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  #1  
Old Apr 8th 2009, 12:56 pm
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4/8 CHC@HOU; 7:05pm; TV: CSN+, Radio: WGN

Chicago Cubs (1-1) vs. Houston Astros (1-1)
April 8, 2009
Minute Maid Park
Game No. 3
Road Game No. 3
LHP Ted Lilly (0-0, 0.00)
vs.
RHP Brian Moehler (0-0, 0.00)


ABOUT THE CUBS: Chicago continues its season-opening road trip with the final game of a three-game set in Houston … following an off-day Thursday, the Cubs will play a three-game weekend series in Milwaukee … the team heads home for its first homestand at Wrigley Field, April 13-23, for nine games against the Rockies (2 G, April 13 and 15), Cardinals (4 G, April 16-19) and Reds (3 G, April 21-23).

In 2008, the Cubs won their second-straight N.L. Central Division title with a 97-64 record, 7.5-games ahead of Milwaukee … the 97 victories were a 12-game improvement over the team’s 85-77 mark in 2007, and 31-games better than the club’s 66-96 mark in 2006.

The Cubs began 2008 with five consecutive winning months: 17-10 in March/April, 18-11 in May, 15-12 in June, 15-11 in July and 20-8 in August … Chicago was 12-12 in September … the Cubs had 15 or more victories in each of the first five months for the first time since 1969.

REMEMBER LAST SEASON?: The Cubs last night played 10 innings in a 3-2 loss against the Astros at Minute Maid Park … it was Chicago’s second game of the season and brought back memories of last year, when four of the team’s first seven road games went extra innings – Chicago won all four of those contests.

Those four extra inning games were: April 7 (10-8 win in 12 innings) and April 9 (6-4 win in 15) in Pittsburgh, April 13 in Philadelphia (6-5 win in 10) and April 23 in Colorado (7-6 win in 10).

RARE FEAT BY SORI: Alfonso Soriano’s eighth-inning home run last night in Houston tied the game at 2-2 and made him the first Cub to homer in each of the team’s first two games of the season since Scott Servais turned the trick in 1996.

The last Cub to homer in the first three games of a season was Hall of Famer Billy Williams, who turned the trick to start the 1971 campaign.

HANDCUFFING THEM: Cubs pitching has held Astros hitters to a .160 batting average (19-for-119) in their last four games against each other, beginning with Carlos Zambrano’s no-hitter September 14, 2008.

Chicago’s hurlers have allowed just two extra-base hits to Houston in their last four games, walking 14 and striking out 34.

TED TOES RUBBER TONIGHT: Cubs southpaw Ted Lilly makes his first start of the season … his 32 wins since the start of the 2007 season are tied for second-most among all big league lefties with Johan Santana … CC Sabathia leads with 36 wins in that span …

Lilly’s .653 winning percentage since the start of 2007 (32-17) ranks fifth among all southpaws – Cliff Lee leads with a .692 mark (27-12).

SERIES SPEAK: The Cubs, who have split the first two games of this three-game set in Houston, need a victory tonight to win their first season-opening series since the 2003 campaign when they captured two-of-three in New York against the Mets.

Chicago was 30-16-6 in series play in 2008 … that broke down to a 20-4-2 series record at home and a 10-12-4 series mark on the road.

The Cubs won nine consecutive series from July 24-August 27 last season, a feat the team hadn’t accomplished in over 100 years – Chicago had won 10 consecutive series (of two more games) from April 11-May 23, 1907.

ONE DOWN, TWO TO GO: Monday night was the first of three home openers the Cubs will participate in to start this season … Chicago will help open Milwaukee’s home schedule Friday at Miller Park before heading home to begin its home schedule Monday against the Rockies.

GOOD HEALTH: The Cubs have opened the 2009 campaign without a single player on the major league disabled list for the first time in 23 years … Chicago last broke camp totally healthy in 1986 – the first player to land on the shelf that season was Lee Smith on April 21 … thanks go out to Ed Hartig for his research assistance.

Last season, the Cubs opened the season with Scott Eyre and Angel Guzman both on the disabled list.

RAMIREZ AT MINUTE MAID: Aramis Ramirez hit his 17th career home run at Minute Maid Park Monday night, second-most among any Astros opponent – St. Louis’ Albert Pujols leads the list with 22 home runs at Minute Maid.

The third baseman has eight RBI in his last nine games at Minute Maid Park dating to September 13, 2007.

