Dodgers-Cubs Preview

During his three-plus seasons in Chicago, Ted Lilly had more

wins than any Cubs pitcher and the second-most at Wrigley


In his next game at Wrigley on Saturday, Lilly will face his

former team for the first time and try to lead the Los Angeles

Dodgers to their sixth victory in seven games.

After signing with the Cubs before the 2007 season, Lilly was a

member of two NL Central Division-winning clubs and compiled 47

victories – three more than Carlos Zambrano – before being traded

to Los Angeles on July 31.

Lilly had 26 of those wins at Wrigley, one fewer than Saturday’s

scheduled starter for the Cubs, right-hander Ryan Dempster.

“I love the thought of facing them, to pitch against my

ex-teammates,” Lilly told the Cubs’ official website. “I’m pretty

sure they are all itching to get in the box and hit one back at my


After a rough start to this season, Lilly (1-2, 4.09 ERA) is

hoping to build on his performance in a 4-2 win over Atlanta on

Monday. The left-hander didn’t allow a runner past second base

while giving up four hits over seven innings.

“I was able to locate my fastball. For me, that’s the key to all

my other pitches being effective,” said Lilly, who had a 6.00 ERA

in his first three starts.

“Since the San Francisco game (a 4-3 loss April 13), I’ve made

some adjustments mechanically which have allowed me to repeat

pitches more consistently.”

Lilly’s former teammate has struggled in his first four starts.

Dempster (1-2, 6.84) gave up five runs over five innings Sunday in

Colorado, but did not get a decision in a 9-5 defeat.

“I’ve just got to do a better job of making pitches and getting

people out,” Dempster said. “It’s getting really old and really

tired. I know they’re professional hitters on the other side.

“You have to tip your cap to them sometimes, but when you throw

the ball over the middle of the plate too much, you don’t tip your

cap to anybody. You look in the mirror and do a better job of


Dempster might have a chance at a better outing against Los

Angeles (11-10), as he hasn’t allowed an earned run over 22 innings

while winning three consecutive matchups. The right-hander gave up

three hits over eight innings of a 3-0 victory at Wrigley last


Dempster, though, could have trouble repeating those efforts

against a lineup that’s averaged 7.7 runs over a season-best three

straight wins. The Dodgers have batted .316 in those games after

averaging an NL-worst 3.2 runs in their first 18.

They had 14 hits in a 12-2 rout in Friday’s series opener. Juan

Uribe hit his second homer in as many games and drove in four runs,

giving him nine RBIs during the win streak.

“I feel real good right now,” said Uribe, batting .435 (10 for

23) in his last six games after opening 7 for 49. “Before I wasn’t

hitting. Now I’m helping my team.”

Andre Ethier had a run-scoring single during a six-run third

inning to extend his major league-best hit streak to 19 games.

Ethier is 7 for 17 (.412) with four doubles against Dempster,

and Uribe is 4 for 12 (.333) with a homer.

The Cubs (9-10) will try to avoid a season-worst third

consecutive defeat while keeping the Dodgers from within one win of

tying the all-time series. Since the beginning of the 1890 season,

Chicago is 1,021-1,019 against that franchise.