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Pregame Thread: Cubs vs. Diamondbacks, Monday 7/21, 8:40 CT

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Chicago Cubs
@ Arizona Diamondbacks

Monday, Jul 21, 2008, 8:40 PM CDT
Chase Field

Rich Harden vs Randy Johnson

Partly cloudy. Winds blowing out to center field at 5-10 m.p.h. Game Time temperature: Around 95.

Complete Coverage >


Once again, the box above fails to take into account the domed stadium. It may be 95 outside, but there's no doubt that Bank Holding Company Stadium's roof will be closed tonight.

I received an email from a company called FirstDibz (and I'm not linking them) asking me to promote their idea on this site. I didn't want to do it, but now it's made the front page of the Tribune, so I figured I'd chime in. The basic idea is, you pay them for the "rights" to buy someone's World Series tickets. This, presumably, saves you $ over paying a broker. But here's where the scheme, I think, falls apart:

Should the seller fail to deliver, FirstDibz will make good with similar tickets for the buyer while charging "market value"—likely the huge markups the buyer is avoiding by buying early—to the seller's credit card.This is exactly the problem. How many people who have access to Cubs WS tickets -- WHEN they finally make it -- are going to want to sell them? Sure, there could be big $ made, but wouldn't you want to go? I know I will. I have a feeling FirstDibz is going to be out quite a bit of money WHEN the Cubs finally do make it.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Rich Harden
R. Harden
Cubs
vs. Randy Johnson
R. Johnson
D'backs
5-1 W-L 6-7
2.19 ERA 5.23
102 SO 95
34 BB 28
5 HR 15
vs. Ari -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2008 - Rich Harden 0-0 1 1 0 0 0 0 5.1 5 0 0 0 3 10 0.00 1.50

Note, the above stat line, from SBN's data provider, shows only Harden's record with the Cubs. The box above that I provide myself shows his combined record. I've asked for the data provider to give us combined stats, but don't know if or when this will happen.


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2008 - Randy Johnson 6-7 17 17 1 0 0 0 98.0 110 65 57 15 28 95 5.23 1.41

I love doing this stuff. You see "Randy Johnson" in the opposing pitcher box and get afraid, very afraid. I am here to remind you that Randy Johnson is six weeks away from his 45th birthday, and among his teammates his September callup year was Graig Nettles, who is 64 years old and made his major league debut in 1967. And if you think this is a stretch just because they both played for the Expos in 1988, let me point out that in Johnson's fourth major league start on October 1, 1988, Nettles pinch-hit for Johnson, the last appearance of Nettles' career.

Anyway, the last time the Unit faced the Cubs was April 26, 2004, more than four years and probably more than four MPH on his fastball ago, and though he did shut the Cubs out for seven innings and struck out 10 that day, he's not that pitcher any more. (Check the box score -- of the two hits the Cubs had that day off Johnson, one was by Carlos Zambrano.) This year, Johnson has his highest WHIP since 1992 and has already allowed 15 HR.

Rich Harden hasn't pitched in nine days. Hopefully that means his arm is well-rested. He has never faced the Diamondbacks, and has only faced two of their current players (Orlando Hudson, 2-for-8, and Tony Clark, 1-for-3) in his time in the AL.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago, FSN Arizona (which carries ALL the D'backs games) and at the MLB.com Mediacenter.

MLB.com Gameday (2007 version)

MLB.com Gameday (2008 version)

Baseball-reference.com game preview

It's a late one tonight. The first pitch thread will be up at 8:30 pm CT and the overflow comment threads will post at 10 pm and 11 pm CT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.