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Open Thread: Cubs vs. Pirates, Friday 7/6, 6:05 CT

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Remember back in May when the Brewers started 24-10, and the Cubs were "already" 6.5 games behind, and if the Brewers played .500 ball the rest of the year... ?

Well, since that date Milwaukee is 24-27; the Cubs are, since May 9, 27-26, and the Cubs have picked up two games in the standings (three games since the Cubs' low point on June 2; since then they're 21-10, the best record in baseball). The two teams swap opponents this weekend, the Cubs going to Pittsburgh, where -- thankyouverymuch! -- the Bucs took 3 of 4 from Milwaukee, and the Brewers go to Washington. The Nats aren't very good, as we learned, but the Brewers don't play very well on the road (18-24, compared to the Cubs' 23-20 road record). If the Cubs can pick up one more game this weekend, heading into the break no more than 3.5 games behind, that'll be a road trip well played.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Jason Marquis
J. Marquis
Cubs
vs. Paul Maholm
P. Maholm
Pirates
6-4 W-L 4-11
3.31 ERA 4.74
59 SO 63
38 BB 30
10 HR 15
vs. Pit -- vs. Cubs
Keep Jason Bay far away from Jason Marquis -- he's .419/.486/1.000 in 31 lifetime AB, with four doubles, a triple and four HR. Marquis threw very well in his last start, and has had a fine first half, even while struggling for a few weeks.

One of Maholm's four wins was at Wrigley Field on May 10; apart from that, a shutout of the Astros on April 24, and a one-run, seven-inning performance over the White Sox on June 15, Maholm has been pretty bad all season. However, he has never lost to the Cubs (3-0 career) despite a 4.88 ERA in four lifetime starts. Time to change that record tonight.

Tonight is one of those TV oddities; because the game is on CSN Plus (with the White Sox getting the primary CSN channel), those of you in Chicago who don't have access to CLTV or an alternate channel showing the game won't be able to see it, while those outside Chicago with EI will. Or, try the Mediacenter.

MLB.com Gameday (2007 version)

MLB.com Gameday (2006 version)

Discuss amongst yourselves.