It's currently 38 degrees in Chicago. It's not going to get any warmer this evening, although at this writing it appears the rain is going to hold off and they'll get the game in.
Which raises this question: how many people will actually show up at Wrigley Field tonight. (Besides me, that is.) Most likely, a crowd of about 27,000 will be announced. They're not likely to get any walkup sale, and the Bulls playoff game against the Pacers at the United Center will begin when the Cubs game is about in the fifth inning or so (8:30 p.m. CDT). Anyone who has tickets to both has surely decided to head to the UC, and most of the rest of the fans of both teams will be sitting in front of a TV this evening.
Over/under for fans actually in the park: 10,000. Over/under for fans actually in the park when the game ends: 2,000 (less if the Cubs are losing by a lot, which, of course, we hope they aren't).
Castro SS, Barney 2B, Byrd CF, Ramirez 3B, Peña 1B, Soriano LF, Fukudome RF, Soto C, Zambrano P
Sigh. Soto eighth, again. Byrd still third.
Venable RF, Headley 3B, Hudson 2B, Cantu 1B, Hundley C, Ludwick LF, Maybin CF, Bartlett SS, Stauffer P
And one more lineup that's important for tonight.
Rose g, Bogans g, Noah c, Deng f, Boozer f
|Today's Starting Pitchers|
|2011 - Carlos Zambrano||2-0||3||3||0||0||0||0||17.2||19||12||12||3||9||13||6.11||1.58|
|2011 - Tim Stauffer||0-1||3||3||0||0||0||0||15.0||23||8||8||1||5||7||4.80||1.87|
These two pitchers matched up on September 27, 2010 in San Diego, when the Padres were in a desperate run to make the playoffs. Z shut them out for seven innings and the Cubs won 1-0. It was the second good game Z threw vs. San Diego after his return last August. The Padre who hits him best is Ryan Ludwick (8-for-19, two HR).
Big Z's home run in his last start in Houston was the 22nd of his career, by far the most among active pitchers (Livan Hernandez is second with 10). It also meant he's the first pitcher to homer in nine consecutive seasons since Gary Peters did it for the White Sox and Red Sox from 1963-71). Only two other pitchers have longer streaks: Dizzy Trout (11 years, 1942-52) and Warren Spahn (17 years, 1948-64). The all-time record for pitcher HR is 37, held by Wes Ferrell, who played in the 1920s and 1930s. Z ranks tied for 10th on the all-time pitcher list; next up are Walter Johnson and Bob Gibson, who both hit 24 (Johnson had 23 as a pitcher, one as a PH).
Tim Stauffer has made only one other start vs. the Cubs besides that 2010 game, and that was back in 2005, so it's pretty irrelevant. He has had a rough first three starts this year, with a 1.87 WHIP. Let's see if we can keep that going tonight.
Today's game is on WCIU. This is the second of six games on WCIU this year. It's also on "4 San Diego", a local cable channel there. It is listed on EI's list of games, so if you have that service, you should be able to see it. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.
Today's first pitch thread will be up at 7 p.m. CDT and the overflow threads will post at 8 pm, 9 pm and 9:45 pm CDT. If you need more overflows due to rain delays or extra innings, post them in the fanshot section.
Discuss amongst yourselves.