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A Numerologist's Dream -- 09/09/09: Cubs vs. Pirates Preview, Wednesday 9/9, 11:35 CT

PITTSBURGH -- If you are into such things, here are the Cubs' results for the four "numerologist dates" in this decade (they didn't play on 04/04/04):

08/08/08: Defeated Cardinals at Wrigley Field 3-2. Jim Edmonds hit two homers.

07/07/07: Defeated Pirates at Pittsburgh 7-1. Ted Lilly threw 7.1 strong innings.

06/06/06: Lost to Astros 7-1 at Houston. Nuff said, except that the 2006 team was horrible and probably would have lost no matter what the date was.

05/05/05: Lost to Brewers 6-5 at Milwaukee. Two words describe this game: LaTroy Hawkins.

Lou held a team meeting last night. Which raises two questions: 1) Why didn't this happen two months ago? 2) Why haven't the players called a meeting before now? (Answer to the latter question may be: "Because there aren't any player-leaders on this team.")

[Lou] talked about pride -- "personal and team pride," he said.

"I told them it's been a struggle this year," he added, "but we've still got [25] games to go, and we've got to play as well as we can and as hard as we can until the end of the season, and win as many games as we can."

Well, Lou, that's a great message. Did someone just wake you up? Where was this attitude when the Cubs were going through their 11-17 month of August?

And more reminders that things can always be worse: Yahoo's Gordon Edes lists 17 things about the Pirates over their 17 consecutive losing seasons. My favorite (and you should take note of this one if you think the Cubs have had a lot of losing seasons in your lifetime):

Number of seasons in which a Pirates team did not spend a single day over .500 or in first place: 5. An additional six teams were never more than three games over .500 an entire season.

Site note: I am leaving right after today's game to drive back to Chicago. I am once again going to try to find wifi on the road to post a recap, but if not, today's game recap may be delayed until Thursday morning.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Carlos Zambrano
Carlos Zambrano
vs. Kevin Hart
Kevin Hart
7-6 W-L 4-5
3.80 ERA 4.67
115 SO 37
63 BB 30
10 HR 9
vs. Pit -- vs. Cubs

2009 - Carlos Zambrano 7-6 30 23 0 0 0 0 137.1 131 65 58 10 63 115 3.80 1.41

Note: stats below are for Hart with the Pirates only. See the pitcher box for his full-season stats.

2009 - Kevin Hart 1-4 6 6 0 0 0 0 34.0 47 27 24 6 12 24 6.35 1.74

When last we saw Kevin Hart, he was pitching six good innings for the Cubs against the Astros on July 30 at Wrigley Field, after which he was traded to the Pirates. Since then he's been... not so good. He's piled up innings for Pittsburgh, but given up a lot of hits, walks and homers. This will be his first appearance against his old team; let's light him up.

The only time Z has faced the Pirates this year so far was memorable, and not for his pitching; it was on May 27 at Wrigley Field. That was the day he melted down after a close play at the plate and wound up, among other things, flinging a baseball 300 feet into left field. Needless to say, he was ejected. (The Cubs came back and won the game anyway.) The current Pirate who hits him best is Ramon Vazquez (5-for-12); the only current Pirate to have homered off Z is Brandon Moss.

Cable-only for TV today, and Chicago-only (CSN, no Pittsburgh TV). For other games today see the Mediacenter. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Pirates site Bucs Dugout.

I'm going to stick to two overflow threads again today; they will post at 12:45 and 2 pm CDT. If things get too busy, please post a FanShot overflow; if I see there's a lot of activity the next couple of days, I may go back to three.

Discuss amongst yourselves.