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Open Thread: Cubs vs. Astros, Wednesday 9/12, 7:05 CT

Many of us followed the Brewers' 7-4 loss to the Pirates this afternoon, and I can imagine many of the Cubs did as well, preparing for tonight's game. Thus, they know that by winning tonight, they can move back into a first place tie.

Let's hope that knowledge galvanizes the entire roster into playoff-caliber play this evening at Houston.

With last night's extra-inning loss, the Cubs fell to 2-8 in extra-inning games. There is only one other team this year with as few as two extra-inning wins... the Boston Red Sox. And even so, the Cubs still have the best record in the NL since the low point on June 2, 51-30.

The I-don't-know-what-to-say story of the day: if you're a major league ballplayer, better not be thinking about getting pregnant. Huh? you're saying. Well, MLB is considering banning fertility drugs. I kid you not. The mind boggles.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Rich Hill
R. Hill
vs. Tom Gorzelanny
M. Albers
8-8 W-L 4-7
4.02 ERA 5.88
161 SO 56
56 BB 43
26 HR 16
vs. Hou -- vs. Cubs
Rich Hill hasn't faced anyone on the current Astros roster more than six times; he has two no-decisions this year vs. Houston. He threw very well a month ago in the Juice Box, allowing only three hits and a run in seven innings in a game the Cubs lost 2-1 in ... what else... extra innings.

The Cubs may have caught a break by not having to face LHP Troy Patton tonight; instead, RHP Matt Albers will go. He got pounded by the Brewers a week ago. In 3.1 career relief innings vs. the Cubs, Albers has allowed five hits and three runs.

Today's game is on WGN; if you don't have WGN or EI, try today's Mediacenter link. Gameday (2007 version) Gameday (2006 version) Gameday for the Cardinals/Reds game (6:10 CT start)

Discuss amongst yourselves.