Pick Up The Pieces: Cubs vs. Braves, Wednesday 6/3, 6:10 CT

Well, did she make you cry
Make you break down
Shatter your illusions of love
And is it over now -- do you know how
Pick up the pieces and go home
-- Fleetwood Mac, "Gold Dust Woman"

No, this season is not "over now", but if the Cubs are going to show some of the heart that any championship team has, they'll have to pick up the pieces of last night's shattered game and defeat the Braves tonight. They have now lost seven consecutive road games and you don't want that to become a habit.

In the thread this morning, someone mentioned this game vs. the Mets at Shea on May 17, 2007, a similar epic meltdown to last night where the bullpen (in that case, Ryan Dempster and Scott Eyre) blew a four-run 9th-inning lead and the Cubs lost 6-5. They were at the time under .500 and seven games out of first place. And yet, that team came back to make the playoffs. (Oh, and just for grins, take note of who started that game, and pitched pretty well.)

Rich Harden is doing well in his rehab:

Harden, who last pitched May 17, is to throw a longer pen on Thursday and then either throw a simulated game or a make a minor-league rehab start a few days after that.

Barring a setback, that could put him on pace for a return to the rotation when the team returns home for a three-game series June 12-14 against Minnesota.

But the team isn't suffering without him in the rotation. The bullpen is where the Cubs need help. I'm not suggesting that Harden be moved to relief, either -- but the pen, which was (mostly) blown up over the winter, needs to be fixed.

Oddity: on their 25-man rosters, the Cubs and Braves both have players named Soriano, Johnson and Blanco, and each team has a Japanese native.

Via Twittermyer, tonight's lineup:

Soriano, lf; Theriot, 2b; Fukudome, rf; Lee, 1b; Fontenot, 3b; Johnson, cf; Hill, c; Blanco, 2b; Lilly, p (Ted batting ninth again)
Today's Starting Pitchers
Ted Lilly
Ted Lilly
Cubs
vs. Derek Lowe
Derek Lowe
Braves
5-4 W-L 6-3
3.77 ERA 3.49
47 SO 41
14 BB 22
10 HR 2
vs. Atl -- vs. Cubs

It seems like Derek Lowe has always been tough on the Cubs, but in eight career starts he's only 2-1, 3.25, slightly better than his career totals. Of the current Cubs, Derrek Lee -- who hit well last night -- hits him well (11-for 28, .393, a HR). So does Reed Johnson, who'll likely get more playing time tonight with Milton Bradley's status iffy (4-for-11, a double, 5 RBI).

Ted Lilly has been the Cubs' most consistent starter all year. The only thing he's done poorly is allow too many homers -- 10 of them. But the only player on the Braves' active roster who has homered off Ted is little-used reserve Greg Norton. The thing that's going to keep the Cubs afloat in these tough times is the good starting pitching they've received. I expect that to continue tonight.

Maybe you'd have been happier if last night's game had NOT been on WGN. You've got your wish tonight -- cable only. For other games today see the MLB.com Mediacenter.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Overflow comment threads will post today at 7 pm, 8 pm and 8:45 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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