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Open Thread: Cubs vs. Diamondbacks, Saturday 8/25, 8:40 CT

The Cubs, as noted in the comments in the recap of last night's game, are 66-61 -- precisely the record they had on August 22, 2003, after 127 games had been played in that year's schedule. Coincidentally -- or, perhaps not -- that 127th game in 2003 was also a win, on a Friday night in Arizona. In fact, Carlos Zambrano took a no-hitter into the 8th inning that night.

From that date on, the 2003 Cubs went 22-13 (and, in fact, didn't really get hot till they went 3-5 from Aug. 23-31, including some really tough losses at St. Louis. They were 19-8 in September). If the 2007 Cubs can match that -- and I think they can -- I believe the division is winnable.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Ted Lilly
T. Lilly
vs. Doug Davis
D. Davis
13-6 W-L 10-11
3.88 ERA 4.22
132 SO 107
46 BB 81
22 HR 18
vs. Ari -- vs. Cubs
Both of these lefthanders have had their ups and downs this year. Ted Lilly's had more ups than downs -- but which one do we get tonight? The one who shut the Cardinals down a month ago today in St. Louis? Or the Lilly who got cuffed around by those same Cardinals last Monday? He hasn't faced the Diamondbacks since June 13, 2004, and the only current D'back he's got a significant history with is Tony Clark (5-for-21, 1 HR) who won't start tonight.

Same thing with Doug Davis. Is he the guy who shut out the Dodgers for 8 innings on August 3? Or, the pitcher that the Brewers beat around pretty good last Sunday? (We hope the latter!) Davis hasn't faced the Cubs this year, but is 6-5, 3.58 in 12 career starts. Jacque Jones is 5-for-14 against Davis, odd because he usually doesn't hit lefties (although this year he is: .283/.356/.396 in 61 PA); Jason Kendall is 4-for-13 with four walks, and I'll bet you that Craig Monroe (who has never faced Davis) is the sort of hitter who can hit a guy like this really, really hard. That's a frighteningly large number of walks, too (2nd in the NL to Noah Lowry). Maybe the Cubs can be a little patient tonight? (Yes, I am aware that Carlos Zambrano has the same number of walks. In twenty more innings pitched.)

Tonight's game is on WGN. It's not listed on my Comcast list of Extra Innings games, so if you don't have WGN, here's today's Mediacenter link. Gameday (2007 version) Gameday (2006 version) Gameday for tonight's Braves/Cardinals game Gameday for tonight's Brewers/Giants game

Finally, I was remiss yesterday in not mentioning our SB Nation D'backs site, AZ SnakePit, especially since Jim, the proprietor, was nice enough to have me over to his house last March during spring training for a barbecue. Although, if you read his recap of last night's game, he didn't have a lot of nice things to say about Cubs fans. He DID say the D'backs might be interested in Bob Wickman, to which I say: GOOD! Sign him up in time for tonight's game!

Discuss amongst yourselves.