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Open Thread: Cubs vs. Pirates, Wednesday 4/9, 6:05 CT

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It's a travel day. No, not for the Cubs -- for me. I'm going to New York today for a DGA meeting... so I won't see much, if any, of tonight's game. Also, I wanted to get this game thread and discussion going early, because when there's a day game, a day off, then a night game, doesn't it seem like there's been no baseball for a week?

With no game yesterday, there's not a lot of news today. Bruce Miles runs down the season so far.

Ken Rosenthal talks about the problems the Tigers will face overcoming their 0-7 start -- no team has ever made the postseason after starting that badly.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Ryan Dempster
R. Dempster
Cubs
vs. Zach Duke
Z. Duke
Pirates
1-0 W-L 0-0
1.50 ERA 3.18
5 SO 1
2 BB 1
0 HR 0
vs. Hou -- vs. Cubs

Zach Duke threw eight innings of six-hit shutout ball against the Cubs in his third major league start on July 16, 2005 -- coincidentally, a day I was in New York for a meeting. Since then, several Cubs, including Derrek Lee (.400/.400/.650), Alfonso Soriano (.455/.538/.818), Aramis Ramirez (.333/.364/.667) and even Ronny Cedeno (.438, 7-for-16) have pounded him pretty good.

Only Jack Wilson (who's on the DL) and Chris Gomez (who's on the Pirates bench, but who may start today, given his .385/.429/.615 career line vs. Dempster) have more than nine career AB vs. Dempster. Ryan threw pretty well in his first start, continuing his progress from spring training. Here's to that continuing tonight.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago Plus... "check local listings". If you're in Chicago, it's on CLTV. Today's XM channel is 184. For more see the MLB.com Mediacenter.

MLB.com Gameday (2007 version)

MLB.com Gameday (2008 version)

Baseball-reference.com game preview

Discuss amongst yourselves.