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Open Thread: Cubs vs. Pirates, Sunday 9/23, 1:20 CT

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Dear Z,

We love you. We love your passion for the game; we love your fastball, we love your hitting (yes, even when you try to hit the ball 900 feet).

What we don't love are some of your results this year. Z, you've got to take that passion and channel it right into that right arm (and getting it into its proper arm slot), and not let it take your head away from the focus it needs to win this game.

We need you today, Z. Step up and pitch the game of your life.

Love, Every Cubs Fan In The Galaxy

Today's Starting Pitchers
Carlos Zambrano
C. Zambrano
Cubs
vs. Tom Gorzelanny
T. Gorzelanny
Pirates
16-13 W-L 14-8
4.20 ERA 3.55
167 SO 127
97 BB 63
23 HR 16
vs. Pit -- vs. Cubs
Z threw one of his better games of the year on September 8 in Pittsburgh, allowing two hits and a run and striking out eight. However, that's his only win vs. the Pirates this year; he's lost two others. Jason Bay hits him pretty hard (.364/.462/.939, 12-for-33, 4 doubles, 5 HR), but Bay's got some knee trouble and hasn't played in this series. Xavier Nady is 7-for-17 (.412/.421/.706) with five doubles against Z.

Gorzelanny is one of the best LH starters in the NL this season -- along with Cole Hamels, Oliver Perez, and Ted Lilly, Gorzelanny has had a fine year, untouched by any national notice, playing in Pittsburgh. He's 1-1 vs. the Cubs this year, the loss being Jason Marquis' 1-0 shutout on May 9. Gorzelanny beat the Cubs in Pittsburgh two weeks ago. No Cub has more than nine AB against him; Derrek Lee is 3-for-6, Geovany Soto (who appears to have become the de facto #1 catcher) is 2-for-3.

Say, have a lot of angst about the pennant race? Mike says maybe you can do something with that:

(as always, click on thumbnail to view full-size in new browser window. If you are using IE, you may have to click the lower-right corner of the image in the new window to expand it to its full size; in Firefox click anywhere on the image.)

Once again, there's no Pittsburgh TV coverage of today's game, but it's available nationally on WGN, or check today's Mediacenter link.

MLB.com Gameday (2007 version)

MLB.com Gameday (2006 version)

MLB.com Gameday for the Brewers/Braves game (12:05 CT start, national TV coverage on TBS)

Discuss amongst yourselves.