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.

MLB, MLBPA, and Sony Interactive announce multi-year extension of partnership

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USA TODAY

MLB, MLBPA, and Sony Interactive announce multi-year extension of partnership

On Monday it was officially announced in a joint statement that the MLB, MLBPA, San Diego Studio, and Sony Interactive had agreed to a multi-year extension on their partnership to create the popular, officially licensed MLB video game, MLB The Show.

This year's upcoming edition of MLB The Show, MLB The Show 20, features Cubs superstar shortstop on the cover. The award-winning game will be entering a pivotal year as MLB The Show 20 will be the 15th anniversary of the franchise. Among the other big announcements from Sony Interactive was that the Sony exclusive title will be making its way to other console platforms soon, as early as 2021. 

The Baez-led MLB The Show 20 will feature a variety of specific gameplay features and promotions to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the beloved MLB video game franchise. 

Potential Cubs target Shogo Akiyama is reportedly in the U.S. during the winter meetings

Potential Cubs target Shogo Akiyama is reportedly in the U.S. during the winter meetings

The Cubs could use a leadoff hitter and a center fielder. One player who can fill both of those holes is available is looking to sign soon.

Japanese center fielder Shogo Akiyama is in the U.S. with his agent, according to Sports Nippon, while the winter meetings take place in San Diego.

Akiyama is a center field option when center field options are limited this offseason. Brett Gardner is a free agent, but the 36-year-old wouldn’t be easy to pry away from his only professional organization.

Akiyama is 31 and saw a dropoff in his numbers in Japan last season, but still had a .392 on-base percentage with 20 home runs in 143 games.

Albert Almora’s struggles last season left the Cubs with uncertainty in center going forward. That saw Jason Heyward spending some time in center with Kyle Schwarber and Nicholas Castellanos on the corners. That’s not a pretty defensive outfield. Meanwhile, Akiyama has two Golden Glove awards in Japan.

He would also bring on-base skills and speed to a Cubs lineup that has resorted to having power hitter Anthony Rizzo play leadoff at times.

Akiyama would also likely not be an expensive option, which is key for a Cubs team reportedly looking to get under the luxury tax this offseason.

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