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The Welington Castillo Era Begins: Cubs vs. Giants Preview, Wednesday 8/11, 9:15 CT

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Yesterday, I wrote this as the beginning of the game preview:

After a nice lunch on the Embarcadero here in San Francisco, and watching the fog try somewhat uneasily to lift this afternoon, I went back to write this preview and had no real ideas. How many great ideas for game previews can you possibly have when the Cubs have lost 11 of their last 12?

All I'd have to do is change "11 of their last 12" to "11 of their last 13" and the lunch location to Sam's Anchor Cafe, and I could post it again. Sam's, located in Marin County (Tiburon), is one of my favorite spots in the Bay Area.

Otherwise, nothing's really changed since yesterday. The Cubs are half a game out of fourth place. Big whoop, right? Tonight, Welington Castillo will be making his major league debut, starting at catcher. He'll be wearing uniform #53, for those of us who keep track of such things (and yes, his first name is correctly spelled with only one "L"). Castillo is 23 and should, I would think, have a pretty good shot at being Geovany Soto's backup next year. At least we know we'll no longer have a manager who's obsessed with having a lefthanded hitting backup catcher, to the point that the perfectly serviceable Henry Blanco, who put up four decent years as the Cubs' backup catcher, was jettisoned and has had useful years for the Padres and Mets the last two years. Actually, I don't have a huge problem with Koyie Hill as backup -- it's just that he's been used too much, and Blanco, I believe, is better.

Rant over -- follow me past the jump for tonight's game preview. First, lineup via tweet from Carrie:

#Cubs lineup for Wed vs #Giants RF Colvin, SS Castro, 1B Nady, 3B Ramy, CF Byrd, LF Sori, 2B DeWitt, C Castillo (ML Debut), P Gorzelanny
Today's Starting Pitchers
Tom Gorzelanny
Tom Gorzelanny
Cubs
vs. Barry Zito
Barry Zito
Giants
6-6 W-L 8-6
3.51 ERA 3.35
94 SO 114
50 BB 56
6 HR 14
vs. SF -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Tom Gorzelanny 6-6 22 16 0 0 1 0 100.0 93 47 39 6 50 94 3.51 1.43


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Barry Zito 8-6 23 23 1 0 0 0 150.2 128 57 56 14 56 114 3.35 1.22

After pitching poorly in the first two years of his huge Giants contract, Barry Zito has been solid the last two years. Lifetime against the Cubs, though, it's a different story: 1-3 in five career starts with a 4.66 ERA. That includes a lineup of Cub scrubs cuffing him around pretty good last September 26. Today would have been a good day to sit Alfonso Soriano, as he is only 5-for-39 (.128) against Zito lifetime, with 14 strikeouts. But then, Lou and Tram probably don't read these previews.

Tom Gorzelanny was Zito's opponent in that 9/26/2009 game and he threw five decent innings, allowing one run, and got the win despite throwing a large number of pitches (95). No current Giant has more than three career AB against Tom and Aaron Rowand -- who might start tonight, think of him as the Giants' version of Kosuke Fukudome -- is the only one who has homered off him.

Tonight's game is back on the CSN's, Chicago and Bay Area. 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 Giants site McCovey Chronicles.

Tonight's first pitch thread will be up at 9:15 pm CDT, and the overflows will post at 10:15 pm, 11:15 pm and midnight CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.