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Open Thread: NLDS Game #3 -- Cubs vs. Diamondbacks, Saturday 10/6, 5:00 CT

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Three words:

Must. Win. Today.

There are four teams that have come back from a 0-2 deficit to win a Division Series. One of them was the 1995 Mariners, who finished the regular season with a 17-5 run to win the AL West, then came back against the Yankees after losing the first two games -- on the road. Their manager? Lou Piniella. 1995 was also the only season, before this year, where all four Division Series started 2-0.

Yes, I am well aware that was twelve years ago, and history isn't necessarily a predictor. But if anyone will have his team prepared to win the next three games -- and this Cub team has, as you know, tended to be a very streaky team -- it's Lou.

Game 3 Starting Pitchers
Rich Hill
R. Hill
vs. Livan Hernandez
L. Hernandez
11-8 W-L 11-11
3.92 ERA 4.93
183 SO 90
63 BB 79
27 HR 34
vs. Ari -- vs. Cubs
A lot of you are going to bitch about Jason Kendall starting today, especially since Geovany Soto has hit the only Cub HR in the series. (Incidentally, there has been only one other rookie Cub who has homered in a postseason game -- Frank Demaree, who homered in game 4 of the 1932 World Series.) Lou, however, is a big believer in matchups. Kendall is 11-for-31 (.355/.394/.452) lifetime vs. Hernandez. There's the reason. Other current Cubs have hit him, too: Cliff Floyd, 14-for-41 (.341/.429/.561), 3 doubles, 2 HR; Aramis Ramirez, 10-for-26 (.385/.385/.962), 3 doubles, 4 HR, and Mark DeRosa, 5-for-14 (.357/.400/.500), 2 doubles. Hernandez is 4-3, 2.92 at Wrigley Field in his career, but has not pitched there since May 16, 2006, when the Cubs beat him 4-0 in one of the seven games they won that month. Hernandez was second in the majors (to Woody Williams) in HR allowed this season with 34 -- so maybe, just maybe, the Cubs can get their power bats going on what is going to be a summerlike early evening, with the gametime temperature likely to be near 80 degrees with the wind blowing out.

Rich Hill faced the Diamondbacks on July 21 at Wrigley Field, gave them only one earned run in six innings, and got a no-decision; the Cubs lost that game when Bob Howry allowed a deciding HR to Stephen Drew. Hill threw great against the Reds a week ago in Cincinnati, giving them only one hit in six shutout innings. He has held all current D'backs to a .220 average in his career (9-for-41); the only current D'back who has homered off him is Eric Byrnes. Tonight, Hill becomes the 8th lefthander to start a postseason game for the Cubs (Ted Lilly, 2007; Steve Trout, 1984; Ray Prim, 1945; Larry French, 1935; Hippo Vaughn, 1918; Lefty Tyler, 1918; and Jack Pfiester, 1906-07-08, are the others). Gameday (2007 version) Gameday (2006 version)

Discuss amongst yourselves.