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

Believe it or not, the Cubs have been swept in a three-game series only once this season -- by the Marlins, at Wrigley Field, from May 28-30.

I don't think I have to tell you how imperative it is to NOT get swept today, especially since the Cubs now have a chance to again tie for first place, with the Brewers getting blasted by the Rockies. (Yes, I know the game's not over, but at this writing it's 16-3 Rockies. Even in Denver, that's probably a safe lead.)

Felix Pie returns to the ballclub tonight, replacing Angel Pagan, who is headed to the DL. Funny, I don't remember him getting hurt last night. Anyway, I presume Pie has not been recalled to sit on the bench.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Carlos Zambrano
C. Zambrano
vs. Roy Oswalt
R. Oswalt
14-7 W-L 11-6
3.42 ERA 3.55
133 SO 119
72 BB 48
18 HR 13
vs. Hou -- vs. Cubs
There are positive signs for tonight. Z has always thrown (21 consecutive scoreless innings at Minute Maid Park) -- and hit (three of his 12 career HR have been hit at the Juice Box) -- well in Houston. He has the best ERA in baseball since June 6 (1.43 -- nearly a run better than the second best, Mark Buehrle, 2.30). He's 8-2 in 13 starts following a Cub loss this year. Despite the seven walks in his last start, Z has been the club's most consistent starter for the last two months.

His second strikeout tonight will give him 1000 for his career.

The Cubs cuffed Oswalt around pretty well on July 14 at Wrigley Field, and he has a 10-10, 4.14 lifetime record vs. the Cubs. These two pitchers met up just about a year ago in Houston on August 14, 2006, with Z the 3-0 winner. Oswalt is another pitcher that new Cub Jason Kendall has hit hard -- 15-for-36, .417/.462/.472.

Tonight's game is on WGN, but if you don't get it, try the Mediacenter. Gameday (2007 version) Gameday (2006 version)

Discuss amongst yourselves.