Return Of The Prodigals: Cubs vs. Indians Preview, Friday 6/19, 1:20 CT

This weekend, a former Cub will step onto the field at Wrigley Field, have his name announced, and despite performing well in his time in blue pinstripes, will be completely ignored.

That's right, many people in the crowd assembled at Wrigley today might not even realize that Luis Vizcaino made four appearances in a Cub uniform this past April without allowing a run, before being released and picked up by the Tribe, where he has issued 11 walks in 11 innings of work. Let's hope he keeps up that style of performance if he appears in a game this weekend.

As far as the "other" ex-Cubs on the Cleveland roster, I presume they will get warm and loud ovations on first appearance. Think back to last year when Jim Edmonds made his first appearance in St. Louis as a Cub -- and consider that Cardinal fans were cheering for a player wearing the uniform of their most hated rival. Edmonds received a standing ovation, then it was back to business. I would expect nothing less for Mark DeRosa. He should be cheered when announced, as an acknowledgement of the contributions he made to the Cubs while he was here -- and then I hope he goes 0-for-12 this weekend. He can resume hitting Tuesday when the Indians face the Pirates.

And if Kerry Wood gets into a game this weekend, I hope it will be for the purpose of giving him work because the Indians don't have any situations for him to close.

Now, about acquiring players to help the Cubs' floundering offense, Gordon Wittenmyer says Jim Hendry's still working his cellphone on high speed:

Either way, general manager Jim Hendry is working the prospective trade markets as hard as he does every year and is said to be itching to pull off a deal to help the team, given the opportunity.

Meantime, he says he's not even certain what he'll need come July, depending on how well and quickly third baseman Aramis Ramirez comes back from his shoulder injury and whether Thursday's late offensive fireworks are a sign of good things to come.

"For me to say either way in the middle of June makes no sense," Hendry said. "We could be in the market for a player we never even dreamed of a month from now if somebody else got hurt or somebody really went into a tailspin. You just kind of stay on top of it every day and react to what you may need or may help.

"Some of the deals we've made were not on the radar screen a week before we made them."

I assume that last sentence refers, in part, to the Rich Harden deal made last July -- that one seemed to come out of nowhere. And maybe he doesn't have to go any farther this weekend than the visiting clubhouse to make a deal. Just sayin'.

Oh, and for a change, there's a forecast of rain this afternoon, and there could be severe storms.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Rich Harden
Rich Harden
Cubs
vs. Cliff Lee
Cliff Lee
Indians
4-3 W-L 4-6
4.53 ERA 2.88
62 SO 69
23 BB 20
9 HR 5
vs. Cle -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Rich Harden 4-3 10 9 0 0 0 0 49.2 44 26 25 9 23 62 4.53 1.35


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Cliff Lee 4-6 14 14 1 1 0 0 97.0 109 31 31 5 20 69 2.88 1.33

Cliff Lee faced the Cubs the last time these teams met in interleague play, in Cleveland on June 20, 2006. (Boxscore provided for amusement purposes. Check out the Cub lineup.) Against current Cubs he has done pretty well; he has allowed homers to Milton Bradley and Alfonso Soriano but otherwise handled those players. He's coming off a near no-hitter against the Cardinals in his last start last Sunday, but often pitchers who are doing that, or coming off no-hitters, don't do well in their next outing. Just ask Carlos Zambrano about that.

Rich Harden posted a 1-0, 3.27 record in five appearances (four starts) vs. the Indians during his time in the American League. The last time he faced them was June 25, 2007, and a lot of those players are either gone from the Tribe or won't play today. Only Travis Hafner has had success vs. Harden among active members of the Indians, and that's a small-sample-size 2-for-4 (a double, a HR, 5 RBI and 4 walks), and Hafner, who hasn't played the field in two years, likely will only pinch-hit in this series.

Today's game is on cable only -- CSN Chicago and STO (Sports Time Ohio). One thing I don't like about STO is that they don't keep the scorebox up all the time. Both feeds should be available on EI today. For other games today see the MLB.com Mediacenter.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Overflow comment threads will post today at 2:15 pm, 3:15 pm and 4 pm CDT.

Please visit our SBN Indians site at Let's Go Tribe.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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