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Open Thread: Cubs vs. Pirates, Sunday 5/18, 1:20 CT

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Pittsburgh Pirates
@ Chicago Cubs

Sunday, May 18, 2008, 1:20 PM CDT
Wrigley Field

Phil Dumatrait vs Jason Marquis

Partly cloudy. Winds blowing from left to right field at 10-15 m.p.h. Game Time temperature: Near 60.

Complete Coverage >


  • The Cubs have a chance to win eight games on a homestand for the first time in almost 30 years, since June 2-11, 1978. That link also quotes Lou's reaction to not being selected as an All-Star coach this year:
    "It would have been an honor but quite frankly I've been in Yankee Stadium a long, long time. I'd rather go home and spend three days in Florida with my family and on the beach. … They could have brought Joe Torre back. Joe Torre won all those championships there too. I'll see the new Yankee Stadium."
  • Daryle Ward is expected to go on the DL after today and Micah Hoffpauir will be called up to replace him. He is no savior -- he is already 28 -- and please, please, Lou, don't play him in the outfield unless there's a dire emergency. I saw Hoffpauir play OF in spring training and, essentially, he's a first baseman playing outfield... and not very well.
  • Many times I criticize Greg Couch, but today he nailed it:

    This season, general manager Jim Hendry deserves credit for putting together a much more complete team. Just think of how much better they are in the construction than they were last season. Contrast them to the White Sox. If Sox second baseman Juan Uribe, struggling to hit .200 and now with a sore hamstring, fails, then what? If a Cubs middle infielder flops, then Ronny Cedeno, who finally has developed, is there.

    Mark DeRosa can play anywhere. Henry Blanco is the ideal backup catcher. That little Fontenot kid can do some things.

  • Sean Gallagher has really made everyone sit up and notice:
    "I think he needed to just [cut out] some of the stuff, eating and everything off the field," [pitching coach Larry] Rothschild said. "The work habits have gotten good and it shows. [The success] is one game. [The test] is going to be building on that and going from there."

Now, go out and win that 8th game on the homestand!

Today's Starting Pitchers
Jason Marquis
J.
Marquis

Cubs
vs. Phil Dumatrait
P. Dumatrait
Pirates
1-3 W-L 1-1
5.26 ERA 3.96
24 SO 26
16 BB 18
4 HR 3
vs. Pit -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2008 - Jason Marquis 1-3 7 7 0 0 0 0 39.1 52 24 23 4 16 24 5.26 1.73


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2008 - Phil Dumatrait 1-1 13 3 0 0 0 0 36.1 35 17 16 3 18 26 3.96 1.46

Phil Dumatrait was pretty horrendous for last year's Reds, who let him go. And then he was bad in relief early this year for the Pirates. Since he's been moved to the rotation he's 1-0, 4.02 in three starts, which includes one good start, one mediocre one and one bad one. The Cubs smacked him around in the 15-inning game in Pittsburgh on April 9, but he then threw 4.1 scoreless innings in relief in Wrigley Field last month, mopping up in two blowouts. Aramis Ramirez has gone 3-for-5 with a HR off Dumatrait. The Cubs ought to eat this guy for breakfast and lunch.

Jason Marquis has been... bad most of this year. However, his best start of the year was April 19 against the Pirates in Wrigley Field, when he threw six innings, allowed six hits, a walk and one run, and struck out seven. Basically, we need him to replicate that game today. He handles most of the Pirates pretty well, except for Jason Bay (14-for-37, .378/.442/.865, 4 doubles, a triple, 4 HR).

Today's game is on WGN, but should also be available on EI via FSN Pittsburgh. For other games see the MLB.com Mediacenter.

MLB.com Gameday (2007 version)

MLB.com Gameday (2008 version)

Baseball-reference.com game preview

Today's overflow comment thread will post at 2:45 pm CT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.