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Open Thread: Cubs vs. Phillies, Monday 9/18, 6:05 CT

Normally, as most of you know, I post something in the morning even when there isn't a night game to recap.

Today, with the season winding down, there really wasn't too much to write about -- which is why there was no morning post. So, I am posting some miscellaneous stuff here, along with the game thread, to try to generate some discussion.

Here's something to chew on, and I post this with no agenda, simply to point out an interesting statistical note.

At this moment, with twelve games remaining in the season, Dusty Baker's record as manager of the Cubs is 317-319. Thus, in order for him to finish (yes, I am presuming he is finished) with a winning Cub managerial record, the Cubs would have to go 8-4 in those twelve games. I'm also adding this note to the right sidebar.

Fifty-five men have managed the Chicago Cubs. Of the fifty-four preceding Baker, only fourteen (Cap Anson, Tom Burns, Frank Chance, Leo Durocher, John Evers, Jim Frey, Charlie Grimm, Gabby Hartnett, Rogers Hornsby, Bill Killefer, Joe McCarthy, Fred Mitchell, Frank Selee and Don Zimmer) have had winning records, and three others (Jim Lefebvre, Bob Ferguson and John Vukovich, though Vukovich managed only two games) were exactly at .500. And of those with over-.500 records, only Durocher, Frey and Zimmer accomplished that since the Cubs' last pennant in 1945.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Sean Marshall
S. Marshall
vs. Jon Lieber
J. Lieber
5-9 W-L 8-9
5.34 ERA 4.87
71 SO 91
54 BB 24
18 HR 24
vs. Phi -- vs. Cubs

Funny thing. When the Phillies traded Bobby Abreu to the Yankees, everyone thought it was a White Flag sort of deal. But the Phillies are 28-17 since August 1, and only one game behind the wild-card-leading Dodgers. And one of the biggest reasons for that is Lieber, a guy some teams were interested in dealing for -- but backed off in part because on July 31, he got pounded by the Marlins and his record stood at 4-9, with a 6.09 ERA.

Since then, in seven starts (including a 6-5 win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field on August 21), he's 4-0 with a 2.74 ERA and four (!) walks and 36 strikeouts in 49.1 innings. He's one of the biggest reasons the Phillies still have a good shot at the playoffs.

Sometimes the best deals are the ones you don't make.

Ryan Howard is an equal-opportunity destroyer; he's got 41 HR in 358 AB vs. RHP, and 16 HR in 180 AB vs. LHP. So Sean Marshall, a lefty, is just as likely to be a power target of Howard's, than any righty. Marshall has never faced the Phillies. Cubs Gameday

Discuss amongst yourselves.