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Baseball With Breakfast ... Open Thread: Cubs vs. Nationals, Wednesday 7/4, 11:05 am CT

And if you're on the West Coast, this game will begin at nine in the morning on a holiday. Quick turnaround indeed, and then the Cubs won't play again till tomorrow night.

Meanwhile, the most important thing about last night's 3-1 Cub win over the Nationals was the fact that they actually gained a game on the Brewers, who lost in Pittsburgh 6-2. It's the first time since June 15 that they've been within 5.5 games of first place; a similar result today would put them as close to first as they've been since April 28. The Cubs:

  • are 10-1 in their last 11 games (last time they had a streak this hot was the 12-game winning streak they had from May 19-June 2, 2001);
  • are 20-9 (.690) since the Mt. Lou eruption on June 2, the hottest team in baseball since then; and
  • are now within 5 games of the wildcard lead.
Just a quick summary of last night, since today's game begins in less than three hours: it was yet another team win. Mike Fontenot, who wouldn't have played last night had Aramis Ramirez not needed a rest in order to play today, made a sparkling diving catch with two runners on in the second inning, saving at least one run; Cliff Floyd had a two-run single and also made a nice catch with runners on in the 5th, after the Nats had scored their lone run of the evening.

And, Carlos Zambrano continued his amazing resurgence from a horrid start this season; he is now tied for the league lead in wins with ten (yes, yes, I know, wins for individual pitchers don't mean all that much), and has a chance to be the league leader should he win his next start on Sunday in Pittsburgh. In his last six starts he's 5-1, 1.42, with 51 strikeouts in 44.1 innings, and since April 18, he has lowered his ERA from 7.77 to 4.04. Oh, and he also singled and scored, raising his batting average to .256.

Len and Bob got so bored that they started talking presidential trivia, spurred on, no doubt, by the sight of the Racing Presidents, one of the oddest sights I think I've ever seen at a ballpark. Think about this for a second. Sausages in Milwaukee. Pierogies in Pittsburgh. And Presidents in Washington. The mind boggles.

Incidentally, the funniest thing about that link above, which sends you to a page where you can book the Racing Presidents for local appearances in the DC area (!) is this:

We require that the event location(s) have ceilings or overhead areas 12 feet or higher to accomodate the Presidents' size.
Well, yeah, I guess. The mind is still boggling. Anyway, it's onward to more baseball in just a couple of hours!
Today's Starting Pitchers
Rich Hill
R. Hill
vs. Matt Chico
M. Chico
5-5 W-L 3-5
3.49 ERA 4.74
90 SO 47
31 BB 39
16 HR 13
vs. Mil -- vs. Cubs
Hill threw six-innings and allowed one run in a victory against the Nats in a 5-3 Cubs win at Wrigley Field on May 5, his only career start vs. Washington. However, Hill's won only one game since then. He's been better on the road this season (3-3, 2.91) than at home (2-2, 4.35).

Matt Chico -- who is in his rookie season and thus, perhaps, does not know how to properly pose for his headshot -- has a 1.55 WHIP and a 4.54 ERA. He is the only Nats pitcher who has spent the entire season in their rotation. Incidentally, there was some confusion about a statement made the other day on Nats TV about how many men have pitched/started for Washington this season. Again, the answer could have been found simply by clicking here. The Nats have had 10 different pitchers start a game for them this year, including Tim Redding last night; Redding became the 21st pitcher to appear in a Washington uniform this year.

Today's breakfast date is on WGN and at the Mediacenter. Gameday (2007 version) Gameday (2006 version)

Discuss amongst yourselves.