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Pregame Thread: Cubs vs. Astros, Saturday 7/19, 6:05 CT

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Next Game

Chicago Cubs
@ Houston Astros

Saturday, Jul 19, 2008, 6:05 PM CDT
Minute Maid Park

Carlos Zambrano vs Wandy Rodriguez

Partly cloudy with a 30-percent chance of rain. Winds blowing out to left field at 5-10 m.p.h. Game Time temperature: Around 90.

Complete Coverage >


Here are a few more notes on the upcoming sale of the Cubs, listing the seven most likely bidding groups and individuals -- I'm very glad to see Don Levin, owner of the Wolves, still on this list. He's my #1 choice -- a Chicago native, lifelong Cubs fan with deep pockets who already owns a successful sports team in this town. There are a few more details in this Fran Spielman article in today's Sun-Times, and yet another take from the Wall Street Journal.

Our old friend Dayn Perry is at it again, this time with a Baseball Prospectus article ($, I think) trotting out every old North Side/South Side stereotype you can think of. It's so bad that it's worth a read.

Now, onward to more pressing business -- winning tonight's game.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Carlos Zambrano
C. Zambrano
Cubs
vs. Wandy Rodriguez
W. Rodriguez
Astros
10-3 W-L 4-3
2.84 ERA 3.48
78 SO 65
38 BB 23
8 HR 8
vs. Hou -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2008 - Carlos Zambrano 10-3 18 18 0 0 0 0 120.1 110 40 38 8 38 78 2.84 1.23


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2008 - Wandy Rodriguez 4-3 13 13 0 0 0 0 75.0 73 38 29 8 23 65 3.48 1.28

Z has pitched well against the Astros both this year and in his career -- 10-6, 2.67. The Juice Box is also one of his favorite parks to hit in; though he has only four hits there, three of them are homers. He handles Lance Berkman well (8-for-54, but 4 HR), and Carlos Lee hammers him (not a surprise, as El Caballo hits just about every Cub pitcher: 16-for-44, 5 doubles, 4 HR vs. Z). So many of the supposed "expert" sportswriters wring their hands because Z's strikeout total is down, but that's Z realizing he doesn't have to throw the ball 9,000 MPH against every single hitter; his sinker has been devastating this year and that's one of the reasons he's allowed only eight HR.

Somehow, Wandy Rodriguez has turned himself into a decent pitcher. I'd never have expected that from a guy who seemed to have no velocity, little control and a career ERA over 5.00 coming into this year. He has failed to get out of the sixth inning in his last three starts, though. Derrek Lee (7-for-16) and Ryan Theriot (5-for-10) hit him hard, and expect Jim Edmonds (and maybe the slumping Kosuke Fukudome) to get the night off vs. the LHP Rodriguez.

Today's game is a cable extravaganza in Chicago and Houston, on EI and at the MLB.com Mediacenter.

MLB.com Gameday (2007 version)

MLB.com Gameday (2008 version)

Baseball-reference.com game preview

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 6:00 pm CT and the overflow comment threads will post at 7:15 pm and 8:15 pm CT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.