Cubs-Dodgers Preview

Andre Ethier still has plenty of work to do to equal Joe

DiMaggio’s hitting streak, but he’s approaching the Los Angeles

Dodgers’ record.

Ethier looks to become the first player in two years to compile

a 30-game hitting streak and pull within one of the club record

when the Los Angeles Dodgers face the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday in

the finale of a three-game series at Chavez Ravine.

Ethier has a hit in all but one game this season, an 0-for-4

effort in a 4-3 win over San Francisco on April 1. Since then, he

has a .387 average with 10 doubles, three homers and 17 RBIs during

a 29-game hitting streak, which he extended with a single in

Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to Chicago (13-16).

The run is still a far cry from DiMaggio’s record 56-game

hitting streak, but Ethier is now only two back of Willie Davis’

franchise-record 31-game streak from 1969.

Pulling within one of that mark would make Ethier the first

player since Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman in 2009 to put together a

30-game hitting streak.

Ethier is 12 for 32 during an eight-game hitting streak against

the Cubs, and 7 for 16 versus scheduled Chicago starter Carlos

Zambrano.

“He’s one of the premiere players in the game, and he’s only

getting better,” Dodgers second baseman Aaron Miles said. “His

confidence level is as high as it can be. He knows all the pitchers

in the league well now, so he’s got knowledge of them. So he’s got

that library of knowledge to fall back on, and how guys are going

to try to attack him.”

The Dodgers (15-16) are giving Ted Lilly (2-2, 4.45) his second

career start against Chicago.

A member of the Cubs from 2007-10, Lilly’s first game against

them was a 10-8 loss April 23, when he gave up five runs and 11

hits in 4 1-3 innings.

The left-hander bounced back with a strong outing Friday,

yielding one run and five hits in six innings of a 3-2 victory over

San Diego.

Lilly is 6-2 with a 2.23 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 60 2-3 innings

over nine starts at Dodger Stadium since being acquired in a trade

from Chicago in July.

He’s also won his last two home games while allowing one run in

13 innings.

The Cubs are looking to win consecutive games at Los Angeles for

the first time since a five-game winning streak from 2004-06.

Zambrano (3-1, 4.91), meanwhile, aims to win his second

consecutive start. The right-hander allowed two runs and four hits

in six innings of a 4-2 victory at Arizona on Friday.

Zambrano appears to have regained the confidence he lost after

being moved in and out of the Cubs rotation throughout 2010.

“I’m able to command my pitches,” Zambrano told the team’s

official website. “Even if I walk somebody, I just get the next

guy. For me the key is to throw a strike. I just believe in the

stuff that I have and that’s it.”

He’s 0-4 with a 7.42 ERA over his last five starts against Los

Angeles, including a loss in Game 2 of a 2008 NL division

series.

Zambrano’s trouble with the Dodgers continued April 24, when he

was tagged for six runs and eight hits in five innings of a 7-3

home defeat.