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Chicago Cubs vs. New York Yankees Preview, Saturday 6/18, 3:10 CT: Reunion

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Long ago and far away, or so it would seem, A.J. Burnett and Ryan Dempster were teammates with the Florida Marlins. That lasted three and a half years, from 1999 until Dempster was traded to the Reds. They just missed being minor league teammates, too; Dempster was a year ahead of Burnett in the Marlins' minor league system.

This will be the first time they have faced each other as pitching opponents. It's not quite the matchup that Dempster had against his friend and former teammate Ted Lilly earlier this year (on April 23, won by Dempster even though neither pitcher threw very well), but it does show you again how interconnected players throughout this game are. The recent edict from MLB to try to reduce pre-game fraternization on the field is just silly. Everyone knows these players are friends, many for a lifetime. Once the plate umpire calls "Play!" everyone also knows that these friends will compete hard against each other, as Burnett and Dempster will this afternoon.

The Cubs are on a bit of a nice run, four of five and six of ten. Let's keep it going.

Cubs lineup:

Fukudome rf, Castro ss, DeWitt 2b, Ramirez 3b, Pena 1b, Johnson cf, Soriano lf, Soto c, Dempster p

Yankees lineup:

Gardner lf, Granderson cf, Teixeira 1b, Rodriguez 3b, Cano 2b, Swisher rf, Martin c, Nunez ss, Burnett p
Today's Starting Pitchers
Ryan Dempster
Ryan Dempster
Cubs
vs. A.J. Burnett
A.J. Burnett
Yankees
5-5 W-L 6-5
5.48 ERA 4.09
82 SO 68
30 BB 35
13 HR 11
vs. NY -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Ryan Dempster 5-5 16 15 0 0 0 0 87.0 93 54 53 13 30 82 5.48 1.41


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - A.J. Burnett 6-5 15 14 0 0 0 0 88.0 72 45 40 11 35 68 4.09 1.22

A.J. Burnett last pitched against the Cubs on June 13, 2008 when he was with the Blue Jays. I post that boxscore mostly to note that only four players who played in that game (Aramis Ramirez, Kosuke Fukudome, Geovany Soto and Reed Johnson) are still on the Cubs. Ramirez is 4-for-13 lifetime vs. Burnett; the Cub who has faced him most is Carlos Pena (5-for-35, one double, one HR).

Ryan Dempster started several games against the Yankees when he was with the Marlins, ten and more years ago; those are largely irrelevant now. The only current Yankees who have more than six career PA against him are Russell Martin (4-for-17) and Andruw Jones (13-for-40, .325, two doubles, two HR).

Today's game is on Fox. It's basically on nationwide except for the deep South, from Tennessee and North Carolina south to the Gulf Coat and west through Texas, except for the south half of Florida. Here's the complete coverage map. Unfortunately, we are stuck with Joe Buck & Tim McCarver. There's always the mute button. 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 Yankees site Pinstripe Alley.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 3 pm CDT and the overflow threads will post at 4 pm, 5 pm and 5:45 pm CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.