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Going For The Sweep: Cubs vs. Brewers Preview, Thursday 4/15, 1:20 CT

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While we await the Cubs sweeping the Brewers this afternoon, a few notes:

  • After playing several very quick games during spring training (including one in an almost unheard-of 1:59), the Cubs' regular season games are getting longer... and longer... and longer... so far, the eight games have averaged 2:47, with the last three at 2:55, 2:59 and 3:04. Yesterday's game actually flew through the first five innings, then slowed down considerably.
  • Although the Cubs appear to be doing just fine with ticket sales, there are some other clubs headed for potential disaster at the box office. After the first weekend at Camden Yards, which drew reasonably well, the Orioles have drawn 9,129, 13,731 and 10,248 vs. the Rays the last three games. The first of those was the smallest crowd ever at Camden Yards. The Indians had 10,071 last night vs. the Rangers; the Blue Jays 12,167 and 10,610 the last two nights vs. the White Sox, and the Royals had two crowds barely over 10,000 last week vs. the Tigers. Even the Mariners, who aren't quite in that range, had 15,978 last night -- second-smallest crowd in Safeco Field history.
  • Rob Neyer on boo-birds. Interesting take.
  • The NU-Illinois football game at Wrigley Field looks like it's set to go on November 20.
  • Before yesterday, when Jeff Gray entered the game wearing #34, the last player before Kerry Wood to wear that number for the Cubs was Kent Bottenfield in 1997.
  • Lou says Tyler Colvin will start today.
  • Today is Jackie Robinson Day; all players, coaches and managers will wear Robinson's #42 in his honor.
Today's Starting Pitchers
Carlos Zambrano
Carlos Zambrano
Cubs
vs. Jeff Suppan
Jeff Suppan
Brewers
1-1 W-L making
11.88 ERA his
10 SO 2010
4 BB season
3 HR debut
vs. Mil -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Carlos Zambrano 1-1 2 2 0 0 0 0 8.1 12 11 11 3 4 10 11.88 1.92

Obviously, Z was much better in his second start than in his first. This will be his first home start of the season. Last year he had three no-decisions vs. the Brewers and a 4.50 ERA in those three outings, covering 18 innings. Z had a lot of ND last year -- 12 of them in 28 starts. Prince Fielder owns him -- 12-for-33 (.364) with five doubles and two HR. Conversely, Ryan Braun has only done OK vs. Z: 7-for-26 (.269), only one double and one HR. And look! The Cubs got new player photos. Z almost looks happy in this one.

Jeff Suppan will be making his first start of the year for Milwaukee. Derrek Lee, who is expected back in the starting lineup today, pounds Suppan: 22-for-51 (.431), seven doubles, five HR, ten walks. Careerwise, Suppan has made 23 starts against the Cubs with a 6-9, 3.63 record; that ERA is a run lower than his career total. Last year in four starts he posted a 3.80 ERA against the Cubs, but they beat him three times. Let's hope that continues today.

The game's on cable again today: CSN Chicago and FSN Wisconsin. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Brewers site Brew Crew Ball. Keep being careful over there, though.

This afternoon's first pitch thread will be up at 1:15 pm CDT, and the overflows will post at 2:15, 3:15 and 4 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.