To err is human, but to balk for two straight nights is almost unheard of. Especially the way Ted Lilly got charged with one in the seventh inning Wednesday night.
After a leadoff walk to Michael Barrett in a one-run game, Lilly threw to first baseman Derrek Lee, who was cheating in off the bag, anticipating a bunt from pitcher Greg Maddux.
Lee said the umpire told him there has to be a possible play at the bag for the throw over to be legal. Lilly said he’s done that a lot in his career but that’s the first time he’s been called on the rule.
``That’s the first time I’ve ever seen that play called,’’ said manager Lou Piniella, who went to first base umpire Brian Knight for the explanation. ``He said there’s no play on the runner. That’s the ruling. I wasn’t aware of the rule.
``But these umpires can conjure some up sometimes,’’ he added, laughing. ``And I’ve got to believe them because they know the rule book a heck of a lot better than I.’’
The play didn’t cost the Cubs, as Lilly pitched out of the jam.
But Piniella said he’ll address the situation Thursday in Los Angeles. ``We’re going to have to come up with a signal to the first baseman when he’s going over there, so he knows,’’ Piniella said.