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Open Thread: Cubs vs. Reds, Wednesday 9/19, 7:05 CT

Here's the guy who's been the real ace of the Cub pitching staff all year long. He has made thirty-one starts, and except for the June 10 game in Atlanta where he was ejected in the first inning, he's thrown six or more innings in 23 of the other 30. Impressive.

Now, the Cubs are counting on him to continue the best season of his major league career, on short rest for the first time in four years.

I think he can handle it. Just win, baby.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Ted Lilly
T. Lilly
vs. Tom Shearn
T. Shearn
15-7 W-L 3-0
3.82 ERA 4.15
160 SO 12
53 BB 9
26 HR 4
vs. Cin -- vs. Cubs
Lilly has started three times against the Reds this year, with a 4.00 ERA (just above his season record) and a 1-1 record. The win was a fine 7-inning, three-hit, one-run, one-walk, nine-strikeout performance in Cincinnati in the second game of the season on April 4. Eleven days later at Wrigley Field, he threw well but lost 1-0. The Reds hit him pretty hard at Wrigley Field on August 15; he got a no-decision in a Cubs loss. He's managed to handle Brandon Phillips, a Cub nemesis (0-for-10).

Shearn's a feel-good story of sorts; he's spent eleven years in the minor leagues, playing for: GCL Astros, Auburn, Quad Cities, Kissimmee, Round Rock, New Orleans, Chattanooga, Louisville, Chattanooga (again) and Louisville (again) before getting what appeared to be a courtesy call-up this September. He's 3-0, but the 4.15 ERA includes nine walks in 26 IP and four HR allowed. The Cubs need to hit this guy early and often.

Finally, we learn today this from Len & Bob's WGN-TV blog:

One big change this year - any wild card playoff game, plus the division series, and the National League Championship Series will be airing on TBS. THERE IS NO OVER THE AIR television of these games. Unlike previous years, where WGN would air ESPN's version of some of these games, if you or someone you know cannot watch TBS, you will not be able to watch these games. This decision was made by Major League Baseball and TBS. WGN and the Cubs had nothing to do with it.
Now how freaking stupid is that?? Cable/satellite does not have 100% coverage, not yet, anyway. Why would they want to cut off people who don't have cable/satellite? They could have made money by selling the rights to these games to over-the-air stations, at least in the markets of the participating teams. So not only have they cost themselves money, they are really going to piss off a segment of the playoff teams' fans. About what I'd expect from Bud Selig's non-leadership in the broadcast arena.

As far as tonight's game is concerned, it was initially only on WCIU, which would have meant it could have only been seen within a four-block radius of my house. ESPN has picked up the game (not sure what announcing team we'll be "treated" to), so the rest of you can see it. Also check at today's Mediacenter link. Gameday (2007 version) Gameday (2006 version) Gameday for the Brewers/Astros game (7:05 CT start)

Discuss amongst yourselves.