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Open Thread: Cubs vs. Pirates, Wednesday 5/2, 11:35 CT

Before we talk about the completion of yesterday's suspended game, which will take place before the regular game this morning (or afternoon, depending on the time zone you inhabit), a quiz.

Which of these is the real Pittsburgh Pirate?

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

I have to believe that the Pirates players must be completely embarrassed every time they put on those jerseys. What was the ballclub thinking? They'd go really well with one of those paper hats with the golden arches on them. Can't you just see Jose Bautista, shown above after tagging Derrek Lee out trying to steal last night, settling down, and then saying, "May I take your order, please?" And just what color is that? Red? Orange? Even Len Kasper chimed in, telling viewers: "Don't adjust your TV set."

Horrid. If I'm the Pirates players, I think I'd have a mass burning of those shirts.

About what's been played so far in Tuesday night's game, the single most important blow of the season so far was likely delivered by Cliff Floyd, a two-run HR into the Allegheny River beyond the RF wall at PNC Park that has, at this writing, given the Cubs a 6-5 lead. This was after Ted Lilly had his first really bad outing of the season, blowing a lead that Alfonso Soriano had given him with a leadoff homer (talk about turning the page -- after a horrendous April, Soriano hit the third pitch he saw in the month of May out of the ballpark). The Cubs trailed 5-2 when their bats suddenly exploded with five consecutive hits. In order, they were: Cesar Izturis, single; Matt Murton, pinch-hit double; Soriano, double, Floyd's HR and a Derrek Lee double.

Incidentally, Lee has now doubled in seven consecutive games and has sixteen for the season -- that'd put him on pace, ridiculously, for 104 doubles for the season. That won't happen, but this bears watching: the major league record for doubles in a season is 67, set by Earl Webb in 1931. The NL record is 64, set by Joe Medwick in 1936. No one has hit 60 doubles in a season since then; Todd Helton of the Rockies came closest, with 59 in 2000.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Jason Marquis
J. Marquis
vs. Ian Snell
I. Snell
3-1 W-L 2-1
2.35 ERA 1.59
14 SO 28
13 BB 11
1 HR 1
vs. Pit -- vs. Cubs
So many of you think Jason Marquis is going to blow up and be the pitcher who sucked last year. There's no sign of that so far, despite the fact that he didn't strike out anyone last Friday in St. Louis. Snell has thrown very well for the Pirates so far this season.

But before that, all eyes will be on the last two-plus innings of the suspended game. Before lights were installed in Wrigley Field, suspended games there in the 1970's and 1980's were fairly common due to darkness, generally following long rain delays; some memorable suspended games include the following:

  • This 1978 game against the Giants; it was the last game that year in Chicago vs. the Giants, so it was finished at Candlestick Park a week later.
  • This 1979 game vs. the Reds was suspended after nine innings. When it was resumed two months later, the teams played nine more innings, trading runs in the 11th before the Cubs won in the 18th.
  • This 1982 game vs. the Dodgers wound up being the longest Cub game in sixty years, 21 innings, with the winning run scoring on a disputed play at the plate, pitchers Fernando Valenzuela and Bob Welch playing the outfield, and multiple ejections (read the PBP for the descriptions).
  • In this 1986 game, Barry Bonds made an appearance -- on the date of the resumption, August 11. According to his page, Bonds' ML debut was on May 30, 1986 vs. the Dodgers. But technically, since all stats for suspended games are considered to have been registered on the original game date, his "debut" was really on April 20, 1986, as is shown on his 1986 game log.
  • Future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux made his major league debut in the resumption of a suspended game, this one on September 3, 1986, the completion of a game suspended the day before -- as a pinch runner. Maddux remained in the game to pitch and gave up the game-winning hit, a home run by ex-Cub Billy Hatcher.
The last time the Cubs were involved in a suspended game was ten years ago, April 5, 1997 in Atlanta; that game was suspended under a MLB rule that had just been passed, providing that any game rain-delayed past 12:45 am local time would be automatically suspended. As noted in the game thread yesterday, last night's game was suspended under the provisions of MLB Rule 4.12(a)(5):
(a) A game shall become a suspended game that must be completed at a future date if the game is terminated for any of the following reasons: ...

(5) Weather, if a regulation game is called while an inning is in progress and before the inning is completed, and the visiting team has scored one or more runs to take the lead, and the home team has not retaken the lead

There! Suspended Game Class is now over. Let's just win. Both games will be on CSN and at the Mediacenter.

Suspended game Gameday

Regularly scheduled game Gameday

Finally, the Mitzvah Project Auctions are live on eBay as of last night. There are quite a few terrific items, including baseballs from Hall of Famers Ernie Banks and Billy Williams, current Cubs Carlos Zambrano and Alfonso Soriano, items signed by members of the Bears including coach Lovie Smith, former coach Mike Ditka, Tommie Harris and Richard Dent. All the proceeds are for a good cause, too.

Discuss amongst yourselves.