Welcome, Tom Ricketts And Welcome Back, Aramis Ramirez: Cubs vs. Braves Preview, Monday 7/6, 6:05 CT

For those excited about today's announcement that Tribune Co. and Tom Ricketts had reached a deal regarding the sale of the Cubs, temper your excitement for... well, who knows how long.

When Tribune Co. bought the Cubs in 1981, it took two and a half months to finish the deal -- and part of that time was when the players were on strike, so it wasn't as if the Cubs had anything like baseball games to think about during the interim time. I suppose the strike might have delayed the final sale, but that is something now lost to the mists of time. But it's not as if Ricketts has been handed the keys today, either. No press conference has been held and until I see one with Tribco execs and Tom Ricketts shaking hands, I'll presume it's business as usual. A more likely scenario is for the transfer to be made official when the season is over, because not only does a much larger amount of money have to change hands now than 28 years ago, almost $900 million now as opposed to about $20 million then, and there's the matter of a bankruptcy court signing off on this deal as well as MLB owners (though I have been told by someone who knows these matters better than I do that the bankruptcy court won't be an issue either). You can presume that the owners approval is a formality.

Further, don't expect wholesale changes. I would argue you don't need many -- this team has been wildly successful off the field and over the last two years, on it (well, except for little details like playoff wins). When Mark Cuban, darling of so many here, took over the Dallas Mavericks -- a franchise in far worse shape then than the Cubs are now -- he didn't fire a single person. Instead, he enhanced and added to the staff, and that's what I'd expect the Ricketts group to do. That's what excites me, not a pitchfork-bearing mob outside of Jim Hendry's office.

At the time I wrote this -- midafternoon -- there had not yet been announcements of the expected roster moves today welcoming back Aramis Ramirez, Reed Johnson and Angel Guzman. If I had to guess -- and this is strictly speculation -- I think Jeff Samardzija and Kevin Hart are headed off the pitching staff, and Micah Hoffpauir off the bench, leaving the Cubs with 11 pitchers from now till the All-Star break.

In the meantime, there are games to be won; more below the fold. (And remember, tonight is an hour earlier than usual, 6:05 pm CDT.)

Today's Starting Pitchers
Randy Wells
Randy Wells
Cubs
vs. Jair Jurrjens
Jair Jurrjens
Braves
3-3 W-L 6-6
2.43 ERA 2.73
45 SO 74
14 BB 38
4 HR 6
vs. Atl -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Randy Wells 3-3 10 10 0 0 0 0 63.0 54 18 17 4 14 45 2.43 1.08


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Jair Jurrjens 6-6 19 17 0 0 0 0 102.1 89 37 31 6 38 74 2.73 1.24

Jair Jurrjens has never faced the Cubs -- they missed him last year at Wrigley when he tripped down the dugout steps and Jeff Bennett replaced him. That was the game that Bennett hit Alfonso Soriano with a pitch and put him out for five weeks. Then the Cubs were supposed to face Jurrjens in the game that was rained out in Atlanta last month. He has faced only one Cub on the active roster -- Jeff Baker (1-for-4).

Tonight will be Randy Wells' first big test -- the Braves are the first team he's making his second start against. He threw really well against them on June 2 in Atlanta, but that was one of at least four starts where Randy got a no-decision where he could have had a win. The bullpen blew that one. He gave up only two hits that day -- a single to Chipper Jones and a homer to Garret Anderson.

Today's game will be available nationally on ESPN. It's also on CSN Chicago, but there is no Atlanta local TV. 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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