How About 17 More Today? - Cubs vs. Pirates Preview, Saturday 8/15, 12:05 CT

Obviously, it won't be as easy against Zach Duke, but sometimes when you start hitting, it's contagious and continues for more than just one day. We still don't know, as of this writing, whether Aramis Ramirez will be over his cold from yesterday and be able to play:

"I think the best way to do this is, he'll let us know, and that's the best way," manager Lou Piniella said of Ramirez's availability. "I certainly don't want to play anybody who's not 100 percent or doesn't feel he's 100 percent, doesn't feel he could go out there and contribute as much as he could.

"He knows himself much better than anybody else. When he can't make it, let me know or let the trainer know, and that's the end of it. We'll get somebody else out there."

As I noted yesterday, Ramirez's car was in the players' parking lot early. But it was long gone by the time the game ended. Meanwhile, Toni Ginnetti's notes column in the Sun-Times this morning has this on all the rookies who have pitched for the Cubs this year:

Justin Berg is the ninth rookie to pitch for the Cubs this season, one short of the franchise record from 1958 and 1962.

The 1958 Cubs were 46-42 and only 2.5 games out of first place on July 18, before going into a 26-40 tailspin and finishing 72-82 in Ernie Banks' first MVP season. Of the ten rookies who pitched that year, only three -- Glen Hobbie, John Buzhardt and Dick Ellsworth -- had even modestly successful major league careers. The 1962 Cubs, as you likely know, set the franchise record for losses with 103 -- that was a truly terrible team, and only Cal Koonce among that year's rookie pitchers went on to even some major league success. This year's team is better than that, and Randy Wells is a genuine Rookie of the Year candidate. In the cases of Hobbie and Ellsworth, their careers were ruined by injuries suffered because, in part, they were ridden far too hard at very young ages -- look at the innings they had piled up by the time they were Wells' age. Thus, I'm glad the Cubs are being careful not to push too many innings on Wells, a converted catcher, this year.

Some of you sharp-eyed BCB'ers (actually, all you had to do was read the post) noticed that Roy Oswalt's photo appeared above Charlie Morton's statistics in yesterday's game preview post. You've discovered a BCB "secret" -- I have templates stored for every Cub starter, and Wells' happens to have Oswalt as the opposing pitcher because of this game from May 16, which is when I stored that template. I had meant to change it but forgot before I left for the game. Now you know -- and some of the comments were pretty funny.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Tom Gorzelanny
Tom Gorzelanny
Cubs
vs. Zach Duke
Zach Duke
Pirates
4-2 W-L 9-10
6.23 ERA 3.40
14 SO 78
5 BB 38
2 HR 15
vs. Pit -- vs. Cubs
Note: Gorzelanny's numbers below are with the Cubs only. See the pitcher box for his full-season numbers.

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Tom Gorzelanny 1-1 2 2 0 0 0 0 8.2 9 7 7 2 1 7 7.27 1.15


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Zach Duke 9-10 24 23 3 1 0 0 158.2 159 63 60 16 38 78 3.40 1.24

Zach Duke is 4-6, 3.09 in 15 career starts vs. the Cubs, his most against any team. This year in two starts he has a 3.21 ERA in 14 innings vs. the Cubs, but the Cubs won both games, on May 27 because the Pirates had a bad bullpen, and on June 29 because the Pirates had no offense. Both are likely repeats today. Maybe Alfonso Soriano can get untracked vs. Duke; he's 15-for-33 (.455) with 4 doubles and 2 HR vs. Duke. Maybe that's why he looks so angry in that photo.

Tom Gorzelanny, obviously, is making his first start against his former team. He's excited to make his first Wrigley start as a Cub, but said all the right things so it doesn't wind up on the visiting clubhouse bulletin board:

"It's never a piece of cake with them," Gorzelanny said of his former club. "When I was there we always thought a lot of teams thought that about the Pirates, that they could just come in and sweep us, but there are some good players out there and they play hard. It's not going to be easy."

The only current Pirates Gorzo has faced are Ronny Cedeno (4-for-12) and Lastings Milledge (2-for-4).

Thanks to Bud's Stupid Blackout Rules, you can see this game only on cable in Chicago and Pittsburgh, and on MLB.TV. For other games today see the MLB.com Mediacenter.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Pirates site Bucs Dugout.

Overflow comment threads will post today at 1 pm, 2 pm and 2:45 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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