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Wrigley Field will be drowning in Pattersons tonight as the Cubs' Eric will be in the dugout opposite the Reds' Corey. E-Pat has been called up from Triple-A Iowa as Alfonso Soriano and his strained right calf muscle go on the 15-day DL.

More momentarily in the Gameday Thread.

Do you remember that supercharged night back in 1999 when former Cub manager Jim Lefebvre, then manager of the Brewers, returned to Wrigley Field for the first time as skipper of another club, in a much anticipated showdown with Jim Riggleman?

I don't either.

But Johnnie B. Baker, Jr., is no Jim Lefebvre, and Lou Piniella is no Jim Riggleman. These guys are managerial heavyweights, and as much as Baker and Piniella claim there is nothing special about Baker's return to Wrigley beside the fact that both the Reds and Cubs will be trying to get a leg up on an NL Central rival, we all know much, much better.

Here, then, is a comparison to help you distinguish the combatants:

The five hits that did the most to enhance the Cubs' chance of winning during the past, exhausting, extra-inning-filled week, as measured by FanGraphs' Win Probability Added (WPA):


#5 Big Hit:
Sunday v. Philadelphia, 3rd inning--Derrek Lee socked a two-run double off 67-year-old Jamie Moyer to give the Cubs a 3-1 lead they would eventually surrender. WPA .182

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SP Jason Marquis SP *Jamie Moyer
  0-0, 6.75, 2 K, 1 BB 1-0, 4.66, 4 K, 4 BB
       
LF Alfonso Soriano RF *Geoff Jenkins
CF Reed Johnson CF Jayson Werth
1B Derrek Lee 2B *Chase Utley
3B Aramis Ramirez 1B *Ryan Howard
RF *Kosuke Fukudome LF Pat Burrell
2B Mark DeRosa 3B Pedro Feliz
SS Ryan Theriot C Chris Coste
C Henry Blanco SS Eric Bruntlett
P
*Jason Marquis P *Jamie Moyer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marquis was bypassed in the rotation on Friday because of a strep throat. His only 2008 appearance was last Saturday, when he pitched 5 1/3 very bumpy innings against the Astros (8 hits, a walk and 4 ER). He's 4-3, 4.64 lifetime against the Phils and beat them last year in his only start against Philly since joining the Cubs.

Moyer pitched for Lou Piniella's Seattle teams and went 98-48 between 1996 and 2002. He actually had two stints with the Cubs. After they released him in the spring of '92, the Cubs were kind enough to offer him a coaching job within the organization.

He has gone on to win 197 Major League games since then.

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SP Ted Lilly SP *Cole Hamels
  0-1, 9.72, 5 K, 2 BB 1-1, 1.20, 10 K, 5 BB
       
LF Alfonso Soriano CF #Shane Victorino
CF Reed Johnson RF Jayson Werth
1B Derrek Lee 2B *Chase Utley
3B Aramis Ramirez 1B *Ryan Howard
C Geovany Soto LF Pat Burrell
RF Mark DeRosa 3B Pedro Feliz
2B Ronny Cedeno C Carlos Ruiz
SS Ryan Theriot SS Eric Bruntlett
P
*Ted Lilly P *Cole Hamels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lilly is coming off his shortest outing as a Cub, that is, in games that weren't meaningless end-of-season affairs or didn't involve his getting a quick thumb from the home plate umpire. In Monday's game, you'll recall, the Cubs staked Lilly to a 7-0 lead, then the lefty couldn't make it out of the fourth inning. Eventually the Cubs won 10-8 in 12 innings. Thank God for Jon Lieber and Evan Meek.

From the cubs.com report about the outing:

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Dusty Baker may juggle the Red Legs' pitching rotation heading into next week's visit to Wrigley Field.

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SP Ryan Dempster SP *Zach Duke
  1-0, 1.50, 5 K, 2 BB 0-0, 3.18, 1 K, 1 BB
       
LF Alfonso Soriano CF *Nate McLouth
CF Reed Johnson 2B Freddy Sanchez
1B Derrek Lee LF Jason Bay
3B Aramis Ramirez 1B *Adam LaRoche
RF *Kosuke Fukudome RF Xavier Nady
2B Mark DeRosa C #Ryan Doumit
C Geovany Soto 3B Jose Bautista
SS Ronny Cedeno SS Brian Bixler
P
Ryan Dempster P *Zach Duke

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's true--the Cubs are unbeaten this season in games started by Ryan Dempster and Jason Marquis. (I know, we're talking about two games, but still, I'm pleasantly surprised.)

Former Cub Bill Buckner threw out the first pitch before the Red Sox home opener Tuesday against the Tigers. In a tearful press conference--lot of that going around this week--Buckner said he had finally been able to forgive the media for the brutal treatment he and his family had received following Buckner's fateful error in Game Six of the Sox' 1986 World Series loss to the Mets.

For a whole generation of fans, Buckner's connection to that Mookie Wilson-hit ground ball has obscured the fact that the guy was a terrific baseball player. The onetime Dodger played seven full seasons on the North Side after the Cubs had acquired him and Ivan DeJesus in a January, 1977 trade for Rick Monday.

The five hits that did the most to enhance the Cubs' chance of winning this week, as measured by FanGraphs' Win Probability Added (WPA):


#5 Big Hit:
Saturday v. Houston, 3rd inning--Derrek Lee cracks a solo home run off Roy Oswalt to tie the Astros, 2-2. Lee would later employ his game-tying skills to more good use. (See #4 Big Hit.) WPA .120

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SP Roy Oswalt SP Jason Marquis
(2008) 0-1, 5.06, 6 K, 1 BB (2007) 12-9, 4.60
       
CF *Michael Bourn LF Alfonso Soriano
RF Hunter Pence CF Reed Johnson
1B #Lance Berkman 1B Derrek Lee
LF Carlos Lee 3B Aramis Ramirez
SS Miguel Tejada RF *Kosuke Fukudome
3B Ty Wigginton 2B Mark DeRosa
2B Mark Loretta C Geovany Soto
C Brad Ausmus SS Ryan Theriot
P
Roy Oswalt P *Jason Marquis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So here's where we are:

The Cubs need to win a game started by Roy Oswalt or be assured of having lost the season's first two series, at home, to division rivals Milwaukee and Houston.

Yeeech!

The good news is, the Cubs have had at least a few productive offensive games against Oswalt (11-10, 3.97 lifetime v. Cubs), which is more than they can say about their encounters with Chris Sampson.

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