Ted Lilly makes his first start of the season this evening when the red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers continue a three-game set with the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium.
Lilly started the year on the disabled list because of neck stiffness. His only rehab start wasn't too encouraging, though, as the left-hander allowed seven runs in six innings.
"It has been a long week, not being able to be out there with the guys," Lilly said. "Everyone wants to get out there, and I am happy I finally am.
"As far as health goes, I really don't have anything that is keeping me from going out there and doing my job. My neck feels really good."
The 36-year-old hurler, who is 10-4 lifetime versus the Padres, was a disappointment for the Dodgers last season, going 12-14 with a 3.97 ERA. However, he was better in the second half of last year, pitching to a 2.94 ERA after the break compared to his 4.79 first half ERA.
The Dodgers continued their incredible start to the season on Friday, as Aaron Harang set a Los Angeles record with nine consecutive strikeouts, one shy of the major league mark, and four consecutive Dodgers walked with two outs in the ninth inning to salvage a 9-8 win.
"It's pretty cool to set the record when you consider all the history of the Dodger organization," Harang said.
Harang finished with a career-high 13 strikeouts while allowing four runs on four hits over 6 1/3 innings, but did not factor in the decision, because Kenley Jansen (2-0) blew his first save of the season by serving up a two-run homer to Chase Headley in the top of the ninth.
But Jansen recorded the win, as Mark Ellis, Matt Kemp, James Loney and Andre Ethier were all issued free passes in the home half after Andrew Cashner (0-1) retired Dee Gordon and Tony Gwynn.
"[Cashner] couldn't get in the zone," said Padres manager Bud Black. "After getting the first two outs, it didn't happen for him."
The Dodgers, who won their fourth in a row and are now 7-1 on the season, also tied a franchise record with 18 strikeouts in a nine-inning game. It is the team's best start since opening up their 1981 championship season 9-1.
Getting the call for San Diego tonight will be 22-year-old righty Joe Wieland, who will be making his major league debut. Wieland's callup after two starts at Triple-A Tucson was necessary with starters Tim Stauffer and Dustin Moseley already having been placed on the disabled list.
Wieland, one of the more well regarded Padres prospects, had been 0-1 for Tucson with a 3.52 ERA in 7 2/3 innings. He also had two walks and 11 strikeouts in that stretch.
The Dodgers have won 14 of their past 17 versus the Padres.