Los Angeles (26-20) at Chicago (22-25)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Chicago, IL
Temp: 60° F
  • Game info: 2:20 pm EDT Thu May 27, 2010
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While John Ely(notes) expects to have some supporters among the Wrigley Field crowd, he hopes his Los Angeles Dodger teammates continue to provide him with plenty of offense in his return home.

A native of south suburban Chicago, the rookie right-hander tries for his fourth straight victory to help the Dodgers win their road series against the Cubs on Thursday.

Though Ely (3-1, 3.41 ERA) grew up on the south side rooting for the White Sox, it’s likely to be a special moment when he pitches near home for the first time while plenty of friends and family look on from the North Side park.

Ely, who was traded by the White Sox to Los Angeles as part of a December deal involving Juan Pierre(notes), has been a pleasant surprise for the Dodgers (26-20).

After allowing five runs in losing his major league debut against the New York Mets on April 28, the 24-year-old Ely is 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA in his last four starts. He gave up two runs and the first walk of his career in six innings of a 6-4 win over Detroit on Saturday.

“He’s certainly, as Yogi (Berra) likes to say, making himself necessary,” manager Joe Torre told the Dodgers’ official website. “The kid continues to impress.”

Ely’s teammates have helped ease his transition to the majors, providing him with an average of 5.68 runs.

Ely will try to help the Dodgers take this series after they evened the set with an 8-5 win Wednesday. The game was delayed 18 minutes after the lights went out at Wrigley.

James Loney(notes) was a home run short of the cycle, and Casey Blake(notes) homered for the fourth time in eight games as Los Angeles won for the 13th time in 16 contests.

Blake is 14 for 34 with eight RBIs in his last nine games, but 6 for 25 with two homers against Chicago scheduled starter Ted Lilly(notes) (1-4, 4.30).

Since throwing six shutout innings to beat Milwaukee in his season debut April 24, Lilly is 0-4 with a 5.12 ERA in his last five games. He was better in his last outing, giving up two runs in 6 2-3 innings of a 2-1 loss at Texas on Friday.

“The only thing I’m trying to do is win, whatever fashion it takes,” Lilly said. “What it comes down to for me is giving up fewer runs. I need to pitch better.”

The left-hander has pitched well against the Dodgers, going 3-1 with a 3.16 ERA in five starts.

Chicago manager Lou Piniella said Carlos Zambrano(notes) will be available out of the bullpen for this contest as he continues to move closer to returning to the starting rotation next week at Pittsburgh.

“Zambrano will be in the bullpen starting on (Thursday), helping us out, and also the first two games of the St. Louis series (this weekend,” Piniella said.

Derrek Lee(notes) had three hits Wednesday as the Cubs (22-25) had their three-game winning streak snapped. While Lee is 6 for 8 in the series, struggling third baseman Aramis Ramirez(notes) will likely be out of the lineup for a fourth straight game Thursday with a bruised thumb.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Ely Mil vs. T. Lilly LAD
4-10 Record 10-12
5.49 ERA 3.62
76 K 166
40 BB 44
1.45 WHIP 1.08


Thursday, May 27