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-- The I-Cubs' Andrew Cashner was named PCL Pitcher of the Week. That's what winning two starts while allowing one run and just eight hits over 13 innings will do for you. And let's not forget: he won the second of those games while dealing with the pressure of having TCR's very own Mike Wellman in the stands.

-- The Giants fan site, 22gigantes, pointed me to an mlb.com article in which the 30 MLB clubs were ranked for drafting success, based on All-Star appearances, Cy Young Awards, etc., won by their draftees in recent years. Cub draftees earned six such awards—four All-Star appearances plus ROY Awards for Kerry Wood and Geovany Soto—which tied the team for 11th place with the Giants, Marlins, and Cardinals.

First things first:

Earlier this afternoon, the Cubs officially signed 36-year-old Bob Howry, demoted Justin Berg to Iowa, and designated David Patton for assignment.

Howry has been well analyzed here and elsewhere, but just in case you've missed it...

The now-ex-former-Cub appeared in 14 games for the Diamondbacks before his recent release, was scored upon in 8, and was cut loose by the D-Backs with an ERA of 10.67 and 6 home runs allowed in just 14 1/3 innings pitched. He was coming off a decent season last year in San Francisco, where he had a 3.39 ERA, a 2:1 K/BB ratio, and allowed fewer home runs in 63 IP (5) than he did in just a few weeks this season in Arizona. (Park effects at work, both ways, maybe?)

As for the game tonight...

The Cubs go for a third consecutive win and try to close out the homestand at 4-4 before they get the crap beaten out of them in Philadelphia as they match-up with the Rockies.

Jhoulys Chacin (yo-LEES cha-SEEN), 2-1, 2.66, goes up against Carlos Silva (CAR-los SIL-va). Silva, 4-0, 3.40, is attempting to become the first Cub pitcher to begin a season 5-0 since Greg Maddux did so back in 2006.

Aramis Ramirez blasted a one-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the 11th to lead the Cubs to a 4-2 win over the Rockies Monday night at Wrigley. Lou Piniella's post-game press conference, the main topic of which was a player who never even appeared in the game, was at least as newsworthy as the main event.

First about the game:

The Cubs had leads of 1-0 and 2-1 courtesy of run-scoring singles by Aramis Ramirez and Koyie Hill, before the Rockies tied the game in the 8th inning on a single and three walks, two by John Grabow and one by Carlos Marmol. Marmol redeemed himself by inducing an inning-ending double play, nicely initiated by Starlin Castro, to preserve the tie. 

Cubs try to even up their series with the Bucs after losing the first four matchups of the season series. It's the first time the Cubs have dropped their first four games against Pittsburgh since...well, I refuse to look it up because it would depress the crap out of me.

The lefty Paul Maholm (2-3, 4.91) starts this afternoon against Ryan Dempster (2-3, 3.44). This was the pitching matchup back on 5/4 at PNC when the Cubs clung to a 2-1 lead with two out in home 6th. Dempster then told Lou Piniella that he had enough left in the tank to retire Ryan Church with the tying run aboard, at which point Church crushed a pitch into the rightfield bleachers, and all of everybody's premonitions about how Lou should have yanked Dempster in favor of Sean Marshall were proven right.

Cubbie memories—there's nothin' like 'em.

Saturday's starting lineups:

Chicago filmmaker Michael Diedrich has shot "Ballhawks," a documentary about the guys who plant themselves out on Waveland Avenue and wait to catch the moonshots. The film, which is narrated by Bill Murray, premieres May 28-30 at the Siskel Film Center on State Street.

Losers of seven of their last eight games and four in a row, the Cubs try to salvage the finale of the three-game series with the Marlins.

From my office window, I see lots of clouds, fog, and in the alley behind Mr. Beef, a couple guys who look like they're ready to start throwing punches. Forecast says there's a 70% chance of rain by 3pm. I foresee a nearly 100% probability that I'll be disgusted by the second inning.

The Cubs lost for the sixth time in seven tries as the Marlins scored three times in the 7th inning to overcome a 2-1 Cub lead and go on to win 4-2 at Wrigley Field.

You wouldn't think a team could pack so much failure into a simple 4-2 loss, but well...

As virtually all of Cub Nation has probably already heard, the Cubs have summoned 20-year-old Starlin Castro to the bigs. He's in tonight's lineup in Cincinnati, hitting eighth. Ryan Theriot is moving over to second. Chad Tracy, meanwhile, has been banished to Iowa, Andrew Cashner has been promoted to Iowa from Tennessee, and Josh Vitters has been moved up to Tennessee from Daytona.

Back to the game tonight. Here's the batting order that will go up against the Reds' Homer Bailey:

Unbeaten Randy Wells (3-0, 3.45) matches up with lefty Brian Burres (1-1) as the Cubs try to avoid their first sweep at the hands of the Pirates since 2006. Burres comes into the game with an ERA of 6.00, i.e., about 7 runs per game lower than Charlie Morton, who frustrated the Cubs last night.

A couple wrinkles in the Cubs batting order tonight (aren't there always?):

Cubs: Theriot 6, Byrd 8, Lee 3, Nady 9, Ramirez 5, Soriano 7, Soto 2, Baker 8, Wells 1

Pirates: Iwamura 4, LaRoche 5, McCutchen 8, Jones 3, Doumit 2, Church 9, Milledge 7, Cedeno 7, Burres 1

Finally, this interesting, depressing tweet from @CarrieMuskat: "#Cubs batting .251 on road, but if subtract Milw series 4/23-25 stats, they're only hitting .220 away from Wrigley."

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