Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers Preview, Wednesday 9/21, 1:20 CT: The 2011 Wrigley Field Finale

Write your own caption. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

This really is the end of an era.

There are three players who have been on the 2011 Cubs who also played for the 2003 NL Central champions: Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Zambrano and Kerry Wood.

One of them almost certainly won't be back next season and there's uncertainty about whether the other two will return. So the team that takes the field April 5, 2012 against the Nationals will likely look very different from the one that finishes up this afternoon against the Brewers. This is a positive thing, as it is time to look forward into (hopefully) a brighter future.

None of those three will play this afternoon; Ramirez and Wood are both hurt (A-Ram hurt a quad Tuesday night and is day-to-day and may not play at all the rest of the year, and Wood will be having knee surgery soon) and Zambrano is ... well, somewhere other than Wrigley Field. So we'll say our farewells and hope the Cubs can at least finish the season on a winning note.

Another man who may not be back is manager Mike Quade. He continues to make decisions as if this team were in a hot pennant race; Tuesday night John Gaub warmed up, but when it came time to put another pitcher in to throw the ninth inning with a 5-1 deficit, it was John Grabow. Now we hear that Rodrigo Lopez is going to throw against the Cardinals on Saturday; that should have been Casey Coleman's turn. Never mind that Coleman just threw the best game of his career against a top offensive team, and it's much more likely that Coleman is part of the Cubs' future than Lopez.

Nope. Skip the kid. Play the vet. I will be glad when the new GM names a new manager.

Cubs lineup:

Castro SS, LeMahieu 3B, Johnson RF, Baker 2B, Soto C, Byrd CF, Soriano LF, LaHair 1B, Garza P

Brewers lineup:

Hart rf, Morgan cf, Braun lf, Fielder 1b, Weeks 2b, Hairston 3b, Betancourt ss, Kottaras c, Wolf p
Today's Starting Pitchers
Matt Garza
Matt Garza
Cubs
vs. Randy Wolf
Randy Wolf
Brewers
8-10 W-L 13-9
3.51 ERA 3.45
179 SO 126
60 BB 62
14 HR 22
vs. Mil -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Matt Garza 8-10 29 29 1 0 0 0 182.0 175 87 71 14 60 179 3.51 1.29


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Randy Wolf 13-9 31 31 0 0 0 0 200.2 195 85 77 22 62 126 3.45 1.28

Matt Garza has started twice against the Brewers this year with a 7.71 ERA. In his last start against them, June 16 at Wrigley Field, he gave up home runs to George Kottaras and Ryan Braun, but the Cubs won anyway. The Cubs are 5-1 in Garza's last six starts and he's posted a 2.55 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in those games, while allowing just three HR in 42.1 innings. Individual pitcher W/L records don't mean that much any more, but Garza will have today plus one more shot at getting his record evened up for the year.

Randy Wolf has had a good year for the Brewers, similar to the season he had in 2009 when he helped the Dodgers to the playoffs. He has a 1.37 ERA in three starts against the Cubs this year. Current Cubs are hitting .253 (45-for-206) off him, with 10 home runs. The wind is supposed to be blowing out today. Could be fun times. (Just what is Wolf looking at in that photo?)

Today's game is on WGN and FSN Wisconsin. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Brewers site Brew Crew Ball. As always, be careful over there.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 1:20 p.m. CDT and the overflow threads will post at 2:15 pm, 3:15 pm and 4 pm CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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