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Cubs vs. Brewers Preview, Saturday 9/11, 6:10 CT: Miscellany

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There's not a lot of really important things new to discuss as the Cubs try for two straight over the Brewers; this article has a few miscellaneous notes of interest:

  • Jeff Samardizja may get a start on this trip:
    Manager Mike Quade said the Cubs also hope to insert Jeff Samardzija into the rotation for the Sept. 18 game against the Marlins, although he cautioned that's not "set in stone."
  • Which might result in a "seven-man rotation" if Tom Gorzelanny can come back:
    Tom Gorzelanny, sidelined since Sept. 1 after taking a line drive off his left pinkie finger, threw a bullpen session Friday and has one more Sunday before the Cubs decide when to insert him back into the rotation.
  • And, Marlon Byrd tied a personal mark last night:
    Cubs outfielder Marlon Byrd notched his 155th hit of the season with two outs in the fifth inning Friday off Milwaukee's Dave Bush to match his career high, set last year with the Rangers.

Meanwhile, Bruce Miles wrote yesterday about quality starts:

--When the Cubs get a quality start, the team's record in those games is 44-34, and the starters' ERA in those games is 2.22

--When the Cubs don't get a quality start, the record is 16-46, and the ERA is 7.73.

Moral of story: Quality starts are good; non-quality starts are bad. And when you consider that the Cubs' overall record is 60-80, the 44-34 record in quality-start games tells you something.

Those numbers don't include last night's game, which was another quality start and win. Granted that the "quality start" can result in a 4.50 ERA and isn't the greatest benchmark, you can at least use it for comparison to other teams. The Cubs have 79 quality starts, tied with the Braves for sixth in the NL -- but only two behind a three-way tie for third (81, Phillies, Dodgers and Astros) and only five behind the NL leaders (84, Cardinals and Giants). Conclusion: Cubs starting pitching has been pretty good this year; the bullpen has been the source of most of the failures. Fix that and this team can return to contention quickly.

Today's lineup via tweet from Carrie:

#Cubs lineup Sat vs #Brewers is 3B Baker, SS Castro, CF Byrd, C Soto, 1B Nady, RF Fuke, LF Soriano, 2B DeWitt, P Dempster

And if you are wondering why Baker is leading off tonight, Carrie tweets the answer:

#Cubs Jeff Baker is batting .354 against lefties, third best in the NL. In four games as leadoff man, he's 9-for-15
Today's Starting Pitchers
Ryan Dempster
Ryan Dempster
vs. Randy Wolf
Randy Wolf
12-10 W-L 11-10
3.76 ERA 4.68
177 SO 116
76 BB 80
22 HR 26
vs. Mil -- vs. Cubs

2010 - Ryan Dempster 12-10 30 29 1 0 0 0 186.2 171 95 78 22 76 177 3.76 1.32

2010 - Randy Wolf 11-10 31 29 0 0 0 0 178.2 189 100 93 26 80 116 4.68 1.51

Randy Wolf had been tough on the Cubs in 2008 and 2009 as a member of the Dodgers and Astros, but the Cubs hit him hard on June 9 at Miller Park, the night the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup. The Cubs hit five home runs off Wolf that night, two each by Geovany Soto and Marlon Byrd.

Ryan Dempster, after being solid most of the season, has had two bad outings in a row. Perhaps the Brewers are the cure -- he's 2-0, 1.42 in three starts against them this season, two of those in Milwaukee. Current Brewers are hitting .245 (49-for-200) against Ryan, who would like to finish the season strong; he ranks 11th in the NL in innings pitched and eighth in strikeouts, one behind Ubaldo Jimenez.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago and FSN Wisconsin. Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Brewers site Brew Crew Ball. As always, be careful over there.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 6 pm CDT, and the overflows will post at 7:15 pm, 8:15 pm and 9 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.