Cubs

LIVE: Cubs - Dodgers tied at 8 in eighth inning

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LIVE: Cubs - Dodgers tied at 8 in eighth inning

Saturday, April 23, 2011
Posted: 10:30 a.m.

Associated Press

During his three-plus seasons in Chicago, Ted Lilly had more wins than any Cubs pitcher and the second-most at Wrigley Field.

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 face."

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 that."

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 season.

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.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Cubs executive Jason McLeod reportedly linked to Giants' GM opening

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USA TODAY

Cubs executive Jason McLeod reportedly linked to Giants' GM opening

Is this the offseason that Cubs executive Jason McLeod finally becomes an MLB general manager?

According to Bruce Levine, the Giants are reportedly interested in McLeod, the Cubs senior vice president of scouting and player development, for their vacant general manager position.

McLeod joined the Cubs' front office in 2011 alongside Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. Before the Cubs, he spent six years in the Red Sox front office and two in the Padres' (with Hoyer, who was San Diego's general manager from 2010-2011). 

Of course, the Giants' reported interest in McLeod doesn't necessarily mean that he will interview for the job. However, it's worth noting that McLeod interviewed for the Twins' general manager job in 2016; he also withdrew his name from consideration for the Padres' general manager job in 2014. 

In addition to the Giants, McLeod's name has been linked to the Mets' general manager vacancy. This is more speculation, but the point is that it seems to be only a matter of time before McLeod is hired as general manager elsewhere.

For what it's worth, though, McLeod is under contract through 2021 and has previously said that he is grateful to be with the Cubs. 

“I’m exceptionally grateful,” McLeod said. “All of us are. Look at where we are at this moment in time with this team," McLeod said in 2016. "I can’t imagine a better environment, a better culture to work at in baseball.

"We’ve been together a long time. We’re friends. We’re good. We embrace the fact that we are good. And we challenge ourselves to be even better.”

Cubs have new hitting coach in Anthony Iapoce

Cubs have new hitting coach in Anthony Iapoce

The Cubs are heading into a new season with a different hitting coach for the second straight winter, but the most recent choice is a familiar face.

Anthony Iapoce is set to join Joe Maddon's coaching staff this week after serving in the same capacity with the Texas Rangers for the last three seasons. The Cubs confirmed the move Monday afternoon shortly after the news broke out of the Rangers camp.

The Cubs fired Chili Davis last week after just one season as the team's hitting coach.

Entering the final week of the season, the Rangers fired manager Jeff Banister, leaving Iapoce and the rest of the Texas coaching staff in limbo.

As such, Iapoce is rejoining the Cubs, where he served as a special assistant to the General Manager from 2013-15 focusing on player development, particularly in the hitting department throughout the minor leagues.

Iapoce has familiarity with a bunch of the current star offensive players on the Cubs, from Willson Contreras to Kris Bryant. 

Both Bryant and Contreras endured tough 2018 seasons at the plate, which was a huge reason for the Cubs' underperforming lineup. Bryant's issue was more related to a left shoulder injured suffered in mid-May while Contreras' offensive woes remain a major question mark after the young catcher looked to be emerging as a legitimate superstar entering the campaign.

Getting Contreras back to the hitter that put up 21 homers and 74 RBI in only 117 games in 2017 will be one of the main goals for Iapoce, so the history between the two could be a key.

With the Rangers, Iapoce oversaw an offense that ranked 7th, 9th and 14th in MLB in runs scored over the last three seasons. The decline in offensive production is obviously not a great sign, but the Rangers as a team have fallen off greatly since notching the top seed in the AL playoffs in 2016 with 95 wins only to lose 95 games in 2018, resulting in the change at manager.

Iapoce has worked with an offense backed by Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, Shin-Soo Choo, Nomar Mazara and Joey Gallo the last few seasons.

Under Iapoce's tutelage, former top prospect Jurickson Profar shed any notion of a "bust" label and emerged as a budding star at age 25, collecting 61 extra-base hits with a .793 OPS in 2018.

When the Cubs let Davis go last week, they provided no update on assistant hitting coach Andy Haines, who just finished his first season in that role and is expected to remain with the team for 2019. The same offseason Iapoce left for the Rangers, Haines took over as the Cubs' minor league hitting instructor.