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Rivalry Week: Cubs vs. Cardinals, Thursday 4/16, 1:20 CT

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By a week from Sunday, we should know a lot about the tone the NL Central race will take this season. Seven of the next ten games will be against the Cardinals, four this weekend at Wrigley Field, three next weekend in St. Louis. With Chris Carpenter out, the Cardinals will turn to 2006 draft pick P. J. Walters to start on Friday.

Meanwhile, today Sean Marshall will make his season debut, the first time the Cubs have used their fifth starter. Marshall made his major league debut on April 9, 2006 in this nationally televised ESPN Sunday night game; he threw fairly well, but allowed four runs in 4.1 innings. Michael Barrett won that game with a grand slam. Little did we know that it would be all downhill from there in 2006.

Things are better now, wouldn't you agree?

Now we know what's wrong with Kevin Gregg: after his knee surgery, his knee stiffens up if he pitches more than one inning, so he's going to be limited to single innings only. (Maybe they could have figured this out before last Friday?)

Baseball note of interest: a shout-out to Texas' Ian Kinsler, who became the first player since 1890 to have six hits in a game and hit for the cycle, too.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Sean Marshall
Sean Marshall
Cubs
vs. Adam Wainwright
Adam Wainwright
Cardinals
0-0 W-L 1-0
0.00 ERA 1.78
0 SO 11
1 BB 8
0 HR 0
vs. StL -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Sean Marshall 0-0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.00 1.00


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Adam Wainwright 1-0 2 2 0 0 0 0 10.1 8 2 2 0 8 11 1.74 1.55

Adam Wainwright has a 1.78 ERA so far this year, but has walked eight batters in 11 innings -- that's good news for the Cubs, who generally are patient hitters. Aramis Ramirez is expected back in the lineup today, with the weather expected to be pleasant; Ramirez is 7-for-21 (.333) lifetime vs. Wainwright, with a homer.

Sean Marshall is 2-1, 3.38 lifetime vs. St. Louis in nine appearances (five starts) -- last year he posted a 0.82 ERA against the Cardinals in 11 innings (five appearances, one start). Albert Pujols is 4-for 13, but no homers. Of the current Cardinals, only Brendan Ryan and Ryan Ludwick have homered off Marshall.

Today's game is cable-only in the St. Louis and Chicago areas, on EI and at the MLB.com Mediacenter. If you have EI you might be interested in flipping on the official opener of the new Yankee Stadium; they will play the first regular season game there today at 12:05 CDT vs. the Indians. Of course, we're already familiar with the new park with the two exhibition games the Cubs played there earlier this month.

MLB.com Gameday

Discuss amongst yourselves.