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CHC@PHI: Ryan Dempster channels the late Harry Caray

Both the Brewers and the Cubs are excited to return to Wrigley Field for the start of their four-game series on Monday.

For the Cubs, it marks the end of a difficult road trip to St. Louis, Cincinnati and Philadelphia, in which they faced four former 20-game winners and went 2-8. They were outscored on the trip, 52-28, and compiled a 5.28 ERA.

They won't get any reprieve in facing the Brewers, who have won eight of their past 10 games. Randy Wolf will be on the hill for Milwaukee, while Ryan Dempster gets the call for the North Siders.

"Milwaukee might be playing the best baseball in the National League right now," Cubs manager Mike Quade said. "If we can continue to run out good starting pitching, then we have to find a way to be more productive offensively and hopefully getting some of these guys healthy will help us do that."

For the Brewers, Wrigley is the first of two baseball cathedrals they'll visit, stopping there for four games, then Fenway Park in Boston for three more games over the weekend. The two stadiums have housed nearly 200 seasons of Major League Baseball between them and are by far the two oldest in-use stadiums in baseball.

"The tradition is great," said Brewers right fielder Mark Kotsay, who played for the Red Sox in 2008 and '09 and has made a slew of trips to Wrigley Field. "It's fun to be a part of it, to go in there and smell the old stadiums."

Cubs: Dempster works through injury
• Dempster nearly didn't make his most recent start, on Wednesday, because of a hip strain that he suffered in the bullpen while warming up. It's a good thing he decided to pitch, though, because he held the Reds to three hits and one run in six innings, winning his fifth game of the season.

"It just all got tight in my upper right leg and I was having trouble pushing off," Dempster said after the game. "I took a little bit of a breather and was able to get back on the mound and make pitches. I wasn't able to push off a whole lot today. It really didn't matter. I just tried to keep the ball down and execute pitches and not worry about it."

• Cubs outfielder Reed Johnson was hit in the helmet by a pitch on Saturday during his rehab outing and will return to Chicago to be reevaluated on Monday. Johnson was placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 26 with spasms in his lower back

Infielder Jeff Baker will also return to Chicago, though unlike Johnson, he will be returning to the active roster. Baker went 3-for-10 with a double and a triple in three rehab games with Triple-A Iowa.

Both Baker and Johnson help the Cubs against left-handed pitchers.

Brewers: Wolf hungry for wins
• Wolf is off to a solid start to the season, with a 4-4 record and 3.49 ERA. He lowered the latter number in his last start, when he limited the Mets to four hits and one run in 6 2/3 innings, though his bullpen let him down. The Brewers ended up winning the game on a walk-off.

Wolf faced the Cubs in his second start of the year, tossing six innings and allowing six runs on nine hits, though only two were earned. In 20 career starts against the North Siders, the 34-year-old Wolf has a 5-10 record and 4.40 ERA.

• The Brewers have had some interesting interactions with the Wrigley Field fans over the years, and right fielder Corey Hart said he is looking forward to the atmosphere.

"These series are so big for the fans, and we feed off that," Hart said. "With the Cubs, it doesn't matter if we're bad or good, and the same with them, the fans get so charged up. I hear them in the outfield. Cubs fans are pretty funny. I get hammered, but at least they're creative."

• Right-hander Takashi Saito was scratched from a rehab appearance with Class A Wisconsin on Sunday after reporting tightness in his shoulder. Saito has been on the 60-day disabled list since April 6.

Worth noting
• Baker has a .438 (7-for-16) career average against Wolf, while Johnson has hit .111 (1-for-9) against the southpaw.

• Brewers slugger Casey McGehee is hitting .300 against Dempster in 20 career at-bats, while Rickie Weeks is hitting .290 in 31 showdowns. Comments