Casey Blake accuses Ted Lilly of cheating

Following the Cubs’ 1-0 blanking of the Dodgers on Thursday at Wrigley Field, L.A. third baseman Casey Blake accused Chicago starter Ted Lilly of cheating, stating that the pitcher should have been punished for starting his windup on some pitches from in front of the rubber.

From the L.A. Times:

“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.”

“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.

Lilly makes several good points. If a pitcher starts his windup from in front of the rubber, then he loses the leverage and momentum he gains from pushing off the slab. I don’t see why a pitcher would intentionally pitch in front of the rubber unless he’s trying to mix up the speed of his pitches in order to fool a hitter.

Lilly is also right about the hitters re-creating the dimensions of the batter’s box by scraping off the back line. That allows hitters to see pitches for an extra half second, which could make a huge difference, yet they’re never punished for that. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but why are some rules enforced and some aren’t? Rules should be always enforced or the league should evolve and adjust them.

Lilly didn’t come right out and say that he didn’t pitch in front of the rubber on some occasions, so obviously Blake was right in what he saw. But I’m a little surprised that Blake threw such a tantrum over it and went as far as to call Lilly out for being a cheater. I wonder how much tissue paper the Dodgers had to use in the clubhouse after Blake was done crying. The poor clubhouse attendant probably needed a mop afterward.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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