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05/05/12 6:00 PM ET

Elbert knows slider is key to effectiveness

CHICAGO -- Scott Elbert was in the Dodgers bullpen on Saturday morning, trying to fix his slider.

"I don't think there's enough speed differential between my fastball and slider," said Elbert, who allowed all three batters he faced to reach base on Friday and was charged with the decisive run in the Dodgers' 5-4 loss to the Cubs.

Elbert has had control problems in the past, but his current slump is different. He had 0-2 counts twice on Friday, only to allow hits in both at-bats. He entered Saturday with a 6.75 ERA this year, having allowed 12 hits in 6 2/3 innings. Last season, he had a 2.43 ERA and allowed 27 hits in 33 1/3 innings.

Opposing batters are 5-for-9 after Elbert gets ahead in the count, 0-2. Friday's ineffective outing followed the walk-off home run he allowed to Jason Giambi in Colorado on Wednesday.

"I feel good," Elbert said. "I'm pounding the zone, getting ahead and the next thing I know, they're on base. I'm not putting away hitters like I should. Last year, they would swing and miss the slider. This year, it seems like it's in play every time."

Without stepping on field, Lilly ejected

CHICAGO -- Dodgers left-hander Ted Lilly, a spectator in Saturday's 5-1 win over the Cubs, was ejected by home-plate umpire Tim Timmons for making a hand gesture.

But not the one you think.

Lilly said he complained from the visitors' dugout about a called second strike on Bobby Abreu in the fifth inning. Timmons turned to Lilly and put his index finger to his lips, as if to tell Lilly not to complain about his call.

"He told me to be quiet with his hand gesture, so I was quiet," said Lilly. "I showed him with my hands that the pitch was low, and he kicked me out."

Replays showed the pitch by Cubs starter Chris Volstad was near Abreu's ankle. Lilly's teammates were seen laughing in the dugout as he was ordered by Timmons to head to the clubhouse.

"Once I heard it was Teddy, it was OK," said manager Don Mattingly. "As long as it wasn't Matt [Kemp] or one of the [everyday] guys."

It was the third ejection of Lilly's career and first as a member of the Dodgers.

"We know Lilly," Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano said. "He was a very funny guy when he used to be here, but I'm happy they threw him out, because he's not here anymore."

Mattingly welcomes 'positive energy'

CHICAGO -- Manager Don Mattingly, who has maintained the belief that the Dodgers' off-the-field matters haven't affected the players, acknowledges that the atmosphere around the club has changed now that it's been sold.

"I think the guys are excited from the standpoint of the positive energy around our club," Mattingly said while chairman and controlling partner Mark Walter, his family and new president Stan Kasten greeted players before batting practice at Wrigley Field on Saturday.

"For two years, we've been dealing with soap opera-ish stuff in the papers, making fun of the Dodgers and the way we're run. To have a group come in with the reputation like Stan Kasten and Magic Johnson and the Guggenheim Partners and to talk about the credibility and that they'll run this like a first-class operation, the guys like hearing that. You like to be somewhere people respect what you're trying to do."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.