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Movie Review + Open Thread: Cubs vs. Brewers, Thursday 6/23

This is normally when I'd write up something about the previous day's game, offer my thoughts on what I'd seen or heard, and then later in the day, post the open thread for the game.

Since today's game starts in only a few hours, this post will have to suffice for both -- see the starting pitcher box at the bottom of the thread.

I was going to try to crank up WGN Radio again to listen to last night's game. But by the time I got back from seeing the excellent documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room,it was already 8-0 Brewers, and though I tried to use the radio anyway, I gave up after a few minutes, watched a bit of the Boston-Cleveland game on ESPN, and went to sleep figuring the Cubs would finish up the loss.

They did manage four runs and lost 9-4, and the only redeeming feature of the game was Rich Hill's outstanding 4 1/3 hitless innings with six strikeouts in relief of Carlos Zambrano, who was just awful and gave up all eight second-inning runs in the worst start of his career. Hill also got his first major-league hit.

Does this mean Hill has earned a shot at the starting rotation? No, not with Mark Prior likely back this Sunday and Kerry Wood back sometime next week after one more rehab start -- but it's nice to know that Hill can fill a couple of different roles, long reliever or LOOGY. He's taken a step to the front of the bullpen.

Dusty's lineup selection last night bordered on the bizarre -- until I learned that Corey Patterson had actually asked to hit leadoff.

Gee, that worked really well, didn't it? 0-for-4 with two more strikeouts? Corey's OPS is now .688, which would be really bad if he were Neifi!, but for a guy who's supposed to have both power and speed, it's really awful -- awful enough that you'd almost have to consider sending him to Iowa to work on things, if you could do such a thing (a veteran like Corey could reject such an assignment and very likely would do so).

Joe Borowski allowed another home run in his inning of work (to Carlos Lee, who is now a lifetime .317 hitter against the Cubs with 11 HR in 180 at-bats. And the reason the Cubs didn't try to acquire him in the off-season is what, exactly, again?)... and much as it pains me to say this, it's time for you to go, Joe. I say that with sadness rather than bitterness.

About the movie: you are all probably quite familiar with the Enron story, but this movie, well-narrated by Peter Coyote, puts everything in perspective, shows how it happened from beginning to end. It's based on a book with the same title by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind of Fortune magazine, and McLean is interviewed extensively, along with Enron exec whistle-blower Sherron Watkins, and other stock analysts and former Enron employees.

The blame is squarely placed where it belonged, with three executives: Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling and Andy Fastow. Fastow's already serving a prison term, and as the movie reminds us, Skilling and Lay's trials aren't coming up till next January. What would be a suitable punishment for all of them would be to force restitution to all the thousands of Enron employees who lost their livelihoods and life savings and pensions when Enron collapsed.

Well worth your time. AYRating: 3 1/2 stars

Today's Starting Pitchers
Glendon Rusch
G. Rusch
vs. Ben Sheets
B. Sheets
5-3 W-L 3-6
2.86 ERA 3.19
52 SO 51
29 BB 15
3 HR 10

Sheets is sort of the reverse Don Sutton of his day -- Sutton lost the first 13 decisions of his career to the Cubs, then couldn't lose to them. Sheets, on the other hand, was nearly untouchable by Cub hitters the first couple of years of his career, but they've hit him lately -- he is 7-6 in 16 career starts, with a 3.64 ERA.

The stat that stands out to me for Sheets is the 10 homers allowed in 59 innings (comparison point: Rusch has allowed 3 HR in 71 IP). The ball carries very well in Miller Park with the roof open, as it should be today for a day game. So, Dusty should stack the lineup with that in mind.

Should and will, as we know, are two different things. Winning three of four in this series is nearly imperative.

Discuss amongst yourselves.