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The Return Of The Ted: Cubs vs. Brewers Preview, Saturday 4/24, 6:10 CT

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The night we've all been waiting for happens in Milwaukee this evening -- the return of Ted Lilly from arthroscopic shoulder surgery to make his first start of the year, in the season's 17th game. That means, essentially, he missed three starts, which would mean he'd still be able to start 30 or 31 games this year.

Ted likes pitching in Miller Park -- one of the most memorable games he threw there wasn't even against the Brewers; it was the day after Z's no-hitter, September 15, 2008, when he took a no-hitter himself into the seventh inning. Those two games, incidentally, set a major league record for the fewest combined hits by a team in two consecutive games -- one.

But, Ted? Even though you can do everything... no need to try to steal any bases tonight.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Ted Lilly
Ted Lilly
Cubs
vs. Doug Davis
Doug Davis
Brewers
making W-L 0-1
his ERA 11.25
2010 SO 13
season BB 6
debut HR 3
vs. Mil -- vs. Cubs

Doug Davis used to have the Cubs' number, but they hit him pretty well during the home opener on April 12. In his next start against the Nationals on April 18, he got pounded for 11 hits and five runs in 4.2 innings. Could he finally be hittable? Let's hope so tonight. In addition to that 11.25 ERA, he has a 2.50 WHIP and a .421 BAA so far this year. In that April 12 game, Xavier Nady and Jeff Baker both homered off Davis; I'd expect to see both of them in the lineup tonight.

Ted Lilly is only 3-2, 4.43 in eight appearances (seven starts) vs. the Brewers. However, in his last three starts against them since July 27, 2008, he's 2-0, 2.95 with one no-decision and 17 strikeouts and only two walks in 18.1 innings. Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder hit him well, but they hit pretty much everyone well. Keep those two down and Ted should be just fine. He'll be limited to 75-80 pitches, but last year he had several outstanding outings of six-plus innings with not many more than 80-90 pitches; I'm looking for six solid innings tonight -- maybe followed by Carlos Zambrano relieving Ted.

Tonight's game is available again nationally on WGN, and also on WMLW-41 in Milwaukee. That feed should be on your EI channel. 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 Brewers site Brew Crew Ball. But be careful over there.

Tonight's first pitch thread will be up at 6 pm CDT, and the overflows will post at 7:15, 8:15 and 9 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.