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Open Thread: Cubs vs. Astros, Tuesday 9/11, 7:05 CT

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Pardon the interruption -- we now resume our regularly scheduled road trip.

Interesting reading before you continue -- Will Jauss, the 11-year-old son of Dodgers bench coach Dave Jauss, spent several weeks of his summer vacation traveling with the Dodgers and wrote about it for Yahoo. If the name sounds familiar, it should. Dave Jauss' father is Bill Jauss, longtime Chicago sportswriter and one of the hosts of the old radio and TV show The Sportswriters.

Enough diversions. Let's win tonight.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Jason Marquis
J. Marquis
Cubs
vs. Brandon Backe
B. Backe
Astros
11-8 W-L 0-1
4.13 ERA 4.76
97 SO 0
69 BB 3
22 HR 1
vs. Hou -- vs. Cubs
Well, this is a mismatch. Yes, you heard me right. Jason Marquis gets kicked around by the Astros virtually every time he faces them, and this year is no exception: 1-1, 6.32 this year, and a 5.11 lifetime ERA against them, although somehow his career record vs. Houston is 8-5. Lance Berkman is a particular nemesis: .559/.667/.853, 19-for 34, 5 doubles, a triple, a HR, 13 RBI, and 11 walks. I'd suggest adding to that walk total tonight.

Brandon Backe had elbow surgery a year ago and has started only once this year, losing to the Brewers a week ago. He hasn't faced the Cubs since May 25, 2005 (nice lineup, huh?). The suddenly-hot Aramis Ramirez is .364/.417/.636 (4-for-11, a HR) vs. Backe. I liked yesterday's idea of putting Cliff Floyd in between D-Lee and Ramirez, to break up the two RH hitters. Hope Lou does that again tonight.

Today's game is cable-only, on Extra Innings, and at today's Mediacenter link.

MLB.com Gameday (2007 version)

MLB.com Gameday (2006 version)

MLB.com Gameday for the Brewers/Pirates game (6:05 CT start)

MLB.com Gameday for the Cardinals/Reds game (6:10 CT start)

Discuss amongst yourselves.