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

UPDATE [2007-8-7 17:12:32 by Al]: This just in! Will Ohman has been optioned to Iowa and Sean Gallagher recalled. All I can say is, wow.

The Yahoo preview of tonight's game focuses on the wrong thing:

The Chicago Cubs struggled offensively in their first game without injured outfielder Alfonso Soriano...

Chicago (58-53) didn't respond well in its first game without Soriano, managing only five hits while striking out 13 times in a 2-1, 10-inning loss.

That wasn't all missing Soriano -- no one hit last night, and it's not as if Soriano doesn't strike out, either; his 95 K's lead the team, and by a considerable margin (Derrek Lee is second with 79). Last night the Cubs ran into a pitcher who's been almost unhittable in his home park.

Other notes: the Cubs' 36-22 record since June 3 is still best in the NL; their +53 run differential still leads the NL; the Cubs have hit 236 doubles (including Ryan Theriot's two last night). That's 2nd in the NL and on pace to break the club record for doubles in a season, 340, set in 1931.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Sean Marshall
S. Marshall
vs. Woody Williams
W. Williams
5-5 W-L 5-12
3.86 ERA 5.37
50 SO 69
23 BB 36
7 HR 25
vs. Hou -- vs. Cubs
Woody Williams is 3-9, 4.42 in 18 games (17 starts) lifetime vs. the Cubs. But what is freakish is his mark against them this year:
vs. Cubs: 2 G, 13 IP, 0-1, 2.77 vs. others: 22 G, 126 IP, 5-11, 5.64
Well now, that doesn't make a whole lot of sense, does it? There are four Cubs who usually eat Williams' pitches for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night snacks: Aramis Ramirez (13-for-43, 2 doubles, 2 HR, .302/.333/.488), Derrek Lee (10-for-31, 3 doubles, .323/.400/.419), Cliff Floyd (10-for-27, 2 HR, .370/.393/.630), and, most shockingly, Jason Kendall (18-for-35, 2 doubles, a HR, .514/.553/.657).

So let's go and light up the Juice Box tonight. Williams may be late arriving, as he has to save some puppies, feed some hungry Houstonians at a nearby homeless shelter, take tickets at one of the turnstiles, and cut the ballpark grass into one of those wacky patterns before his start.

Sean Marshall got pounded his last time out, raising his ERA from 3.10 to 3.86. However, on the road this year he's 3-1, 2.60, and has a 3.00 ERA in 3 lifetime starts vs. Houston (although a 1-2 record). Chris Burke hits him hard (5-for-7 lifetime with a HR).

Another cable-only extravaganza is also available at the Mediacenter. Gameday (2007 version) Gameday (2006 version) Gameday for the Brewers/Rockies game

Discuss amongst yourselves.