Apres Le Deluge, Cubs Go For Two In A Row: Cubs vs. Pirates, Wednesday 5/27, 1:20 CT

Jake Fox (who will wear uniform #5) has been called up from Iowa, as first posted here by a friend of Fox's brother. (Yes, really!) As also posted here earlier today, Andres Blanco (uniform #13) and Jason Waddell (uniform #43) have been added to the 25-man (and 40-man, which now stands at 38) roster. Neal Cotts and Bobby Scales were sent to Iowa and Aaron Miles was placed on the 15-day DL (really? When did he get hurt?).

Meanwhile, Reed Johnson had words of wisdom for Milton Bradley:

"I told him, if you get behind in the count 0-1, you've got to believe in yourself that you're a good enough player to overcome one bad call in an at-bat," Johnson said. "If you fall behind because an umpire, you think, makes a bad call, that doesn't mean you have to shut down your at-bat and that at-bat is over."

You'd think this would be obvious, but Johnson explained why he felt he had to say that:

"You'd really be surprised," Johnson said. "Some of the 20 greatest players in the game, when they go through struggles, and this game is so humbling, that no matter how talented these guys are, that they have thoughts and doubts. They might not wear it on their sleeves."

Smart guy. That's what I'm talking about when I speak at times of "good clubhouse guys" or intangibles. Chris DeLuca summarizes the point:

Maybe Bradley is improving at the plate. But the Cubs need Bradley to improve his attitude. They need him to stop worrying about everyone from the umpires to the media to the fans being out to get him. They need him to focus on the game -- and only the game.

There's a little war of words going on between umpire Bob Davidson and Ted Lilly over Lilly's ejection from Monday's game:

Davidson said Lilly lied to the media afterward when discussing the incident. Did Davidson ever make contact with Lilly, as Lilly said Monday?

"There was no contact," Davidson said. "We never came close, on his part or mine. And everything he said to [the media] was bull. Everything I read in the paper that he said was untrue. He never said one of those words. What he said to me, you couldn't print in the paper."

Lilly said Monday he told Davidson to "concentrate."

Since there was no contact, Lilly is likely to be fined, but not suspended. What's most interesting in that article is this:

MLB umpiring supervisors grade umpires on a daily basis after reviewing videotapes.

Davidson said out of 215 pitches Monday, he was told he'd missed 10.

"Eight of them were pitches I called strikes that shouldn't have been," he said. "The other two, one went against Pittsburgh and one went against Chicago. My concentration was excellent."

So an umpire admits publicly that he missed the call on 4.7% of the pitches in a game? That seems like a large number to me -- any one of those could have changed the complexion of the game.

Finally, here are some fun facts about rain-shortened games: they are, as you might guess, relatively rare. The Cubs have now played two of them this year and won both. That's even rarer. Since divisional play began in 1969 the Cubs have played two or more rain-shortened games only eight times (1969, 1970, 1976, 1978, 1990, 1993, 1999 and 2006), and won two in one year only twice (1978, 1990). The last time the Cubs won two rain-shortened games at Wrigley Field in one season was 50 years ago, in 1959, when they won three of them.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Carlos Zambrano
Carlos Zambrano
Cubs
vs. Zach Duke
Zach Duke
Pirates
3-2 W-L 5-4
4.64 ERA 2.77
40 SO 39
18 BB 15
4 HR 4
vs. Pit -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Carlos Zambrano 3-2 11 7 0 0 0 0 42.2 43 23 22 4 18 40 4.64 1.43


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Zach Duke 5-4 9 9 2 1 0 0 65.0 55 22 20 4 15 39 2.77 1.08

Zach Duke is having a fine year -- his best since his rookie season of 2005, during which he threw eight scoreless innings against the Cubs in his third major league start on July 16. However, this is a very different Cub team, and two of them in particular -- Alfonso Soriano (14-for-25, .560, 3 doubles, 2 HR) and Reed Johnson (6-for-14, .429, 2 doubles) hit him exceptionally well. Expect Johnson to start in CF today.

Carlos Zambrano's career mark vs. Pittsburgh isn't that great -- 10-6, 4.12 in 24 appearances (22 starts). However, none of the Pirates who could play in today's game have hit him well. The last time Z faced Pittsburgh, last August 26, he got cuffed around pretty good, but the Cubs won anyway -- Z had three no-decisions and a win in four starts vs. the Pirates last year.

The Cubs are back on WGN today; also on FSN Pittsburgh, which should be carried via EI. For today's other games see the MLB.com Mediacenter.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Overflow comment threads will post today at 2:15 pm, 3:15 pm and 4 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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