Open Thread: Cubs vs. Diamondbacks, Friday 8/24, 8:40 CT

SAN FRANCISCO -- Yes, I'm still in the Bay Area, returning to Chicago tonight (I hope, anyway, with the weather forecast being bad again), so I thought I'd get tonight's game thread posted early, as well as post a few morning headlines.

Daryle Ward's sorry he got picked off. OK, buddy. Next time think a little bit first!

Lou says he thinks there will be one more move before September 1. It could be a relief pitcher. And maybe, just maybe, Alfonso Soriano will return for the Brewers series next Tuesday. Or not -- Lou says he's going to be very careful with Soriano.

Meanwhile, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Sun-Times reminds us of all the angst the Cubs have gone through this year:

Coming off a 96-loss season, a clubhouse full of newly signed veterans had trouble adjusting to its new -- and less tolerant -- manager, had even more trouble playing smart baseball, was booed and criticized for underachieving after a $300 million winter spending spree, underwent constant lineup changes and roster shuffling, had a players-only bitch session followed promptly by a blowout loss to the Marlins, watched its pitching ace wrestle with emotions and command for two months because ownership tabled his contract extension, watched said ace punch his catcher in the mouth, lost the manager for a four-game suspension over a hat- and dirt-kicking tirade, lost All-Star first baseman Derrek Lee for five games for taking a swipe at a pitcher (on the other team), couldn't win a one-run game for two months, couldn't win an extra-innings game for three, dumped its problem catcher and Gold Glove shortstop in one-sided trades, left Jacque Jones twisting in the wind while trying unsuccessfully to trade him and lost $136 million outfielder Alfonso Soriano for three weeks and counting.
And then goes on to say that the winner of the NL Central could win it all. Why not?
Today's Starting Pitchers
Sean Marshall
S. Marshall
Cubs
vs. Micah Owings
M. Owings
D'backs
6-6 W-L 6-6
4.21 ERA 4.70
53 SO 85
26 BB 44
11 HR 14
vs. Ari -- vs. Cubs
Micah Owings hit two home runs and had a double and six RBI in his last start; the 11 total bases is the most for a pitcher in sixty-five years. But in addition to his hitting prowess, after tonight's game he is singlehandedly going to remove all the floodwaters from the Chicago area and break the downed trees into wood chips.

In more prosaic matters, he allowed two runs in four innings in what was eventually a 3-2 D'backs win in Chicago on July 21. He got a no-decision. The next day, Sean Marshall gave Arizona only one run in six innings, but the Cubs couldn't score off four D'back pitchers and lost 3-0.

The Cubs have not won in Bank Holding Company Ballpark since April 4, 2005, Opening Day that year, when they won a 16-6 blowout. Of the Cubs who played that day, only Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez remain with the club. (Also note who started at catcher for Arizona that day.) Time to end that drought!

Tonight is cable-only in the Chicago and Phoenix markets, so try the Mediacenter if you don't have cable or EI.

MLB.com Gameday (2007 version)

MLB.com Gameday (2006 version)

MLB.com Gameday for tonight's Braves/Cardinals game

MLB.com Gameday for tonight's Brewers/Giants game

UPDATE [2007-8-24 11:13:47 by Al]: I've posted a ticket exchange for the upcoming homestand (and also for the Cardinals makeup game on 9/10).

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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