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Carlos Zambrano, Playing Soccer? Cubs vs. Mets Preview, Friday 9/3, 1:20 CT

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Remember the Ryan Theriot fishing bobblehead the Cubs handed out earlier this year?

Today, Carlos Zambrano gets the "non-baseball" treatment as the Cubs will give the first 10,000 fans a bobblehead of him with a soccer ball. Click here for the Cubs' September promotional schedule, where you can find a photo of this masterpiece. It's a shame Z isn't pitching today -- that'd be perfect. He'll go on Sunday.

As for this weekend's opponent, the Mets have been a classic .500 club for the last six weeks. On July 21, they lost to the Diamondbacks in 14 innings, making their record 49-46. Since that date -- 39 games ago -- they have not been more than three games over nor three games under .500. In fact, between July 24 and August 31 they weren't more than two games under or over .500. They come into this game 66-68, having just broken their first three-game losing streak since late July. They haven't won more than two in a row since then, either.

So, the Cubs have a reasonable shot at winning this series. They'll be facing a tired Mets team -- for some reason, they had a night game in Atlanta last night.

One more note: the Cubs have activated Welington Castillo effective today. So far, he's the only recall. I would expect Carlos Silva to be activated in time to take Tom Gorzelanny's next turn; other recalls, if any, are likely to happen after the Triple-A season ends.

Today's lineup via tweet from Carrie:

#Cubs lineup vs #Mets for Fri: RF Fuke, SS Castro, CF Byrd, 3B Ramy, 1B Nady, C Soto, LF Soriano, 2B DeWitt, P Wells
Today's Starting Pitchers
Randy Wells
Randy Wells
Cubs
vs. R.A. Dickey
R.A. Dickey
Mets
6-12 W-L 9-5
4.50 ERA 2.56
124 SO 87
52 BB 33
18 HR 9
vs. NY -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Randy Wells 6-12 27 27 0 0 0 0 160.0 175 85 80 18 52 124 4.50 1.42


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - R.A. Dickey 9-5 20 20 1 1 0 0 133.1 123 44 38 9 33 87 2.56 1.17

R.A. Dickey has never faced the Cubs and only three current Cubs (Alfonso Soriano, Marlon Byrd and Blake DeWitt) have ever faced him, none for more than two at-bats. But I remember a spring-training game he threw against the Cubs in 2006 when he was with the Rangers; he gave up only three hits in six innings. Here's the recap I wrote on that March 24, 2006 game; it's typical knuckleball. You're either unhittable or totally hittable; like a lot of knuckleballers, it has taken Dickey into his mid-30s to really master the pitch. If this year is for real, he could throw for another ten (like Tim Wakefield) because knuckleballs put almost no stress on a pitcher's arm.

Randy Wells threw a nice game against the Mets in New York on April 19; after Lou double-switched him out of the game in a 1-1 tie after six innings and only 93 pitches, the bullpen blew the game. Quite a few players who were in that game aren't even on the Mets any more -- Jeff Francoeur, Rod Barajas and Alex Cora are all gone. Randy won his last start vs. the Reds, his first "W" since July.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago and SNY. 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 Mets site Amazin' Avenue.

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

Discuss amongst yourselves.