by Ted Lilly, the remainder of the team seemed to just be going through the motions enjoying the atmosphere at the new state-of-the-art Yankee Stadium. While Friday night in the Bronx was ‘still just Spring Training‘, Ted Lilly’s performance was very concerning. Lilly has surrendered five home runs in his last 10+ innings…and this from a man who allowed 32 home runs in 34 starts a year ago. Lilly promised a better start to the season during the convention in January.
Lilly was 1-4 in April last year with a 6.46 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP before turning his season around and posting a career-high 17 wins. Lilly received a lot of run support last year and should once again this season, but…
Ted Lilly must keep the ball down and he has only done that in one of his starts this spring (February 27 in Surprise) and that was only for two innings.
Aaron Miles and Joey Gathright showed what they are capable of Friday night. Miles grinded out a couple of bats as well as scoring a run and driving in a pair. Joey Gathright’s speed and ability to play all three outfield spots could be a valuable addition…especially if he can perform close to the way he did on Friday night.
The Cubs will suit up for their last ‘meaningless‘ game of the year on Saturday afternoon. First pitch at the new Yankee Stadium is set for 12:05pm C.T. with Rich Harden slated to face A.J. Burnett.