Open Thread: Cubs vs. Diamondbacks, Sunday 5/11, 1:20 CT

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Arizona Diamondbacks
@ Chicago Cubs

Sunday, May 11, 2008, 1:20 PM CDT
Wrigley Field

Randy Johnson vs Carlos Zambrano

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What is it about the Cubs and Mother's Day? Every year when the Cubs are scheduled at home on this day, the weather is horrendous. Here are some examples from the last few years alone:
  • 2002: The game was delayed by rain over two hours and they might as well have not bothered. The Brewers beat up on Jon Lieber and three other pitchers 13-4.
  • 2003: This is what we who were there not-so-affectionately call the "Typhoon Game", played in 48-degree weather with the wind blowing at about 40 MPH and a steady rain. They managed to play four innings with the Cardinals leading 11-9 when the umpiring crew -- headed by who else, Cub-hater Bruce Froemming, finally called it. Here's what I wrote about it at the time on my old blog. The Cardinals' Eli Marrero suffered a severe ankle injury which pretty much ruined the rest of his career.
  • 2004: Well, at least it was warmer, 80 degrees at game time. This game had three rain delays and went 13 innings; the result was also better. The Cubs won, 7-5 over the Rockies.

Ugh. That's enough. I think whoever the new ownership of the Cubs winds up being, ought to petition the commissioner's office to never, ever, ever, EVER again schedule the Cubs at home on Mother's Day, especially because the weather's going to be crappy again today. In fact, I'd say there's a pretty good chance that today's game will be postponed. The Cubs and Diamondbacks have common off days on July 7 and July 17 -- look for a possible rescheduling on one of those dates, if there's a rainout today.

In fact, let me get on my BCB soapbox for a moment. At this writing -- 10:15 am CDT -- it is absolutely pouring rain in Chicago, 46 degrees and very windy. Yes, I realize there is a lot of money at stake for a postponed game, and yes, I also realize that the new field at Wrigley has a great drainage system. But it is supposed to rain steadily till at least 4:00 this afternoon, and after that it'll be cold and raw. Why not call the game NOW and play it on one of the open dates in July? Then there's no money lost and they can play in better conditions.

Meanwhile, Ryan Dempster has donated 50 tickets to military families disrupted by the war in Iraq for today's game:

"We always do it for Father's Day," Dempster said on Friday, "but I think Mother's Day is just as important."

Dempster started the ticket program a few years ago, and usually hosts families on Father's Day. Because the Cubs will be on the road then, Dempster decided to switch to Mother's Day. The families invited include some whose moms are serving overseas.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Carlos Zambrano
C. Zambrano
Cubs
vs. Randy Johnson
R. Johnson
Diamondbacks
5-1 W-L 2-1
1.80 ERA 5.06
38 SO 28
14 BB 11
3 HR 4
vs. Ari -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2008 - Carlos Zambrano 5-1 8 8 0 0 0 0 55.0 47 11 11 3 14 38 1.80 1.11


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2008 - Randy Johnson 2-1 5 5 0 0 0 0 26.2 27 20 15 4 11 28 5.06 1.43

I'm going to write about this pitching matchup as if the game will be played, but of course I'm hoping it won't be.

Since this is probably the last game Randy Johnson will ever pitch in Wrigley Field (barring a postseason Cub/D'back rematch this year), rather than the traditional batter vs. pitcher numbers, I thought I'd talk about Johnson's first appearance in Wrigley Field, nearly 20 years ago on September 20, 1988, when he was a 25-year-old rookie for the Montreal Expos. (Yes, that's right, the Expos. Johnson was shipped to Seattle the next summer for Mark Langston, as the Expos, contenders, wanted a starting pitcher.) Anyway, Johnson, in what was only his second major league start, threw a complete game with 11 strikeouts. But that's not what was remarkable. In the 7th inning, he singled for his first major league hit. And the Cubs' 1B in that game was Manny Trillo. Trillo is generously listed as being 6-1 (he's probably closer to 5-11). Johnson is, as you know, 6-10. I wasn't at this game, but seeing the shot of Johnson on TV, standing at 1B next to Trillo, made Trillo look like a little kid, an indelible memory of Randy Johnson, soon headed to the Hall of Fame.

As for Z, he's been solid all year long, and unlike his last appearance against the D'backs last October, I'm guessing Lou would very much like Z to throw at least seven innings today. He is 1-2, 4.88 in four career regular season starts against Arizona.

Today's game, as Friday's was, on WGN and FSN Arizona. For other games see today's MLB.com Mediacenter.

MLB.com Gameday (2007 version)

MLB.com Gameday (2008 version)

Baseball-reference.com game preview

Today's overflow comment thread will post at 2:45 pm CT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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