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05/26/10 11:02 PM ET

LA's Ely brings Chicago ties into finale

Blood may be thicker than water. But when it comes to Chicago baseball, apparently allegiance is even thicker than blood.

Thus, when John Ely's magical rookie pitching tour continues Thursday afternoon against the Cubs in Wrigley Field, his father won't be there to see it.

Considering how Derrek Lee is warming up with the weather, that may not be a bad thing. Starting to bury a typical slow start, Lee has gone 6-for-8 in the first two games of the Cubs' homestand to jump his average from .218 to .254.

And it sounds like seeing a Cubs player give his son a hard time is the last thing Mr. Ely would want to do.

Ely is from Harvey, Ill., a community about 20 miles from the North Side. And he is bringing his 3-1 record and stupefying control home.

But his proud dad won't make the short drive. Being wheelchair-bound is part of the reason, given old Wrigley Field's access issues. A small part. The bulk of it is that Mr. Ely is a fan of the city's other team.

"It's part mobility issues, because Wrigley isn't wheelchair-friendly," said the 24-year-old righty, "and partly because he's a die-hard White Sox fan and he doesn't come here."

Evidently, having Ely add the Cubs to the toll of his surprising Major League baptism would particularly thrill Dad.

Summertime can turn Wrigley Field into a difficult park in which to pitch, and Cubs manager Lou Piniella hopes being on the approach to Memorial Day is close enough to unease Ely.

"We're getting close to the Indy 500," Piniella pointed out. "That means that summer is well on its way."

So, too, appears to be Lee, who dragged a .205 average through April, retracing his 2009 steps. Last April, he had hit .189 and only one home run in April -- and wound up the season with a characteristic .306 average and 36 homers.

"I've had a lot of slow starts in my career," Lee said. "I wish I understood why. Hopefully, I do heat up and start to help this team."

Dodgers: Control freak
Ely's strikeouts-to-unintentional-walks ratio is an impressive 28-to-3. He had faced 89 consecutive batters without a walk until the first inning of his last start, against the Tigers. ... Manny Ramirez has gone 55 at-bats since his last home run, on April 18.

Cubs: Rotation adjustment coming
Left-hander Tom Gorzelanny, possibly the odd-man out of the rotation when Carlos Zambrano rejoins it early next week, allowed a season-high seven runs in his five-plus-inning turn on Wednesday. ... To remain in sync, Zambrano will continue to be available out of the bullpen in the series finale, as well as for the weekend series against the Cardinals.

Worth noting
When Wednesday's game was briefly delayed after a nearby fire knocked out some lights, it marked the first power-failure delay in Wrigley Field since 2003, when a couple of games were interrupted. Of course, there were no such problems while Wrigley endured as the Major Leagues' only ballpark without lights until 1988.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.