Ted Lilly is off to the best start of his 14-year career, and that's one reason why the Los Angeles Dodgers own the best record in baseball.
Lilly looks to continue his dazzling stretch by extending his winning streak over the Colorado Rockies as the Dodgers go for a sweep of this three-game set Sunday at Chavez Ravine.
Lilly (4-0, 1.41 ERA) hasn't lost since Sept. 12 against Arizona, going 7-0 with a 1.03 ERA in his past eight starts, including a 3-0 record and 1.00 ERA in four at home.
His overall streak has turned into his best start since entering the majors in 1999 with the Montreal Expos.
"That's very surprising, because I know he's had some great years in some different places," center fielder Matt Kemp said. "He's pitching really well right now. He's doing a real good job of keeping hitters off-balance and making his pitches when he needs to, so we're just trying to get him as many runs as we can."
Lilly hasn't needed much since he's allowed one or no runs in four of his five starts. That success hasn't come as a surprise to manager Don Mattingly.
"Lilly just seemed sharper coming into spring and it really has shown so far this season," Mattingly told the team's official website.
It showed again Monday, when he yielded one run and four hits with a season-high six strikeouts in six innings of a 9-1 win over San Francisco.
"I was able to get the changeup over for strikes when I needed to, and that really was the difference," Lilly said.
Lilly's dominant stretch may continue versus the Rockies (13-19), losers of seven of eight. He's 9-2 with a 3.77 ERA in 13 career starts against them, going 5-0 with a 2.39 ERA in the last six.
He beat Colorado again May 1, giving up two runs and four hits in six innings of a 7-6 road victory.
Another strong effort from Lilly could give Los Angeles (22-11) its first home sweep of the Rockies since April 17-19, 2009. The Dodgers won 2-1 on Saturday behind two hits and a run from Andre Ethier, a day after he had three hits - including a homer - in a series-opening 7-3 victory.
The right fielder is 10 for 19 with five extra-base hits in his last five games. His five hits in this series have boosted his average to .440 with two homers in his past seven meetings with the Rockies.
Colorado has hit .222 while scoring three runs or fewer five times in its last six games, and some production from Carlos Gonzalez would surely help. The left fielder is 5 for 23 with two doubles and one RBI in that stretch, going 1 for 7 with a pair of strikeouts in this series.
He had a 15-game hitting streak against them - during which he hit .492 (30 for 61) with six homers and 19 RBIs - come to an end with an 0-for-3 performance Saturday.
Perhaps he'll bounce back against Lilly. He's 7 for 17 with five homers against the lefty.
Alex White wouldn't mind some of that production as he takes the mound for the second time this season. The right-hander was solid through 6 1-3 innings Tuesday, allowing two runs and six hits in a 3-1 loss at San Diego hours after being recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs.
White, who made 10 starts last season between Cleveland and Colorado, is facing the Dodgers for the first time.