He may not need much help to beat the San Diego Padres.
Lilly tries to close out a strong August by lifting the Dodgers to an eighth win in nine games Wednesday afternoon against the Padres, who have totaled nine runs during a six-game losing streak.
Lilly (8-13, 4.43 ERA) posted a 5.02 ERA during a dreadful first four months, but he’s been an entirely different pitcher in August.
The left-hander made three quality starts in four outings this month heading into Friday’s game against Colorado, but he was 0-3 as he’d received no runs of support in any of those losses.
He appeared to be headed for another defeat Friday against the Rockies, as the Dodgers (64-70) trailed 1-0 heading into the late innings. However, Matt Kemp(notes) and James Loney(notes) homered as part of a six-run seventh, lifting Los Angeles to a 6-1 victory as Lilly lowered his August ERA to 2.20.
“I felt great. No excuses today,” said Lilly, who received acupuncture to ease a stiff neck earlier in the week. “I got away with a few more mistakes, pitches they didn’t hit hard.”
One big inning was all the Dodgers needed Tuesday to beat the Padres (60-76). San Diego starter Tim Stauffer(notes) walked six batters in the second before exiting, setting the stage for Andre Ethier’s(notes) grand slam that was one of only two hits in Los Angeles’ wild eight-run inning en route to an 8-5 victory.
Ethier is 8 for 15 through the first five games of the Dodgers’ homestand, and 6 for 8 since Sunday’s comments that he didn’t want to finish the season because of a sore right knee.
“When we got him going, we’re a dangerous team,” Kemp said. “Hopefully we can take this into September and see where we stand.”
Though the Padres wound up scoring five runs - one more than the total from their previous five losses - they’re still hitting just .204, and .079 with runners in scoring position, during their skid.
Lilly certainly has the chops to keep San Diego’s offensive woes going. He’s 2-1 with a 2.11 ERA in four starts against the Padres in 2011.
Wade LeBlanc(notes) (2-3, 5.02) will try to keep San Diego close, but to do that he’ll almost certainly need to be better than he was Friday at Arizona. The lefty gave up four first-inning runs and another in the second before settling down and making it through the fourth inning of a 5-0 loss.
Four of those runs were earned, but he wasn’t exactly helped by a defense that committed three errors in the first two innings.
“I don’t know if I’ve seen an inning go like that,” LeBlanc told the Padres’ official website. “I put us in a hole. There wasn’t a lot hit hard in that first inning. But they put them where they needed to.”
LeBlanc is 1-4 with a 5.06 ERA in six starts versus Los Angeles, with Ethier - 5 for 13 with three doubles and two walks - hurting him the most.
Kemp and Loney, meanwhile, are a combined 1 for 18 against LeBlanc.
The Dodgers depart for a season-high 11-game road trip after this contest, with Thursday’s makeup game in Pittsburgh the first stop before they head to NL wild card-leading Atlanta.