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Open Thread: Cubs vs. Pirates, Tuesday 5/8, 7:05 CT

Didn't we just play these guys?

And didn't we just discuss, here at BCB last week, how the fancy computer scheduling company that took over the contract in 2005 was supposed to avoid such "semi-repeater" series?

Oh, well. Back to the drawing board. In any case, this scheduling may help the Cubs, as they are hot (5 in a row, 8 of 9), and the Pirates are still, well, the Pirates.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Ted Lilly
T. Lilly
vs. Ian Snell
I. Snell
2-2 W-L 2-2
2.82 ERA 2.31
38 SO 31
6 BB 15
2 HR 2
vs. Pit -- vs. Cubs
Snell's having a good year, but the Cubs beat him up pretty good last week in Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, Lilly didn't face Snell when he faced the Bucs last week, and also got cuffed around by them, although the Cubs won that game anyway. With temperatures in the 70's this afternoon, and the air feeling pretty humid, it could be a high-scoring evening. And yes, Lilly really does have a 38-6 K/BB ratio -- spectacularly good if he can keep it up all year.

The Cubs have the second-best run differential in the NL (+34 runs, 142-108; the Mets are first at +52). The 108 runs allowed is fewest in the NL. Who'd have guessed that this offseason?

And the Cubs have drawn 96 walks in their 29 games. That's not that many -- it ranks 13th in the NL -- but consider this: that's 3.31 walks per game, almost a full walk more per game than last year's 2.44 per game. However, combine that with the 2nd-ranked BA, and the Cubs' OBA ranks sixth (2006 ranking: dead last). And not coincidentally, the 142 runs ranks eighth, as opposed to last year's full-season run ranking, fifteenth.

This club seems to have completely shed the hack-a-matic ways of Dusty Baker and enjoys clogging the bases with baserunners, no matter how they get there.

Today is another WCIU game, meaning you can only receive it if you have a monkey run up and down your street with a special antenna; however, it should be available on Extra Innings via FSN Pittsburgh. It is, as always, at the Mediacenter. Gameday

Also, again please visit our Pirates fan friends (yes, they do have some fans!) at Bucs Dugout.

Finally, there are only a few hours to go for the excellent autographed ball auctions from my daughter Rachel's friend Jenna's Mitzvah Project auctions on eBay; they all end this evening. Take a close look at the Super Bowl Bears football, which at this writing seems a "relative" bargain at $760.

Discuss amongst yourselves.