Open Thread: Cubs vs. Cardinals, Friday 4/20, 1:20 CT

The last 24 hours have been pretty much a blur -- I spent a little over a day traveling to and from New York, going to the Yankees game and attending my DGA council meeting last night.

Thus, I have absolutely nothing to add to all of your comments about the Cubs' impressive 3-0 shutout of the Braves last night, since I didn't see any of it. Looks like Rich Hill is the ace of the staff, for now, at least -- and once Z gets his act together, that can only improve the club's chances of putting together a nice little winning streak.

At last, the weather forecast looks spectacular for this weekend -- that link says 73 for Sunday, but I've seen others that say it may touch 80. About time!

Derrek Lee, who had such a miserable 2006 due to his injury, seems to be ready to take off. He's currently leading the NL in both BA and OBA -- but without a home run. Time to change that, starting today!

Today's Starting Pitchers
Ted Lilly
T. Lilly
Cubs
vs. Braden Looper
B. Looper
Cardinals
1-1 W-L 2-1
2.37 ERA 2.37
24 SO 9
3 BB 6
0 HR 1
vs. StL -- vs. Cubs
Look really carefully at Lilly's K/BB ratio. Three walks and 24 K's? When have we seen that sort of thing from a Cub pitcher? And no home runs in 19 innings?

Let's hope it continues today. Lilly and Looper have thrown the same number of innings (19) and allowed the same number of earmed runs (5), so those identical-looking ERA's are, in fact, exactly identical. The 24 strikeouts still rank second in the NL, four behind Brandon Webb. Lilly, despite playing most of his career in the AL, has faced some of the Cardinals, and handled them pretty well, even Albert Pujols, who he has limited to two singles in six at-bats, striking him out twice.

Looper, as you likely know, had made 572 relief apperances in the major leagues without a start before moving into the Cardinals' starting rotation this season. I have my doubts about whether he can hold up for a full year -- maybe the Cubs can start to put a dent in that decent record today. Looper has a career 2.87 ERA against the Cubs in 32 relief appearances covering 37.2 innings, but that really doesn't give any indication of how he'll do as a starter. Michael Barrett is 7-for-11 vs. Looper in his career, five singles and two doubles. I had expected Henry Blanco to start last night so a rested Barrett could play today -- obviously, with Barrett's big HR last night, it worked out fine, but he ought to start again today vs. a pitcher he's pounded.

Here's today's Mediacenter, along with an advance reminder that tomorrow's game is a regional telecast on Fox, and since one of their other games is Yankees/Red Sox, any of you who live in the Eastern time zone will probably not be able to see the Cubs tomorrow.

MLB.com Gameday

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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