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Hello, Old Friends: Cubs vs. Mets Preview, Friday 8/28, 1:20 CT

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Let's push controversy aside for a while, shall we, and try to just enjoy a baseball game this afternoon?

The last time the Mets visited Wrigley Field was more than 16 months ago, on April 22, 2008. That isn't that long ago in baseball terms, but of the eight starting Cubs that day, four are no longer with the team and one is on the DL. Five other Cubs who appeared in the game are elsewhere as well. As for the Mets, four of their starting eight from that game won't appear due to injury and three others have departed.

Ronny Cedeno hit a grand slam in that game, just to remind you of blasts from the past. It's still his only slam. (That's just about the time we started calling him ONEDEC.)

Two very different teams will take the field at Wrigley this afternoon from that long-ago day in 2008 (the Cubs did face the Mets last September, still almost a year ago, when the Mets were desperately trying to win a playoff spot, which they lost on the last day of the season). The Mets have been decimated by injuries, both to their starting lineup and pitching rotation -- the three Mets probable starters in this series, Pat Misch, Bobby Parnell and Nelson Figueroa, were definitely not the pitchers Jerry Manuel envisioned in his rotation in April.

OK, I suppose I can't resist a couple of links and comments regarding the current Milton Bradley situation. Phil Rogers says the Cubs should just cut him, which would cost north of $20 million and I think is a ridiculous idea, but Rogers also offer some suggestions of other teams' bad contracts that could result in a trade:

The only way to trade Bradley, according to executives with other clubs, is to up your ante to take on someone else's bad contract. You know the names -- the Blue Jays' Vernon Wells, owed $98.5 million over five years; the Giants' Barry Zito, $83 million over four years; the Astros' Carlos Lee, $55.5 million over three years, maybe the Giants' Aaron Rowand, $36 million over three years.

The best of those scenarios involves the Rangers' five-year, $80-million deal with Michael Young, who at 32 is a productive player. He's owed $16 million a year for four more seasons.

In a cost-cutting mode because of ownership problems, Texas might consider a Bradley-for-Young trade. But it wouldn't do it during its ongoing playoff race and it's going to be increasingly awkward for them to try to wade through a hugely problematic trade.

As Rogers says, Texas is in a playoff race and probably wouldn't do it now. So are the Giants with Zito, who has actually pitched very well since the All-Star break. The Vernon Wells deal would be more palatable to the Cubs if it didn't have five years and nearly as much money as Alfonso Soriano's. But I'd do it. Wells is virtually the same age as Bradley (about eight months younger) and, though he's had a couple of tough years since he signed his monster deal, at least he does have proven power numbers from the past, and could play CF, allowing Kosuke Fukudome to move back to RF next season (with Reed Johnson retained to back them both up).

And strangely enough, the best local media words on this situation come from the Tribune's Steve Rosenbloom, who I almost never agree with and who often writes ridiculous bombast. But today he nails it, in a column titled Bradley's response ought to anger those who take on racism seriously:

Racism is serious. If you are concerned or angry enough to put that in the public discussion, then you seemingly should be motivated to explain when and where this happened. How else do you take a step toward keeping it from happening again?

But when Bradley offers only cynicism and sarcasm, he diminishes the severity of the issue. Moreover, he does a disservice to those suffering abuse but who are willing to fight the fight head on.

...

Under no circumstances does anyone deserve to be abused racially. Underachieving baseball player and racial epithets are dots that should never connect.

But Bradley’s history and now his dismissive response to questions following his serious charges invite the suggestion that he’s looking for ways to shield himself from his problems, self-inflicted or otherwise.

One hundred percent correct, Mr. Rosenbloom. Bravo.

Try to enjoy today's game.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Ted Lilly
Ted Lilly
Cubs
vs. Pat Misch
Pat Misch
Mets
9-8 W-L 0-1
3.40 ERA 4.09
116 SO 13
27 BB 13
21 HR 1
vs. NY -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Ted Lilly 9-8 21 21 0 0 0 0 135.0 123 56 51 21 27 116 3.40 1.11

Pat Misch's stats below are with the Mets only; see the pitcher box for his full-season stats.

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Pat Misch 0-1 15 0 0 0 0 1 18.2 18 6 6 1 10 13 2.89 1.50

There's no profile photo of Pat Misch in a Mets cap available (at least not in that size), so you get one of him with his former team, the Giants. The Mets acquired Misch on waivers in July and he's spent the last couple of months shuttling between Buffalo and New York, making 15 relief appearances with the Mets (after four with the Giants). He is a Chicago-area native who graduated from Glenbrook North HS in Northbrook in 1999 and has made three career relief appearances vs. the Cubs, all in 2007. This will be his first start as a Met. Only one current Cub has a hit off him -- Koyie Hill (1-for-2), but that's covering only eight total at-bats from all current Cubs.

Ted Lilly is 2-1, 3.86 in five career appearances (four starts) vs. the Mets. His last two starts against them, one in 2007 and one in 2008, were both wins, the last one in the April 22, 2008 game mentioned above. The current Met who has the most AB against Ted is Gary Sheffield; Sheffield is only 5-for-28 against him.

Cable-only today in Chicago (CSN) and New York (SNY). For other games today see the MLB.com Mediacenter.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Mets site Amazin' Avenue.

Overflow comment threads will post today at 2:15 pm, 3:15 pm and 4 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.