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LAD@SF: Billingsley throws seven scoreless vs. Giants

Both the Cubs and Dodgers were busy at the July 31 Trade Deadline. But while Los Angeles added pieces to the current puzzle, Chicago went the other way, gutting a large portion of its foundation in preparation for the future.

Each team's new players will be at Dodger Stadium this weekend, as the Cubs open a six-game road trip on Friday. In the first of three games at Chavez Ravine, the Cubs will send Jeff Samardzija to the hill against Chad Billingsley.

For the Dodgers, new acquisitions include former All-Stars Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino. They also added a couple of pitchers in left-hander Randy Choate and right-hander Brandon League, an All-Star last season.

"We definitely want to win this year," said Magic Johnson, Lakers legend and Dodgers part-owner. "We're not sitting back, waiting on next year or the year after. We want to win now."

That sentiment probably won't be echoed very forcefully in the visitors' clubhouse, where the Cubs will continue trying to remain competitive despite the departures of Ryan Dempster, Paul Maholm, Reed Johnson and Geovany Soto.

Dempster actually wanted to join the Dodgers, but he wound up with the the Rangers when Chicago and Los Angeles couldn't agree on terms.

Another Cubs veteran, Alfonso Soriano, stayed put at the Deadline.

"It's tough," Soriano said. "We see a couple key players leave. There's two months, and we have to keep grinding and play hard. I know they want to build a new team and young guys and that's good, but we have two months left in the season. It's not over yet."

Cubs: Samardzija looks to replicate past success
In five July appearances, Samardzija went 2-1 with a 1.91 ERA. He has recorded quality starts in two straight outings, throwing eight scoreless innings on July 23 and allowing two runs in six innings on July 28. The right-hander would do well to continue July's success in August rather than that of June, when he went 0-4 with a 10.41 ERA.

• To fill roster space created by trades, the Cubs recalled infielder Adrian Cardenas, catcher Welington Castillo and pitcher Casey Coleman from Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday. Coleman took the loss that evening, throwing 4 2/3 innings and allowing four runs. In the same game, Cardenas' eighth-inning, pinch-hit single broke up A.J. Burnett's no-hitter with four outs to go. Castillo started behind the dish on Wednesday, belting a two-run homer off All-Star closer Joel Hanrahan, as Chicago dropped the rubber game to Pittsburgh.

Dodgers: Billingsley eyes third straight win
Billingsley enters his start against Chicago having won two straight. He allowed one run in seven innings on July 23 and threw 7 1/3 shutout innings on July 28. Pitching at Wrigley Field earlier this season, the right-hander earned a loss after surrendering four runs in six innings. He struck out four, walked three and served up a solo shot to Joe Mather.

• The Dodgers on Wednesday designated veteran outfielder Bobby Abreu for assignment. In 70 games with Los Angeles, Abreu hit .251 with two home runs and 17 RBIs. He signed with the club on May 4.

Worth noting
• The Cubs took two out of three games from the Dodgers at home in May. In 2011, the teams split the season series, 3-3.

• Chicago finished July with a 15-10 record, giving the team its first winning month since August 2011, when the Cubs went 16-13. The last time they finished a July with a winning record was 2009.

• In their most recent series, the Dodgers were swept by National League West-rival Arizona. They were held to two hits in Wednesday's loss, with one coming from outfielder Matt Kemp. In 18 games since returning from the DL, Kemp is hitting .350 (28-for-80).

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