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Open Thread: Cubs vs. Dodgers, Tuesday 9/4, 7:05 CT

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Use this diary for comments on Carlos Zambrano's apology press conference, which has just ended, and at which he took almost no questions.

And now for something completely different: here you thought the NFL was the only "No Fun League", what with its coaches not allowed to wear suits on the sidelines unless they're designed by Reebok, and the current controversy about the Canon-logo'ed red vests that sideline photographers now have to wear.

But today we learn that Lou Piniella has received a "wardrobe warning", not long after Red Sox manager Terry Francona got the same thing from the fashion police:

Cubs manager Lou Piniella said he received a letter last week warning he faces a $1,000 fine should he fail to wear the Cubs' game jersey during games. The warning came after the Cubs played the Giants in San Francisco almost two weeks ago and Piniella wore the team's fleece pullover.
Stupid, right? Ah, but later in that article we learn the real reason for this warning:
MLB was watching -- and so, apparently, are baseball's corporate sponsors, who make the uniforms.
There are the magic words -- "corporate sponsors", in this case Majestic, which took over the uniform contract from Russell a couple of years ago. In so doing they got the rights to make ALL jerseys and official MLB souvenirs, which meant that the cool-looking "Evolution of the Cubby Bear" T-shirt, that I bought a couple of years ago, could no longer be manufactured, as Majestic got the rights to all the logos and refused to license that shirt.

Anyway, a number of managers like the pullover look and feel, and I think Yankees manager Joe Torre has it right:

"You'd think there'd be more important things to do this time of year than do Mickey Mouse stuff like that," Torre said. "It's a farce, I think."
Exactly. There are times you'd want to go to the MLB offices in New York, line up all the department heads, and shake them and say, "What the hell are you thinking?!!!?11?!"

And now, back to our regularly scheduled pennant race.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Steve Trachsel
S. Trachsel
Cubs
vs. Brad Penny
B. Penny
Dodgers
6-8 W-L 14-4
4.48 ERA 2.88
45 SO 122
69 BB 62
16 HR 5
vs. LA -- vs. Cubs
The last time Steve Trachsel pitched a game in a Cub uniform was on October 3, 1999, the final game of that dismal season, in St. Louis. He got pounded and the Cubs lost. The last time he pitched in Wrigley Field was July 14, 2006 as a member of the Mets -- he threw well that day and the Mets won.

But that was then and this is now. Trachsel's overall numbers are not very good -- particularly that frightening BB/K ratio -- but in his last six starts, comprising the month of August, he was 1-1 with a 2.37 ERA. Those numbers don't sound that impressive until you realize that the team he was on -- Baltimore -- was 9-19 in August, with a team ERA of 6.65 (and that includes Trachsel's 2.37).

On the other hand, he faced the Dodgers as a Met on September 10, 2006 and got pounded. The Dodgers might start Mike Lieberthal behind the plate tonight; he's 13-for-32, 2 doubles, 2 HR (.406/.429/.656) against Trachsel.

On paper, this doesn't appear to be much of a matchup, what with Penny one of the best pitchers in the NL. However, Penny hasn't been as good since the All-Star break as he was before. He has started seven games in his career vs. the Cubs, and is 2-2, 3.60 in those games. Jacque Jones is 4-for-9 with a HR off Penny; Derrek Lee 4-for-8, 2 doubles; and Aramis Ramirez 9-for-21, a double among the 9 hits.

Oh, if only TV schedules made sense. Tomorrow's game, which is nationally available on WGN, is also being picked up by ESPN. Today's game, which is cable-only... stays there. National coverage score: Tomorrow 2, Today 0. So, check out today's Mediacenter link.

MLB.com Gameday (2007 version)

MLB.com Gameday (2006 version)

MLB.com Gameday for the Astros/Brewers game (7:05 CT start)

MLB.com Gameday for the Pirates/Cardinals game (7:10 CT start)

Discuss amongst yourselves.