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Wandy Meets A Canadian: Cubs vs. Astros, Tuesday 4/7, 7:05 CT

The hype of Opening Day is over (although, we get to do that again at home next Monday); now, down to the everyday business of baseball. In fact, Ryan Dempster, today's starter, has some good advice for all of us:

"For us as players, we're going to enjoy the ride," Dempster said. "So whatever it is, whether it ends up winning your division, or a wild card, whatever it is, we're going to enjoy that ride as a player, and I hope everyone else does too.

"And I think they do. I really feel other than [last] October, that was the most fun there's ever been at Wrigley, if you think of being 30 games over .500 [at home]. If we come somewhat close to repeating that … we still have to go out there and play the games. We have a little bit different team, a different look, but at the same time a very good team. So it'll be a lot of fun."

Bruce Miles agrees with those of us who thought Kosuke Fukudome should have been moved to RF in the 9th last night.

And just in case you care, the Cubs are expected to rank sixth in hot dog sales this year.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Ryan Dempster
Ryan Dempster
vs. Wandy Rodriguez
Wandy Rodriguez
17-6 W-L 9-7
2.96 ERA 3.54
187 SO 131
76 BB 44
14 HR 14
vs. Hou -- vs. Cubs

Stats are from the 2008 season

Wandy Rodriguez is one of those guys who you look at and say, "He can't possibly be a professional athlete." At 5-11, 180, he's one of the smallest pitchers in the major leagues. Yet, finally, last year at 29, Wandy had a solid season. He was 1-0 vs. the Cubs in two starts, but with a 5.40 ERA (most of that from this August 5 game at Wrigley, probably his worst start of the year. Both Derrek Lee (11-for-22, 3 doubles, 2 HR) and Ryan Theriot (8-for-16, 3 doubles, 1 HR) hit him hard. Expect to see Reed Johnson in the lineup vs. the lefthanded Rodriguez, although Johnson is only 1-for-7 vs. Wandy.

Perhaps the best thing about Ryan Dempster's year last year is that he allowed only 76 walks and 14 HR -- things that used to be one of the worst parts of his game before 2008. And then came the seven walks in the NLDS -- nuff said. If Dempster can throw like he did last year, we'll be just fine. Lance Berkman has homered four times off Ryan, but hits only .267 off him overall (12-for-45). Carlos Lee (7-for-17) and Hunter Pence (6-for-14) might be more worrisome.

Today's game is on WGN-TV -- so it should be available nationally. All the media links for today can be found at the Mediacenter.

And, yesterday I forgot to post the Gameday link -- blame Opening Day hoopla. This won't happen again. Here is today's Gameday.

The routine for games this year will start off this way: this post, the game preview, two hours before game time. A first-pitch thread five minutes before the first pitch. Both of those threads will appear on the front page. There will be three overflow threads at one hour, two hours and 2:45 after game time... more if necessary. The overflows will NOT appear on the front page; you can find them in the "RECENT STORIES IN GAME THREADS" box on the right sidebar.

Discuss amongst yourselves.