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A Marquee (Not Marquis) Pitching Matchup: Cubs vs. Reds, Thursday 4/23, 1:20 CT

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This afternoon, the Cubs play their second "short turnaround" game of the season, a day game following a night game. The first one of those -- Opening Day at home following Sunday night in Milwaukee -- turned out pretty well.

Aaron Harang, who had a terrible year in 2008, has thrown well this year despite his 1-2 record. Carlos Zambrano has also thrown pretty well in spite of the unsightly 5.21 ERA. The weather's supposed to be pleasant; I'd expect a decent walkup sale and perhaps the biggest weekday (non-Friday) afternoon crowd of the year so far.

Gordon Wittenmyer says that Jeff Samardzija will return today and Luis Vizcaino will be DFA'd. Lou says:

"He'll help out in the sixth-, seventh-inning role to start out with," manager Lou Piniella said of Samardzija, who was in the starting rotation at Class AAA Iowa and took a no-hitter into the sixth inning Saturday. "We'll use him an inning-plus, but he's not going to be pitching long. We'll use him the way we use [Aaron] Heilman."

That article also gives the final word on whether that foul ball on Tuesday night was catchable:

Alfonso Soriano said he had no chance to catch the foul ball hit into the "Bartman seats" Tuesday and wouldn't have tried to leap at the wall for it.

But he did consider throwing a Moises Alou-like tantrum after a fan caught the ball, just to play along with the crowd.

"I thought about it," he said. "But it was too cold."

And, we premiere the new SB Nation mysterious photo of Z!

Today's Starting Pitchers
Carlos Zambrano
Carlos Zambrano
Cubs
vs. Aaron Harang
Aaron Harang
Reds
1-0 W-L 1-2
5.21 ERA 2.70
20 SO 17
9 BB 4
4 HR 1
vs. Cin -- vs. Cubs

Meanwhile, Aaron Harang still has that wounded puppy-dog look with a triangular soul patch (that must take a heck of a lot of work to keep it that way). He was 0-3 with a 6.29 ERA against the Cubs last year -- which was a terrible year for him all around. Derrek Lee has 46 career AB against Harang in which he has hit .304 with 5 HR; Alfonso Soriano has 3 HR off Harang and Geovany Soto and Mike Fontenot have also homered off him.

Z has handled most of the Reds hitters pretty well, except for Joey Votto (6-for-17, .353) and Alex Gonzalez (5-for-13). Gonzalez, though, is hitting only .111 -- 4-for-36 -- this year so far (though two of the hits are in this series).

No Ohio TV today; the only coverage is on CSN Chicago and at the MLB.com Mediacenter.

MLB.com Gameday

Discuss amongst yourselves.