The Chicago Cubs just took two of three from the Los Angeles Dodgers on the strength of two dominant pitching performances from Ryan Dempster and Ted Lilly. The latter pitcher’s performance, according to Dodger third baseman Casey Blake, was enhanced by some old fashioned cheatin’.
“I know he doesn’t have an overpowering fastball,” Blake said. “I know he’s trying to get as much of an edge as he can. But he moved in.
“That’s cheating. You’ve got to stay on the rubber.”
Lilly did not hesitate to fire back.
“Sometimes a batter will get in the box and he’ll step out, and behind the box, and on the lines,” Lilly said. “I don’t think he’s trying to cheat. It might not be intentional.”
By pitching from in front of the rubber, Lilly said, a pitcher would lose the leverage of pushing off the rubber. Any such deliveries were strictly inadvertent, he said.
“I might have done it a couple times, just trying to gain my footing,” he said. Chicago Breaking Sports.
It seems to me that Lilly would have to move in from the rubber *significantly* in order for any benefit he got from the move to offset the inability to push off the rubber. A couple inches closer to the plate? Sure, that’s an advantage. Having no leverage off of which to drive your back foot? Surely that’s going to hurt you.
To the extent Lilly was doing it on purpose, this falls somewhere on the a little extra pine tar end of the spectrum rather than the doctoring baseballs end of the spectrum.
Either way, one thing is certain: when the Cubs face the Dodgers again this year, the second week of July, they’ll remember the assertiveness of Blake’s allegations.