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Open Thread: Cubs vs. Reds, Friday 4/13, 1:20 CT

I looked outside this morning and the sky was a funny shade of blue instead of its normal gray... wondering what was going on, I realized that the sun was actually shining; even with a predicted temperature in the upper 40's, it ought to be a very good day for baseball today!

Today is Friday the 13th. For those of you who are superstitious, the last time the Cubs played a game on Friday the 13th was in 2005 at Washington, the first game they had played in DC after the Expos' move there. The Cubs won that game 6-3. It is, to this date, still the only game they have won in Washington since the creation of the new Nats -- they lost the other two games in that series and got swept there in 2006.

Today's pitcher box is one of my favorites. You're scratching your head asking why, right? It's because it's a rematch of an earlier matchup from this year -- thus, all I have to change is the stats, not the pitchers' Yahoo and ESPN code numbers. Less typing, you see.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Carlos Zambrano
C. Zambrano
vs. Aaron Harang
A. Harang
1-1 W-L 2-0
6.00 ERA 3.55
8 SO 11
7 BB 3
4 HR 1
vs. Cin -- vs. Cubs
While Z's record looks ugly, it looks a lot better than it did after his first start, and he now has one more victory than he did in the entire month of April 2006. Other series notes: the Reds will be without their regular SS, Alex Gonzalez (not the ex-Cub, the other one!), who is back in his home country of Venezuela, on the bereavement list. Josh Hamilton, who the Cubs took in the Rule V draft and then traded to the Reds by prearrangement, has homered in his last two games and may wind up staying in their starting lineup.

Here are all the essentials for today's game: Mediacenter; the game is on CSN today, so if you don't have MLB.TV or live in the Chicago area, you'll have to have EI to see it. Gameday

And, for the Reds fan point of view, please visit our SBNation Reds site Red Reporter, where you will learn, among other things, that Pete Rose once threw a bat into the stands, injuring a child, and that Pete's daughter appeared in the movie "Jeepers Creepers 2".

Finally, I wasn't going to comment on the latest installment of the Woodprior Circus, but then I got an email from BCB reader Jerod Zakson, who just happened to be at the May 27, 2005 game where Prior was hit on the elbow. He wrote me:

I had my camera that day and took a series of pictures of his pitching motion for posterity sake - not thinking that he may never return to form.

What's amazing is comparing your pictures to mine. While we've obviously only captured his motion in 1/1250 of a second increments, it's really clear to me that he looks uncomfortable on the mound. I'm attaching my pictures of his delivery. Compared to your two the difference is (to me) stunning - especially the third photo below.

Oh, and check out the difference in his calves!

The pictures he's referring to were the ones I posted on March 16 when I saw him throw at Fitch Park in Mesa. Jerod attached these photos, and I think the difference is indeed stunning.

(as always, click on thumbnail to view full-size in new browser window. If you are using IE, you may have to click the lower-right corner of the image in the new window to expand it to its full size; in Firefox click anywhere on the image. Photos by Jerod Zakson)