Chicago Cubs vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Preview, Saturday 4/23, 12:05 CT: Bring Back 2008!

In 2008, Ryan Dempster and Ted Lilly combined to throw 411.1 innings for the 97-win division champion Cubs; they won 34 games, lost only 15 and their combined ERA was 3.52. They ranked seventh and 10th in the NL in strikeouts and were the two mainstays of that year's rotation. They were teammates for nearly four years until Ted was dealt to the Dodgers at last year's non-waiver trading deadline.

Today, they will face each other as opponents for the first time. Off the field, they have nothing but praise for each other.

Dempster on Lilly:
"He was a big help to me going through everything when Riley was born," Dempster said. "He broadened his shoulders to help take some of the pressure off me and relieve me of a lot of the stress, and not just that but he's contributed financially and emotionally.

"It's been overwhelming," Dempster said. "He's a true, true friend of mine."

Lilly on Dempster:

"I can't tell you how much respect I have for him," he said. "First and foremost what I was able to learn from him: The way he treated people, the way he loved this opportunity to pitch in the major leagues and the way he dealt with adversity off the field and on the field.

"Wow, without getting emotional, I don't know how anyone could have created someone who is as unselfish as Ryan."

Of today's matchup, Dempster says:

"That's the best," Dempster said. "I wouldn't have it any other way. Some of your best competitors are your best friends. I've competed against him for as long as I've known him. He'll bring out the best in me, and I hope I do the same."
Today's Starting Pitchers
Ryan Dempster
Ryan Dempster
Cubs
vs. Ted Lilly
Ted Lilly
Dodgers
1-2 W-L 1-2
6.84 ERA 4.09
26 SO 14
9 BB 5
5 HR 2
vs. LA -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Ryan Dempster 1-2 4 4 0 0 0 0 25.0 29 20 19 5 9 26 6.84 1.52


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Ted Lilly 1-2 4 4 0 0 0 0 22.0 24 10 10 2 5 14 4.09 1.32

With Ted Lilly spending most of his pre-Cubs career in the American League, he has never faced the Cubs. This will be not only his first career appearance vs. the Cubs, but his first game as a visitor in Wrigley Field since his Cub career ended. He has faced a few current Cubs: Alfonso Soriano (4-for-10), Marlon Byrd (5-for-11), Jeff Baker (3-for-6, two doubles, a HR) and Reed Johnson (2-for-5).

Ryan Dempster is off to a rough start, but he had one of his best starts of 2010 against the Dodgers on May 25 at Wrigley Field, where he threw eight shutout innings, gave up only three singles and a walk, and struck out seven. Another one of those, please. The current Dodger who hits him best is Andre Ethier (7-for-17, four doubles, a HR).

Today's game is on CSN Chicago and Prime Ticket LA. 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 Dodgers site True Blue LA.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 12 noon CDT and the overflow threads will post at 1 pm, 2 pm and 2:45 pm CDT. If you need more overflows due to rain delays or extra innings, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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