Derrek Lee's Return: Cubs vs. Braves Preview, Friday 8/20, 1:20 CT

For all of you who felt Derrek Lee shouldn't have been batting third most of the season while he was in an extended slump, you're likely to get your wish today.

The Braves, supposedly, will be batting him fourth.

D-Lee is having his worst year since his rookie season with the Marlins in 1998. However, since July 1 he's hitting .288/.345/.500 with six HR and 20 RBI in 33 games (145 PA), pretty close to his career averages (.282/.367/.499). He's had a bit of back trouble the last week which prevented him from playing since his two-homer game in St. Louis last Sunday. That turned out to be his final game as a Cub, a nice farewell, even though we didn't know it was goodbye at the time.

I expect him to get a rousing ovation when he has his first at-bat; this is appropriate, a thank-you for nearly seven years of fine play, always done with class and dignity. And I hope he makes it back to the postseason with the Braves. After that acknowledgement, though, I hope he goes 0-for-12 this weekend. He can resume hitting after Sunday.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Ryan Dempster
Ryan Dempster
Cubs
vs. Jair Jurrjens
Jair Jurrjens
Braves
11-8 W-L 5-4
3.62 ERA 3.92
153 SO 60
66 BB 28
21 HR 7
vs. Atl -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Ryan Dempster 11-8 26 25 1 0 0 0 164.0 149 79 66 21 66 153 3.62 1.31


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Jair Jurrjens 5-4 14 14 0 0 0 0 82.2 74 39 36 7 28 60 3.92 1.23

These two pitchers faced each other in the season's second game, in Atlanta on April 7. Dempster threw well and a relief pitcher (John Grabow) came in and blew the game by giving up a home run to Chipper Jones. Sound familiar?

Well, Jones won't be in today's game, as he is out for the year. The Cubs and Braves have gone in opposite directions; Jurrjens spent two months on the DL with a hamstring injury, and has posted a 5-1 record with a 2.91 ERA in nine starts since returning.

Dempster hasn't faced many of the current Braves; they are only 8-for-41 (.195) against him with no home runs. Derrek Lee, who was Dempster's teammate for more than ten seasons (four with the Marlins, six-plus with the Cubs), has never faced him. Current Cubs have only 28 AB (8 hits) against Jurrjens.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago and SportSouth. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Braves site Talking Chop.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 1:15 pm CDT, and the overflows will post at 2:15 pm, 3:15 pm and 4 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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