Open Thread: Cubs vs. Marlins, Tuesday 9/25, 6:05 CT

Here we go! Figured you'd like to start weighing in early, so this is up early.

Oh, and we really owe these guys one.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Ted Lilly
T. Lilly
Cubs
vs. Dontrelle Willis
D. Willis
Marlins
15-7 W-L 9-15
3.78 ERA 5.32
168 SO 137
54 BB 79
28 HR 28
vs. Fla -- vs. Cubs
Ted Lilly is 0-3, 5.16 in four career starts vs. the Marlins. Many would look at that and cringe, but it doesn't mean that much. Only one of those was this year -- on May 30 at Wrigley Field. Lilly gave up five runs in seven innings, but also struck out nine. Before that his previous start vs. Florida was in 2003, ironically enough, against Dontrelle Willis. He also faced them in 2001 as a Yankee and as a 23-year old Montreal Expos rookie (get a load of some of the people who played in that game!). It's all virtually meaningless, although Dan Uggla is 2-for-3 (both HR) off Lilly, and Miguel Olivo 4-for-8 with 3 HR.

If Lilly gets the win tonight, that would be the most wins in a season by a Cubs lefthander since 1970, when Kenny Holtzman won 17.

Dontrelle Willis is an enigma. He's having the worst year of his career at an age (25) when he should be starting to peak. Always a good hitter, he's having the best year of his career at the plate (.271/.328/.475, 2 doubles, 2 triples, 2 HR in 59 AB). Maybe he should try the Rick Ankiel track? Anyway, he's started eight career games against the Cubs and is 3-3, 4.16; the Cubs hit him pretty hard on May 29 at Wrigley Field -- HR by Theriot and D-Lee, but the Marlins won. Alfonso Soriano has him figured out (.471/.526/.765 -- 8-for-17, 2 doubles, a HR); Mark DeRosa (5-for-10, a double, a HR) and Matt Murton (4-for-7, a double) have also hit him hard.

Alternate-year rule: the Cubs swept the Marlins in Miami in 2005, and got swept there in 2006. Here's hoping the "odd-numbered year" rule is in effect this week.

Record possibilities: the 38 HR the Cubs have hit this September have tied the team record for HR in September, set in 2004. And Alfonso Soriano's 12 HR this month is one short of the club record for HR in September -- 13, set by Ernie Banks in 1957.

Club record notes: the Cubs are 61-42 since June 2, the best record in the NL since that date, and 50-34 since June 23, the best record in the NL Central since that date (by seven games over the Reds).

Today's game is the final WCIU game of the year in the Chicago area, meaning it'll be available to those with enormous rabbit ears on their TV's. Or local cable. Or EI, or today's Mediacenter link.

MLB.com Gameday (2007 version)

MLB.com Gameday (2006 version)

MLB.com Gameday for the Brewers/Cardinals game (7:05 CT start)

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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