Chicago Cubs vs. Milwaukee Brewers Preview, Monday 4/9, 6:05 CT

Chicago, IL, USA; This is the play that almost blew Sunday's game -- Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro commits a throwing error during the ninth inning against the Washington Nationals at Wrigley Field. The Cubs won 4-3. Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE

Aramis Ramirez was a Cub for 8½ seasons. Most of his seasons here were good ones; his injuries prevented more of those. He is responsible for one of the most dramatic walkoff home runs in recent Cubs history (and, at that, only one week after he returned from a three-week DL stint). His 239 home runs as a Cub rank sixth in team history; only Hall of Famers Ron Santo, Ryne Sandberg, Ernie Banks and Billy Williams, as well as Sammy Sosa, had more (and Ramirez's total was put up in the fewest PA of anyone in the top eight on that list).

A-Ram deserves, at the very least, polite applause as he returns to Wrigley Field tonight as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers. He was a key part of three Cubs playoff teams. I'll certainly give him that.

After that, I hope Cubs pitchers get him out every single time they face him.

Now, about Ryan Braun, who has never been liked at Wrigley -- he'll be making his first road-game appearance of 2012. The reaction will be interesting.

Don't forget, an hour earlier than usual tonight at 6:05 p.m. CT.

Cubs lineup:

DeJesus RF, Barney 2B, Castro SS, Soriano LF, Stewart 3B, LaHair 1B, Soto C, Byrd CF, Volstad P

Brewers lineup:

Weeks 2b, Morgan cf, Braun lf, Ramirez 3b, Hart rf, Gamel 1b, Gonzalez ss, Lucroy c, Marcum p
Today's Starting Pitchers
Chris Volstad
Chris Volstad
Cubs
vs. Shaun Marcum
Shaun Marcum
Brewers
5-13 W-L 13-7
4.89 ERA 3.54
117 SO 158
49 BB 57
13 HR 22
vs. Mil -- vs. Cubs

Stats are final 2011 season numbers

Chris Volstad had one of his better starts of 2011 against the Brewers on Sept. 23 at Miller Park, when he threw seven innings and gave up just six hits and a run (a solo HR by Prince Fielder), with no walks. A repeat of that tonight would be nice. The Brewer who has hit him best in the past is Aramis Ramirez (6-for-12, two doubles, a HR).

Also, when Volstad throws his first pitch tonight, he will set a team record.

What record is that, you ask? He'll become the tallest player in Cubs history at 6-foot-8. Previous record holders: Sean Marshall, Dennis Rasmussen, Dave Otto, Jerry Spradlin, Tim Stoddard, Bob Scanlan, Rick Sutcliffe, Rich Bordi and Dave Pavlas, all 6-foot-7.

Shaun Marcum defeated the Cubs twice in 2011, including this dominant performance on Sept. 20 at Wrigley Field. The only run that day was a home run by Starlin Castro; that's the only homer any current Cub has hit off him. Current Cubs are hitting .143 (9-for-63) against Marcum. Clearly, we are doomed.

Today's game is on WCIU, FSN Wisconsin and ESPN. Theoretically, that means that everyone can see this game. However, I have in the past received reports that certain people (mainly in downstate Illinois) have been blacked out of ESPN's coverage for games like this because they are in a WCIU area -- even though they can't get WCIU on their cable systems. Thanks, Bud. 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. The usual caution is advised.

Today's first pitch thread will post at 6:05 p.m. CDT and the overflows at 7:05, 8:05 and 8:50 p.m. 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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