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Happy Birthday Ted Lilly and Kevin Pillar

St. Louis Cardinals vs Toronto Blue Jays - June 15, 2005 Photo by Jay Gula/Getty Images

Ted Lilly turns 46 today.

Ted had a 15-year career, 3 of them with the Blue Jays. He came to the Jays in trade for Bobby Kielty from the A’s. As a Jay, Lilly went 37-34, with a 4.52 ERA in 89 games and a bWAR of 6.0. I think we won the trade.

Ted’s first year with the team, 2004, he went 12-10 with a 4.06 ERA in 32 starts and made the AL All-Star team. 2006 didn’t go quite as well, 10-11 with a 5.56 ERA in 25 starts, and just 126.1 innings. 2006 was back to his norm, 15-13 with a 4.31 ERA in 32 starts, 181.2 innings.

The moment that everyone remembers is his ‘fight’ with John Gibbons. August 21, 2006, after 2.1 innings and 7 earned runs, Gibby figured that Lilly had been out there long enough. Managers are funny that way, you give up 7 runs in a couple of innings, and they think you should come out of the game. Our 8-0 lead turned into a 1-run game in a hurry (we ended up losing 12-10

On the other hand, Ted figured he was just getting warmed up. Lilly had some words for his manager, first on the mound, and then had some more words when they got back to the dugout and still more words in the tunnel to the clubhouse. A moment later, trainer George Poulis and several team members rushed down the tunnel to break up a fight.

To be fair to Ted, he was having a bad day, so he wouldn’t have been in a good mood and was likely ready to yell at anyone. It just happened Gibby was there. I think these things talked about too much. I bet it happens more than we think, but this one happened in front of the camera.

Here is a video of Gibby and Lilly after:

Lilly had a pretty good career, 130-113 with a 4.14 ERA in 356 games, 331 starts in 13 seasons.

Happy birthday Ted.

Kevin Pillar turns 33 today.

Kevin is one of my favourite streak hitters ever. Kevin hit like eitherMike Trout (without the walks) or Mario Mendoza, and there was never an in-between. If he could have found a middle ground, maybe keep the hot steaks, but find a way to mitigate the downtimes. Possibly be Mike Trout some days and Dexter Fowler the rest of the time.

The one consistent thing was his defense. He had no regard for his body. He never worried about the score. Close game or blow out, he would run through walls or throw himself into the ground.

Anyway, he was with the Blue Jays for six seasons, plus about a week. He came up in mid-August of 2013 (Melky Cabrera went down with a knee injury). In 2014, he was called up mid-May but got banished back to the minors when he got angry when John Gibbons decided to pinch-hit for him on June 24. One would imagine that a guy hitting .225/.220/.300 (you know things aren’t going well when your OBP is lower than your BA) wouldn’t have been surprised when a pinch hitter came in. But, of course, it was Anthony Gose coming in to pinch hit for you that would make you seriously question if baseball was really or you.

He was back up at the end of August, with a better attitude (at least outwardly) and a better bat. He hit .289/.333/.447 the rest of the way.

In 2015, he started the season as the left fielder, beside rookie center fielder Dalton Pompey. They had switched spots by the end of the month, and Dalton, hitting .203/.276/.354 and taking his batting troubles into the outfield with him, had played his way back to Buffalo. On the other hand, Pillar hit .272/.309/.380 in April and played some of the best outfield defense we had seen since Devon White. Unfortunately, may didn’t go as well. He hit .225/.250/.351. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if Kevin hit like that in April and Dalton had been ok.

Pillar kept the CF job until April 2 of 2019, when he was traded to the Giant for three guys, the best of which turned out to be Derek Law (which shows how that trade went).

As a Jay, Kevin hit .260/.297/.396 in 695 games with 82 home runs and an OPS+ of 86. But, with his defence, he ended up with an 8.2 bWAR.

Since the trade, Kevin has played for the Giants, Red Sox, Rockies and Mets.

Career, he has a .260/.297/.409 line with 97 home runs in 9 seasons and 1029. His defense isn’t what it was, though he can still make the highlight-reel catches, but the power is nice to see.

He is a free agent at the moment.

Happy Birthday, Kevin. I hope it is a good one.

It is also Chris Michalak birthday. He is 51.

Michalak had a four-year MLB career, half of one of those seasons was with the Jays. He pitched in 24 games, making 18 starts, before being lost on waivers to the Rangers. He had a 6-7 record and a 4.62 ERA with 57 strikeouts and 49 walks in 115.0 innings.

Career, he was 10-15 with a 4.70 ERA in 61 games 24 starts.

I’m sorry to say I don’t remember anything about Chris other than he was left-handed.

Happy Birthday Chris.