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Open Thread: Cubs vs. Cardinals, Friday 4/27, 7:05 CT

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There's no doubt that this road trip, six divisional games with the Cardinals and Pirates, will go a long way toward telling us whether the Cubs can right the ship and contend in the mediocre NL Central (where only one team, the Brewers, is over .500 at this writing), or whether this season is going to be another failure.

I'm going with the former. Anyone care to join me?

Today's Starting Pitchers
Jason Marquis
J. Marquis
Cubs
vs. Anthony Reyes
A. Reyes
Cardinals
2-1 W-L 0-3
1.88 ERA 5.63
14 SO 10
10 BB 14
0 HR 1
vs. StL -- vs. Cubs
This is a rematch of last Saturday's 6-0 Cub win over the Cardinals at Wrigley Field, Jason Marquis' best start since he threw eight shutout innings against the Dodgers last July 23. In 24 innings he has yet to allow a HR. Can he keep up this sort of performance all year? Doubtful, but he has continued the consistent pitching he showed in spring training through his first three regular season starts.

As I said to the group in the bleachers this week -- who would you rather have now -- Ted Lilly and Jason Marquis, or Jason Schmidt? So far, Jim Hendry's pitching signings look good. Note I said so far.

The Cardinals have only one starting pitcher -- Braden Looper, of all people -- with an ERA under 4.70. Albert Pujols has hit better after a very poor start.

One more thing about Reyes. What's with that cap he's wearing in that photo?

After this weekend the Cubs and Cardinals will not meet until the last week of July, making this series, if not critical, at least pivotal.

The game is on WGN tonight -- that makes two WGN games in a row, and with Fox-TV coverage tomorrow, and ESPN's national telecast on Sunday night, most of you will be able to see the entire series. Check the Mediacenter for more.

MLB.com Gameday

And for the Cardinals fan point of view, please visit our friendly rivals at Viva El Birdos.

Discuss amongst yourselves.