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News » Cubs-Diamondbacks Preview 2009-04-27


Cubs-Diamondbacks Preview 2009-04-27


Cubs-Diamondbacks Preview 2009-04-27
He doesn't possess Carlos Zambrano's flair or Rich Harden's overpowering fastball, but Ted Lilly is quietly becoming the rock of the Chicago Cubs' staff.

The veteran left-hander looks for another quality start Monday night at Chase Field as Chicago opens a three-game set against an Arizona Diamondbacks club that lately has dominated this series in Phoenix.

Lilly (2-1, 2.41 ERA) makes his first start at Chase Field since July 23, when he allowed three runs and six hits over six innings in a 10-6 win. The Cubs had dropped eight of their previous nine games visiting the Diamondbacks.

Lilly was 2-0 with a 2.77 ERA in two starts against Arizona in 2008.

In his last start, Lilly gave up five hits in seven innings in a 3-0 loss to Cincinnati on Wednesday. The left-hander gave up just one unearned run, but it was set up by his throwing error past first Derrek Lee on a third-inning bunt by Alex Gonzalez.

"It's amazing -- you go back to Spring Training and talk about all those little things and how important they are and we work hard on them, and they come up in a game like this," Lilly told the Cubs' official Web site.

Lilly, who has not allowed an earned run in his last two starts, has walked just two in three appearances this season while striking out 13.

He has issued two or fewer walks in 12 of his last 13 starts.

After scoring only six total runs in its previous four games, Chicago (9-8) snapped a four-game skid Sunday with 14 hits in a 10-3 win over St. Louis. Kosuke Fukudome was 3-for-5 with a homer and a career-best five RBIs.

Fukudome batted .353 (6-for-17) with a homer and two RBIs last season against the Diamondbacks.

Lee's RBI double in the first inning could have been the start of a much-needed breakout game for the struggling first baseman, but he left in the bottom half of the inning with neck spasms. Lee is batting .209 with a .267 on-base percentage this season.

Cubs manager Lou Piniella said Lee likely would not go on the disabled list.

Alfonso Soriano was beaned in the second inning Sunday but remained in the game and finished 2-for-4. He has hit safely in 15 of 17 games this season.

Soriano is 6-for-17 with two homers and six RBIs lifetime against Monday's scheduled starter Dan Haren.

While the Cubs look to win their first series at Chase Field since taking two of three there from Aug. 22-24, 2003, Arizona tries to win two straight for the first time this season. The Diamondbacks (7-11) rallied with three runs in the ninth inning - two coming on a home run from Justin Upton - then defeated San Francisco 5-4 in 12 innings on a bases-loaded single by Conor Jackson.

"It took a while, (but) we got some big hits," said Arizona manager Bob Melvin, whose team is batting an NL-worst .223.

Upton, who is batting just .222 this season, has two homers and four RBIs in his last two games.

Haren has an impressive 1.38 ERA, but his teammates scored just one run in his first three starts - all losses. The right-hander earned his first victory Wednesday, going six innings in a 2-0 win over Colorado.

"You don't want to go through the whole month of April and not win a game," Haren said.

He is 0-2 with an 8.04 ERA in three career starts against the Cubs.

Yusmeiro Petit could make the start in the series opener as the Diamondbacks have inserted the right-hander into the rotation due to a shoulder injury to ace Brandon Webb.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 27, 2009

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