After nearly four years as a Cub, this is Ted Lilly's return to Chicago. In 2009, Lilly was great at home, going 8-2 in 13 starts with a 1.87 ERA, averaging just over seven innings per start. Then, last year Lilly gave up more home runs at Wrigley (14 in 67 1/3 innings in 2010, compared to just eight in 91 1/3 innings in 2009), and he was 2-4 with a 4.28 ERA. Lilly has pitched at least six innings in 26 of his last 28 starts at Wrigley Field.
Lilly got his first win of the season on Monday, pitching seven scoreless innings against Atlanta. The Dodgers have had six straight quality starts dating back to Sunday, with their starters putting up a collective 1.39 ERA and averaging 7.56 innings per start.
Ryan Dempster gets the start today for the Cubs. You might remember him from such postseason grand slams as James Loney's, in Game 1 of the 2008 NLDS. It seems, however, that Dempster has remembered that loss, too. In three starts against the Dodgers since Loney took him deep, Dempster has yet to allow an earned run:
The Cubs have won all three of those Dempster starts. As for Loney, he is 0-for-6 off Dempster since the slam, with five flyouts and one groundout. The Dodgers have had three hits and one walk in all three of Dempster's starts against them in the last two seasons. If Dempster keeps that up, maybe they will get to .500 yet again at 10-10.
Lilly and Dempster are good friends from their days with the Cubs. Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago wrote about the relationship of the two pitchers, on Friday.
Dodger leadoff hitters this season are hitting just .222/.271/.267. Their .538 leadoff OPS ranks 26th among 30 MLB teams, with only Detroit, the Yankees, and San Diego worse. It seems understandable that without Rafael Furcal, who broke his thumb on April 11, the position would suffer, but Furcal wasn't doing so well before he got hurt, hitting .192/.250/.231 from the top spot in the batting order. Jamey Carroll had a good game on Friday, his fifth leadoff start this season. Carroll had two hits and a walk in six plate appearances yesterday, and is hitting .309/.365/.368 this season. Carroll is batting .273/.360/.318 from the leadoff spot in all of 26 PA.
Game Time: 10:05 a.m.