Open Thread: Cubs vs. Astros, Wednesday 6/7, 1:05 CT

Does the photo of today's Astros starter, Chris Sampson, look a little odd to you?

Today's Starting Pitchers
Sean Marshall
S. Marshall
Cubs
vs. Chris Sampson
C. Sampson
Astros
3-3 W-L 0-0
4.80 ERA 5.06
42 SO 4
27 BB 1
4 HR 1
vs. Hou -- vs. Cubs

It's from last year, when he was pitching for the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks.

The only photo I could find of him wearing an Astros uniform looks even worse:

Sampson actually has a pretty interesting story behind his emergence as a pitcher at age 28:

Seven years ago, though, [his baseball] dream faded away. Sampson spent the 1999 season as a shortstop with Class A Auburn, where he batted .239 with one homer that season.

Not exactly Jeff Bagwell-like numbers, so Sampson figured hitting wasn't his calling. He retired.

Over the next three seasons, he coached at a community college in Dallas and began pitching on the side.

"I was throwing [batting practice] to keep my arm in shape," Sampson said.

And pitching, Sampson discovered, was his hidden talent. He gave the Astros a call in 2003 to tell them.

"We had him here at Minute Maid Park -- he threw for us, threw good," general manager Tim Purpura said before Friday night's game.

Sampson threw so well that Purpura signed him to a Minor League deal. Sampson's success carried over to this season at Round Rock, where he compiled a 7-1 record with a 2.64 ERA in 10 starts.

This has all the earmarks of a disaster, of course. The Cubs usually do very poorly against guys like this.

There's not much else to tell about this matchup. Marshall has yet to face the Astros. Sampson's only major league appearance to date was last Friday, in relief after last night's starter, Wandy Rodriguez, got pounded by the Reds.

It's a rare weekday afternoon game in Houston (the Astros won't play another weekday afternoon home game till September). The Cubs need a win to win their third straight series.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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