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Open Thread: Cubs vs. Pirates, Sunday 4/20, 1:20 CT

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Weather this afternoon: beautiful.

Let's sweep this series.

  • Notes: Carol Slezak writes about "Fukudomania" in today's Sun-Times. Wonder if she read this post I made with the same title 11 days ago.
  • I don't usually care for Mike Downey's columns, but today's, about Reed Johnson, is worth your time.
  • Average attendance through 11 home dates is 39,651. That's a significant increase over last year, when the first 11 home dates drew an average of 34,423. The difference is, the weekday afternoon games are coming close to selling out this year; in 2007 there were three crowds of "under" 35,000 in April.

Important note for everyone: in yesterday's game thread, I saw a number of people had posted really large pictures. Because of the nature of game thread posts (they are attached to the linescore, among other things), doing this in game threads can really slow things down (if you've noticed slow refreshing game threads, this may be one of the reasons). I'm going to ask you all to please ease off on large photos in game threads. (This does not apply to other threads, although I'd like people to not go overboard on photos anyway.) Thanks for understanding.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Ryan Dempster
R. Dempster
Cubs
vs. Zach Duke
Z. Duke
Pirates
2-0 W-L 0-0
2.37 ERA 2.89
13 SO 7
9 BB 4
1 HR 0
vs. Pit -- vs. Cubs

Today's pitching matchup is a rematch of the April 9 game in Pittsburgh, which the Cubs won 6-4 in 15 innings. Both Dempster and Duke threw well in that game (Dempster gave the Pirates no runs in seven innings), but both were long gone by the time Felix Pie drove in the winning runs with a two-run single. I'd like to think Matt Murton would get a start today, with the lefty Duke pitching, and especially because Murton is .455/.500/.682 (10-for-22, 2 doubles, a HR) vs. Duke. But one never knows what Lou is thinking.

Today's game is on WGN and FSN Pittsburgh, and also available through the MLB.com Mediacenter.

MLB.com Gameday (2007 version)

MLB.com Gameday (2008 version)

Baseball-reference.com game preview

Discuss amongst yourselves.