Game 48 Thread / Cubs @ Pirates (1 of 3)

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SP Carlos Zambrano SP *Zach Duke
  6-1, 2.45, 46 K, 19 BB, 66 IP
2-2, 4.23, 20 K, 19 BB, 55.1 IP
LF Alfonso Soriano 2B Freddy Sanchez
SS Ryan Theriot CF *Nate McLouth
1B Derrek Lee LF Jason Bay
3B Aramis Ramirez 1B *Adam LaRoche
C Geovany Soto RF Xavier Nady
2B Ronny Cedeño 3B *Doug Mientkiewicz
RF Mark DeRosa C Ronny Paulino
CF Reed Johnson SS Chris Gomez
P #Carlos Zambrano P *Zach Duke












Yes, the Washington Generals host the Harlem Globetrotters yet again.

The Cubs enter the game with an 8-1 record and 69-38 run differential this season against the Pirates. The lone loss occurred last Saturday at Wrigley Field, when these same two pitchers hooked up, and Zambrano, who has been so stellar in the first couple months of the campaign, went completely mental. Neither pitcher figured in the final decision, a 7-6 Pittsburgh win.

Tonight, Fukudome gets the night off, DeRosa moves to right, and Cedeño, who has hit Duke well (8-for-21), gets a start and gets to hit in front of DeRosa, who can't seem to hit at all on the road this year (11-for-62, .172, 530 OPS).

Alfonso Soriano, who cooled off against the Astros (5 K's in 8 AB) following that torrid homestand, is 10-for-18 with 2 HR lifetime against Duke. On the flipside, the Pirates' Jason Bay is 12-for-36 with 5 HR lifetime against Zambrano.

This will be Zambrano's first start since reports emerged that he was dealing with a sore shoulder and that the Cubs medical staff was on high alert. Zambrano and Lou Piniella denied the reports flatly, uncategorically, and apparently with great gusto.

As they did last weekend, the Bucs will throw three lefties at the Cubs
in this series. Lou's crew is 10-5 this season against southpaws, 18-14
vs. righties.

The Cubs enter this series with a one-game lead over the Cardinals in the NL Central and holding down the top spot in Baseball Prospectus's Hit List Power Rankings, where the team is sized up this way:

The Cubs' lead atop the NL Central tightens up as they drop a series to the Astros, but both PECOTA (BP's statistical projection system) and their run differential suggest there's little reason to panic.
The offense is cranking out 5.7 runs per game, tops in the majors, and
they're getting above-average production at every position except
center field, with five positions putting up a .400 OBP or above. Alfonso Soriano
isn't among that quintet, but his 21-for-44 performance, including
seven homers in six games, is a big reason for the team's recent 9-2


this year's schedule is one of the worst ever as far as spacing/variety goes.

love beating up on PIT, but it just seems so empty/hollow to be in 1st with almost 1/3rd of your wins getting you to 1st is vs. 1 team you've played 9 times...12 games with PIT in april/

Let's hope that when we no longer are afforded the luxury of playing the Pirates every third series that we remain on top of the central division.

Our performance against the Astros was less than awesome.

Len just said: The Cubs are the only team in MLB that hasn't lost 3 in a row.

I do not want to be overconfident this early in the season. I also recognize crunch's and Jordan's point re: the way the never-ending Pirates saga contributes to the above fact.

But still: Wow!

Heh--don't mean to be a party pooper, but if I recall the '84 Cubs didn't lose three in a row all year...until, well, they lost three in a row to the Padres in a rather important series in October.

Anybody else get the sense that Reed Johnson wants to be the starting CF?

Wow -- 9 RBI by 7-8-9 in the lineup.

Are you trying to imply that Reed Johnson has actually been a productive member of the offense or something?

if I recall the '84 Cubs didn't lose three in a row all year...until, well, they lost three in a row to the Padres

1984 Cubs lost three in a row to the Reds, May 25-27; 4 in a row to the Phillies June 14-17; 4 in a row to the Astros and Reds August 13-17; and 5 in a row to the Mets, Pirates, and Cardinals Sept. 16-21.

Like I said, not trying to be giddy here, and the stat about not losing 3 in a row probably doesn't mean that much in the final analysis. But it was nice to hear.

Rats. Bad information there, sorry.;_ylt=AnEfAvYshRaS...

I never knew these "bag of balls" trades actually happened.

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