After Ted Lilly allowed Padres lead-off man Scott Hairston to launch a pitch over the leftfield wall last night, it looked like the Cubs might be destined for yet another comeback win in which the starting pitcher was, at best, a benign influence in the final result.
But as you probably know by now, Lilly kept San Diego off the scoreboard until the eighth inning, when he served up a leadoff double to Brian Giles and one out later, after Lilly had parted in favor of Carlos Marmol, Giles scored on a sacrifice fly, a run that proved the difference in the Padres' 2-1 win.
The winning streak ended and so, too, did another streak: the Cubs had gone six games previous to Wednesday without getting a Quality Start (at least 6 IP with 3 runs or fewer allowed).
Needless to say, it's victories and not Quality Starts that cause teams to be crowned division champions, pennant winners, and World Series champs. Given the strain that has been borne by the Cub bullpen, however, even through the recent winning streak, it's easy to foresee at least one of Wood, Marmol, or Howry breaking down if the starters don't start delivering as Ted Lilly did, though in defeat, Wednesday night.