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A Hot Time In The Cold Town Tonight: Cubs vs. Reds Preview, Friday 4/9, 6:10 CT

GABP, normally a launching pad, might not be so this evening; the Cincinnati weather forecast calls for lows in the 30's.

In order to keep the Cubs' top three starters (Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Randy Wells) on rotation in the early season, the rotation this weekend will be slotted a bit differently; Carlos Silva goes tonight, then Z tomorrow and Tom Gorzelanny on Sunday, before Dempster throws the home opener on Monday. Ted Lilly's back is bothering him (Lou Piniella says this is NOT a "setback"), so instead of starting tonight for Iowa, he'll go on Sunday, and is still on target to return sometime from April 19-22, during the Mets series in New York.

Miscellaneous Cubs/baseball notes:

Today's Starting Pitchers
Carlos Silva
Carlos Silva
vs. Homer Bailey
Homer Bailey
1-3 W-L 8-5
8.60 ERA 4.53
10 SO 86
11 BB 52
5 HR 12
vs. Cin -- vs. Cubs

Stats are 2009 season stats

Yes, I know. Those Carlos Silva numbers look ugly; they're what he put up in eight appearances (six starts) for the Mariners in 2009 before he spent the rest of the year on the DL. Instead, how about Silva's numbers in six spring training starts this year: 2-1, 3.80, only two walks in 21.1 innings. And six of the nine earned runs he gave up were in one outing. Yes, I know: spring stats don't mean much, and Silva's reality is likely somewhere in between those and his awful Seattle numbers. Let's hope he keeps up the good work. Silva has never faced the Reds as a starter, but he has an 8.10 ERA in five career relief appearances against them, all of which were in 2002 and 2003 when he was with the Phillies. He has faced a number of current Reds when he was in the AL, notably Orlando Cabrera, who has pounded him (13-for-31, 4 doubles, 1 HR).

Homer Bailey has made two career starts vs. the Cubs, one in 2007, one last year; he's 1-1, 5.73 over those starts. He has not faced any Cub for more than 5 AB (Derrek Lee, 3-for-5); Alfonso Soriano is 3-for-3 vs. Bailey with a HR, so I'd expect Alfonso back in the lineup tonight.

Lineup via tweet from Carrie:

ss theriot, cf colvin, 1b lee, 3b ramirez, rf nady, lf soriano, 2b fontenot, c hill, p silva

Tonight is WGN's first telecast of the year, so it will be available nationally. It's also on FSN Ohio. Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Reds site Red Reporter.

Tonight's overflow threads will post at 7:15, 8:15 and 9 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.