Chicago (42-44) at Miami (44-41)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Miami Gardens, FL
Temp: 81° F
  • Game info: 1:05 pm EDT Sun Jul 10, 2005
  • TV: WGN, FSFL
Preview | Box Score | Recap

With Derrek Lee healthy and back in the lineup, the Chicago Cubs look to end their first half on a positive note as they shoot for a three-game sweep of the Florida Marlins at Dolphins Stadium.

Lee hit his 26th homer in his return to the lineup Saturday and Todd Walker homered and drove in three runs as the Cubs beat the Marlins 8-2. Chicago won its second straight following an eight-game losing streak.

Lee, second in the majors to Atlanta’s Andruw Jones in homers, had missed three games because of irritation in his left shoulder. His solo shot off rookie Scott Olsen in the fourth inning gave him 68 RBIs.

“I felt like I was in slow motion a little bit,” Lee said. “Hopefully, it’ll come back quick.”

Greg Maddux will try to overcome his recent struggles for the Cubs. The veteran right-hander has dropped two straight starts, allowing 11 runs and 18 hits in 11 innings. He suffered a 5-1 loss in Atlanta on Tuesday.

”(Maddux) was good except for one inning,” Manager Dusty Baker said of the four-run fifth inning that cost Maddux the game. “We’ve got to stay out of a big inning, and we have to create some on our own.”

Veteran left-hander Al Leiter will counter for the Marlins, trying to put a dismal first half behind him.

Leiter, who signed a one-year, $8 million contract with Florida in the offseason, went 3-6 in 15 starts with a 6.45 ERA before being sent to the bullpen to work out his problems.

“I understand,” Leiter said last Friday night. “I haven’t pulled my share. I haven’t done my job consistently enough, and that’s what happens.”

Leiter will take injured starter Josh Beckett’s turn Sunday. Beckett is missing his turn in the rotation due to a strained left oblique muscle.

Leiter made just one appearance from the bullpen, taking over for Beckett after he was hurt in Tuesday’s 6-4 loss to Milwaukee.

It was the 31st relief appearance of Leiter’s career, and his first since Sept. 15, 1993, for the Toronto Blue Jays. Leiter gave up five hits and one earned run in three innings.

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Starting Pitchers

G. Maddux LAD vs. A. Leiter NYY
13-15 Record 7-12
4.24 ERA 6.13
136 K 97
36 BB 98
1.22 WHIP 1.77