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Open Thread: Cubs vs. Astros, Sunday 4/6, 1:20 CT

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  • Kosuke Fukudome talks about his surprise bunt yesterday:
    "When I started my pro career in Japan, I bunted a few times," he said through his interpreter, Ryuji Araki. "Recently, I haven't had too many chances to use it, but I had the thought in my head to try one."
  • And the way Fukudome plays has at least one teammate sitting up and noticing:
    "He plays the game the right way," [Derrek] Lee said. "If you're watching him play, you can learn from him. I'm enjoying watching him play."
  • Reed Johnson will be in CF again today. I wouldn't read anything into this other than Lou likes playing the hot hand. (He'll likely start there again Monday against Pirates LHP Tom Gorzelanny.)
  • Lou says Henry Blanco may start today, or if not, then tomorrow in Pittsburgh.
  • It's going to be another beautiful day today, wind blowing out but not as strong as yesterday.
Today's Starting Pitchers
Carlos Zambrano
C. Zambrano
Cubs
vs. Brandon Backe
B. Backe
Astros
0-0 W-L 0-1
0.00 ERA 3.60
5 SO 3
1 BB 3
0 HR 1
vs. Hou -- vs. Cubs

Carlos Lee owns Z: lifetime .366/.422/.780 (15-for-41, 5 doubles, 4 HR). Career vs. Houston Z is 10-6 in 22 appearances (20 starts) with a 2.65 ERA. Both Lance Berkman (neck problems) and Ty Wigginton (fractured finger, likely happening when tagging out Jason Marquis on that ill-advised dash to 3B) will be unavailable for Houston today. J. R. Towles, who got hit by a Rich Hill pitch on his knee on Friday, should start today.

Aramis Ramirez is 5-for-14 (.357/.400/.571, 1 HR) vs. Backe. Alfonso Soriano is 3-for-16 -- yet another reason to sit him today. Overall Backe is 2-1, 4.97 in 6 career appearances (5 starts) vs. the Cubs.

Today's game is on WGN, so available to most of you nationally, on the usual radio stations (thanks to XM for keeping the game on the same channel all week!) and at the MLB.com Mediacenter.

MLB.com Gameday (2007 version)

MLB.com Gameday (2008 version - this link has pitcher stats and splits up)

Discuss amongst yourselves.