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Lilly's hard-luck season continues

Once again Cubs lefty Ted Lilly pitched well enough to win, and, once again, he came away with nothing to show for his efforts.

Seven innings of one-run baseball was good enough for Lilly to exit the game with the score tied in a game the Cubs lost 4-3 in extra innings to the Astros. The Cubs have now scored less than 2.5 runs per a game in Lilly’s 2010 starts.

Being the team player that he is, Lilly refused to complain about the lack of run production in his starts.

Lilly was asked if he thought he had to throw a shutout to be able to win the game.

"It’s not so much that, but I like to compete,” Lilly said. “I enjoy those close games. It’s a good opportunity to be in those situations and to be the guy that comes through.”

Unfortunately for Lilly, he has only three wins on the season -- in spite of his 3.88 ERA. According to major league sources, Detroit, Minnesota and the Yankees all continue to express interest in Lilly. The nonwaiver trade deadline is just nine days away.

Lilly was asked if he focused on the fact that this might be his last start as a Cub.

“No, I’m not into that,” Lilly said. “I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it now. I have my hands full just trying to win games.”

Would Lilly like to pitch for a contender?

“Definitely,” Lilly said. “First and foremost you’d like to like to do it [in Chicago]. It’s going to be tough. There’s a lot of speculation and rumors thrown out there. It’s been my experience that [rumors] don’t necessarily mean something is going to happen.”

Lilly, a free agent after the 2010 season, is owed close to $5 million on his contract for the remainder of this campaign. The Cubs would love to do their version of the NBA sign-and-trade in reverse fashion. They would love to trade Lilly to a contender for prospects and then re-sign him as a free agent in November.

Notes

  • The Texas Rangers had some interest in Cubs utility man Xavier Nady. However, Nady hasn’t played much. Couple that with the fact that Texas has financial constraints, and a deal is unlikely to happen. According to baseball sources, the Rangers have little money left to spend on possible acquisitions.

  • Derrek Lee extended his modest hitting streak to five games on Wednesday. He’s hitting .455 in that span.