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Open Thread: Cubs vs. Reds, Sunday 9/17, 1:20 CT

If the Cubs win today, they will have won back-to-back series.

They haven't done that since the end of July, when they took two of three in New York, and then swept a four-game series from the Cardinals at Wrigley Field.

Doesn't that seem as if it were about five years ago?

More amazing notes from yesterday, from

Rich Hill threw a two-hitter against the Reds at Wrigley Field. Hill became the first rookie to toss a shutout for a team managed by Dusty Baker. Since the team's last NL pennant in 1945, only one other Cubs rookie left-hander has pitched a shutout allowing two or fewer hits: Jamie Moyer on Aug. 16, 1986, at Montreal.

The Cubs were the last team to throw a complete game this season. No team has gone an entire season without one. The only team to go further into a season without a pitcher going all the way was last year's Devil Rays, who didn't get a CG until their 161st game (Mark Hendrickson). Saturday was the Cubs' 149th game.

Aramis Ramirez drove in two runs in the Cubs' 4-0 win, giving him 102 RBI for the season. Chicago has scored 4.27 runs per game in 2006, the lowest average in the majors, slightly worse than Tampa Bay (4.29). Only one player has ever driven in 100 runs for the team with the lowest scoring average in the majors. Wally Berger had 130 RBI for the 1935 Braves.

[Incidentally, the 1935 Braves were one of the worst teams in baseball history, going 38-115. Check out their roster to see just how bad they were. It's remarkable.]

(emphasis in first paragraph, and stat notes and links, added by me)

Today's Starting Pitchers
Carlos Zambrano
C. Zambrano
vs. Eric Milton
E. Milton
14-6 W-L 8-7
3.50 ERA 4.84
188 SO 89
104 BB 42
19 HR 27
vs. Cin -- vs. Cubs
Z takes the mound today for the first time since he walked off thirteen days ago with back trouble. He's supposedly healthy, and may get to squeeze in two more starts after this one. If he throws well in all of them, wins them, and leads the league in strikeouts and wins, he's still got a chance at the Cy Young Award. Otherwise, I suspect Chris Carpenter's going to win it again.

Eric Milton has cut down on his HR allowed this year, which has also allowed him to cut his ERA by a run and a half. Two of his eight wins this year have come against the Cubs, and in 20.2 IP in three starts vs. the Cubs this year, he's allowed only three HR. That may be more of a comment on the weak-hitting Cubs, than on any improvement in Milton himself. Today, the wind should be blowing out pretty strongly; that ought to make it an interesting day for Mr. Milton. Aramis Ramirez (3 HR, .333 in 27 career AB) and Matt Murton (7-for-16, a double, a triple, a HR) have feasted off Milton in the past. Cubs Gameday

Discuss amongst yourselves.