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The Return Of Ted Lilly: Cubs vs. Padres, Monday 8/17, 9:05 CT

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In case you have not yet heard, Justin Berg has been returned to Iowa to make room for Ted Lilly's activation from the DL today.

The Padres are the only outside-the-NL-Central team that the Cubs will have three series with this year. This will be the second trip for the Cubs to Petco -- they got swept by a Padres team that got off to a reasonably good start back in May. In fact, after that sweep, the Cubs and Padres were both at .500 (Cubs, 21-21; Padres, 22-22). Since then, the Cubs are 39-34 and the Padres are 27-48. The May sweep occurred during a time right after Aramis Ramirez went down with the shoulder injury and the Cubs were refusing to score runs (they scored only three runs in that series and only five on the first six games of that trip).

That was then, this is now. The Padres made a major trade last month, getting four pitchers from the White Sox for Jake Peavy, and have several other players on their roster who weren't there in May; they are clearly retooling for next year. Let's take advantage of that. They still have Adrian Gonzalez, who would be a MVP candidate if he were on a better team, but that's really about it for their offense. They've lost four in a row and are 15-28 since July 1.

Some of you might see tonight's Cardinals/Dodgers pitching matchup -- Chris Carpenter vs. Charlie Haeger -- as a mismatch. What you are forgetting is that Haeger is a knuckleballer, nearly a lost art in the major leagues today. There's only one other knuckleballer around -- Tim Wakefield -- and the Cardinals last faced Wakefield on June 20, 2008. If a knuckleball pitcher is on, he can be nearly unhittable. Or totally hittable. This may not be as much of a mismatch as you think.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Ted Lilly
Ted Lilly
Cubs
vs. Kevin Correia
Kevin Correia
Padres
9-7 W-L 8-9
3.59 ERA 4.51
107 SO 101
26 BB 50
19 HR 12
vs. SD -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Ted Lilly 9-7 19 19 0 0 0 0 123.0 116 54 49 19 26 107 3.59 1.15


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Kevin Correia 8-9 28 24 0 0 0 0 137.2 134 73 69 12 50 101 4.51 1.34

Kevin Correia -- who looks like he didn't want to have his picture taken -- has no record, but a 9.90 ERA in two starts he made vs. the Cubs last year as a member of the Giants. The last one was a nine-hit, seven-run pounding in 3.2 innings on July 12, 2008 at Wrigley Field. Current Cubs are hitting .349 (17-for-49) against Correia; Jeff Baker and Milton Bradley have homered off him.

Ted Lilly returns from the DL to face a team he has fared well against in the past -- 5-2, 3.55 in eight career appearances (seven starts). Adrian Gonzalez has hit him well, but Adrian Gonzalez hits everyone well, so that's no surprise (4-for-14, a double, a triple, a HR). Ted is 1-1 vs. San Diego this year, the loss coming in the Cubs' last trip west, on May 24. That game might have been winnable if Aaron Heilman hadn't come in and blown a 4-2 deficit into a 7-2 deficit.

Today's game should be on EI via TV4 San Diego. However, you may be out of luck in the blackout areas -- games on WCIU can be weird that way. "Check local listings". For other games today see the MLB.com Mediacenter.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Padres site Gaslamp Ball, although there are times they don't seem to like us much over there.

Overflow comment threads will post today at 10 pm, 11 pm and 11:45 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.