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 Talk Podcast: Will 4 days off help or hurt the Cubs?

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Will 4 days off help or hurt the Cubs?

With the Cardinals being shutdown by MLB for a COVID-19 outbreak in the organization, the Cubs had an impromptu four days off after stringing together one of the best records in baseball so far. Will having the days off help or hurt them going forward?

David Kaplan and Gordon Wittenmyer discuss the Cubs' impromptu weekend off, Zach Plesac and Mike Clevinger breaking protocol and going out in Chicago, and a 'what if' scenario that could have changed the Cubs getting Aroldis Chapman in 2016.

(1:20) - Zach Plesac and Mike Clevinger breaking safety protocol to go out in Chicago

(7:09) - Cubs get four days off due to the Cardinals' coronavirus outbreak

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest Cubs news and analysis.

(9:30) - Is David Ross following in the steps of Joe Maddon with some of his methods?

(16:00) - How will MLB fix the missing games that teams will have at the end of the season?

(18:40) - Cubs wanted Andrew Miller initially, not Aroldis Chapman in 2016

Listen here or below.

Cubs Talk Podcast

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Jason Kipnis enjoying 'fun ride' with Cubs, but 2016 World Series still stings

Jason Kipnis enjoying 'fun ride' with Cubs, but 2016 World Series still stings

A peppy voice shouted from offscreen, drawing Jason Kipnis’ attention away from the pregame Zoom setup in front of him. Kipnis chucked as he spotted Mike Napoli, his former Indians teammate and current Cubs quality assurance coach.

“Ask this guy about 2016,” Kipnis said to the reporters on Zoom as Napoli bobbed into frame.

“It was the greatest year of our lives,” Napoli shouted.

At least Kipnis had someone with him who knew what it was like to lose to the Cubs in the 2016 World Series.

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest Cubs news and analysis.

Kipnis returned to Progressive Field on Tuesday, for the first time since he signed with the Cubs as a free agent in February. In the Cubs’ 7-1 win against the Indians on Tuesday, Kipnis hit a double and scored a run on a wild pitch. It was his first time in a decade-long career facing Cleveland.

The Indians had drafted Kipnis in 2009. He’d made his major league debut with the club two years later. And he spent nine seasons in Cleveland.

A “homey vibe” hit him as the Cubs touched down in the airport Tuesday and drove to their hotel. Familiar views greeted him.

What was new was walking to the ballpark from the hotel, going through a different entrance.

“I'm actually being steered to probably a few hallways I didn't know existed,” Kipnis said.

He’d been to the visiting clubhouse before but never to the batting cages or weight room. He was seeing a new side of a building that he’d called home for so many years.

Plus, he was doing it in Cubbie blue. One of his most agonizing experiences at Progressive Field had come at the hands of the Cubs. His current teammates had made up the young core of that 2016 World Series Cubs team.

“I’ve already had Rizzo walking me through, ‘I celebrated here, I celebrated here,’" Kipnis said before the game. "I’m like, ‘Thanks, buddy. I get it.'”

Kipnis said there was never a real path for him to return to the Indians for this season.  Asked if the option was closed off on his end or the teams’, he said, “My phone never rang, I’ll put it that way.”

Instead Kipnis, a Northbrook native, joined his hometown team. Over the summer, Kipnis posted on Twitter that being a Cub was still a “mindf*ck” at times.

When he and the Indians lost World Series Game 7 at home, after blowing a 3-1 series lead, 99 percent of Kipnis was “absolutely crushed.”

But he said one percent could “look back at the field the last second be like, ‘Hey, at least it's the Cubs.’

If the Indians were going to lose, at least it was to a team with a 108-year World Series drought.

Kipnis likens his feelings about playing for his hometown team this year to that ratio. He’s overwhelmingly excited about representing Chicago and playing for his friends and family. One percent of him aches every time he sees the 2016 banners or World Series highlights, neither of which he can escape in Chicago.

“I have to keep reliving it,” Kipnis said. “… It sucks, but it was a fun time in ’16, and I don’t regret anything about it”

This year has been Kipnis’ first experience switching teams. He’s been locked in a position battle at second base with Nico Hoerner and has been efficient in limited at-bats. In seven games, Kipnis is batting .368, with five extra-base hits. He kept the ball from his first home run as a Cub.

“When you get back into that hunter mentality, it's fun,” Kipnis said, “because then you push yourself to stay at it. You might not feel great some days, and you normally might have taken a day off or something to rest the body, but now you just find a way to get something productive done that day.

“And I think especially coming here in Chicago, where I know now I have even more family and friends watching games, and friends of friends, everything, it's been like a little bit more motivation to stay on top of myself.”

The COVID-19 pandemic ensured that Kipnis would get to play his former team this season. Regular season schedules became regional, so the NL Central Cubs play the AL Central Indians four times this year.

But the pandemic also ensured that Kipnis wouldn’t be able to greet fans in person, or his former teammates and coaches how he’d like to – some of them with “bull-rush” hugs.

“I've invaded these guys personal spaces for about nine years,” Kipnis said. “I think I can take a day off from giving them a hug.”

The Indians played a tribute video for Kipnis before the game. Players and staff members applauded him. Kipnis stepped out and waved his hat at the empty stands.

Like much of this season, Kipnis’ return wasn’t anything like he could have imagined when he put pen to paper back in February. But at least publicly, you won’t hear any complaints from Kipnis.

“It's been such a fun ride here so far,” he said.

 

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