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Pregame Thread: Cubs vs. Pirates, Monday 8/25, 6:05 CT

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Chicago Cubs
@ Pittsburgh Pirates

Monday, Aug 25, 2008, 6:05 PM CDT
PNC Park

Ted Lilly vs Jeff Karstens

Clear. Winds blowing from left to right field at 5-10 m.p.h. Game Time temperature: Around 75.

Complete Coverage >

Fun with numbers:

The Cubs are 11-4 vs. the Pirates this year -- 7-2 at Wrigley Field, 4-2 in Pittsburgh. The two losses in Pittsburgh both went extra innings, as did two of the wins (the first two games played there, back in April). In fact, those two Cubs extra-inning wins -- on April 7 and April 9, are the only extra-inning games the Pirates have lost at home this year (they're 5-2 in extras at home, 6-2 on the road, including their loss yesterday at Milwaukee, where they managed to load the bases with nobody out in the top of the 12th without scoring). So get a comfy chair tonight; you may be in it for a while.

Also: Mark DeRosa, not known for power hitting, now has 18 home runs and has homered in four straight games. The club record for such things is five, set by Hack Wilson in 1928 and tied by Ryne Sandberg in 1989 and Sammy Sosa in 1998. I learn this from Paul Sullivan's notes column today, in which he also points out:

The Cubs are the first pitching staff to have 1,000 strikeouts in 2008. They've led the majors in strikeouts every season since 2001 and could break the Dodgers' record of seven straight seasons of leading the majors, from 1957-63.Not that K's are the be-all and end-all, but that's still mighty impressive. The Dodgers won two pennants and a World Series (1959) in those seven years, won 102 games and lost a playoff to the Giants in another (1962) and had a winning record six of the seven years, missing only the "readjustment" year when they moved from Brooklyn to LA (1958).

Also, for those interested, click here to view the playoff fact sheet sent out by the Cubs to season ticket holders (link opens .pdf file).

Today's Starting Pitchers
Ted Lilly
T. Lilly
vs. Jeff Karstens
J. Karstens
12-7 W-L 2-2
4.25 ERA 2.25
148 SO 11
56 BB 8
27 HR 4
vs. Pit -- vs. Cubs

2008 - Ted Lilly 12-7 27 27 0 0 0 0 161.0 156 79 76 27 56 148 4.25 1.32

2008 - Jeff Karstens 2-2 4 4 1 1 0 0 28.0 23 8 7 4 8 11 2.25 1.11

After pitching really well in his Pirates debut vs. the Cubs on August 1, and even better (a two-hit shutout) in his next start vs. Arizona, Karstens has started to get hit around a little bit, losing his next two starts -- both at home, while the wins were on the road -- and giving up two homers in each one. I think the Cubs will be better prepared to face him tonight. Karstens did walk four Cubs on August 1, so if they can wait him out they should do just fine.

The day after Karstens shut the Cubs down, Ted Lilly did the same to the Pirates. Lilly is leading the NL in homers allowed, but has allowed only two in his last four starts, comprising 26.2 innings, and gave none to the Pirates in that August 2 game. Since his slow start, Lilly is 7-2, 3.45 in his last 14 outings.

Today's game is on cable and BOTH feeds are scheduled to be on EI, so if you're outside Chicago you should be able to see Len & Bob. Also see the Mediacenter. Gameday game preview

Once again, a reminder that you can find the overflow comment threads, including the first pitch thread, on the right sidebar of both the front page and any interior page in the box headed "RECENT STORIES IN GAME THREADS". Today's first pitch thread posts at 6 pm CT, and the overflow comment threads will post at 7 pm, 8 pm and 8:45 pm CT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.