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Pregame Thread: Cubs vs. Pirates, Friday 8/1, 1:20 CT

Next Game

Pittsburgh Pirates
@ Chicago Cubs

Friday, Aug 1, 2008, 1:20 PM CDT
Wrigley Field

Jeff Karstens vs Jason Marquis

Partly cloudy with a 40-percent chance of rain. Winds blowing out to center field at 5-15 m.p.h. Game Time temperature: Around 85.

Complete Coverage >

For those of you who still doubt that Kerry Wood really does have a serious problem, don't take my word for it; take the word of another major league pitcher, Ben Sheets:"It directly affects your pitches," Sheets said. "It's stupid to pitch if you can't make pitches. If somebody else can [pitch], why not let them go do it and you heal up? Blisters are a big deal."

Though almost everyone has had a blister at least once in their life, few have tried to pitch with one.

"Yeah, they take off their shoes and they quit walking. They put Band-Aids on it," Sheets said of those doubting the severity of this type of injury. "We can't play with Band-Aids. Nobody gets a blister and keeps on trucking."

Can a pitcher alter his grip a little to alleviate the pain?

"You can't change your grip," Sheets said. "This is the big leagues. You can do it in high school, or you can do it in college, or you can do it in Little League. But you can't do it in the big leagues. That stuff don't work. These aren't Little League hitters."

The article also says: Lou Piniella said he hopes Kerry Wood can return to the Cubs in a week or so after Wood threw a 26-pitch simulated game with protective padding on his right index finger.In the meantime, the Cubs have other bullpen options.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Jason Marquis
J. Marquis
vs. Jeff Karstens
J. Karstens
6-6 W-L making
4.69 ERA his
62 SO 2008
44 BB season
12 HR debut
vs. Pit -- vs. Cubs

2008 - Jason Marquis 6-6 19 19 0 0 0 0 111.1 117 61 58 12 44 62 4.69 1.45

Jeff Karstens hasn't pitched in the majors since August 14, 2007, when the Orioles smacked him around for five hits and four walks in three innings. That alone ought to tell you how much trouble Karstens, who was acquired by the Pirates in the Xavier Nady deal, has had in his 15-appearance, 9-start major league career; he's 3-5 with a 5.65 ERA and 1.52 WHIP. May that all continue today. Hope the Cubs have a good scouting report on this guy.

Jason Marquis is the last Cubs pitcher to throw a complete game shutout -- he did it against the Pirates on May 9, 2007. Since then he's made five other starts vs. Pittsburgh; the two last year were pretty bad, but in 2008 he's 2-0 with a ND in three starts vs. the Pirates, against whom the Cubs are 9-3 overall this year. With the dealing the Pirates have made in the last week, their 25-man roster (which at the time I wrote this had only 23 names on it) is going to be largely unrecognizable. There are seven names of the 23 that weren't on the Pirates roster the last time they were in Chicago on May 18, and when they add two more before today's game that'll make nine different players since then.

So, any prediction of how Marquis might do against this new-look Pirates team is probably worthless. He just has to go out there and focus on throwing his best game, something he did not do his last time out last Sunday.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago, and, according to the Pirates' broadcast schedule, there is no Pirates TV today, meaning you'll see Len & Bob if you have EI. Also see the Mediacenter. Gameday (2007 version) Gameday (2008 version) game preview

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 1:15 pm CT. The overflow comment threads will post at 2:15, 3:15 and 3:45 pm CT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.