SEASON NUMBER THREE: Lou Piniella, the 2008 N.L. Manager of the Year, is in his 22nd season as a major league skipper and his third with Chicago … he has compiled a 1,702-1,562 (.521) record thus far … Piniella has managed the New York Yankees (1986-88), Cincinnati (1990-92), Seattle (1993-2002), Tampa Bay (2003-05) and the Cubs (2007-2009).

AGAINST THE N.L. CENTRAL
Since the start of the 2007 season, the Cubs have gone 94-68 (.580) against their N.L. Central rivals – that’s the top winning percentage among their division opponents:
Team..................................Pct.
Chicago................94-68 (.580)
Milwaukee.................90-68 (.570)
St. Louis...................80-79 (.503)
Houston....................79-80 (.497)
Cincinnati..................67-90 (.427)
Pittsburgh.................69-94 (.423)

CUBS RECORD
2009 Overall: ...........................................1-1
At Wrigley Field: ...................................0-0
On the Road: .......................................1-1
All-Time Since 1876: ..................10,083-9,524
At Wrigley Field (since 1916): .....3,882-3,399

CUBS VS. HOUSTON
The Cubs and Astros play 17 times this season, with the first five contests at Minute Maid Park … Houston’s first visit to Wrigley Field comes during a three-game set, May 15-17 … the final six games of this season series will be played at the Friendly Confines … following this three-game series, the Cubs return to Houston for a brief two-game stop, May 6-7 … Chicago will again return to Houston for three games, June 9-11.

2009 Overall: ............................................1-1
At Wrigley Field: ....................................0-0
At Minute Maid Park: ..............................1-1
2008 Overall: ............................................8-9
At Wrigley Field: ....................................4-5
At Minute Maid Park:...............................2-4
At Miller Park in Milwaukee: ...................*2-0
All-Time Since 1962: .........................296-346
At Wrigley Field: .............................164-153
At Minute Maid Park (since 2000): ........38-38
*Games on 9/14 and 9/15 played at Miller Park in Milwaukee due to Hurricane Ike.

UPCOMING MILESTONES
Milestone...............Player (Number Needed)
175 Home Runs w/Cubs*.......Aramis Ramirez (1)
250 Stolen Bases...................Alfonso Soriano (2)
100 Victories.......................Carlos Zambrano (3)
300 Extra-Base Hits...............Milton Bradley (13)
*To surpass Andre Dawson for 10th on all-time list

SPRING FLING
The Cubs finished the 2009 Cactus League season with a 18-18-2 record … Chicago was 11-8 at home (11-7 at HoHoKam Park) and 7-10-2 on the road … the Cubs’ .306 batting average led N.L. clubs and was fourth in baseball … the team’s .370 on-base percentage was tied for second in baseball (with Kansas City) as the Angles led with a .390 mark.

MOST HOMERS AS A THIRD BASEMAN SINCE 2001
Rank Player HR
1. Aramis Ramirez 236
2. Troy Glaus 207
3. Alex Rodriguez 203
4. Adrian Beltre 198
5. Eric Chavez 184

MOST HOME RUNS AT MINUTE MAID PARK BY AN OPPONENT
Rank Player HR
1. Albert Pujols 22
2. Aramis Ramirez 17
3. Jim Edmonds 15
Geoff Jenkins 15
Sammy Sosa 15
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  #2  
Old Apr 8th 2009, 12:58 pm
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About Ted Lilly



Ted, 33, opens his third campaign with the Cubs today against the Houston Astros … has won 32 games in his first two seasons with the Cubs since signing a four-year deal with Chicago in December 2006.

Has won 10 or more games in each of the past six seasons – is one of five southpaws to accomplish the feat, joining Mark Buehrle, CC Sabathia, Johan Santana and Barry Zito.

With 15 victories in 2007 and 17 in 2008, is the first Cubs lefty with consecutive 15-win seasons since Ken Holtzman won 17 in both 1969 and 1970.

In 10 major league seasons, has compiled a 91-75 ledger with a 4.40 ERA (659 ER/1347.2 IP) and 1,157 strikeouts.

His 47 wins since the start of the 2006 season rank third among major league southpaws … Johan Santana (51) and CC Sabathia (48) lead.

Has tossed 6.0 or more innings in 135 career starts, going 79-29 with a 2.77 ERA (279 ER/905.2 IP) … has limited the opponent to a .209 batting average against in those outings.

Has also pitched for Montreal (1999), the Yankees (2000-2002), Oakland (2002-2003) and Toronto (2004-2006).

Last Time Out
Took the loss in the Cubs’ 7-4 setback to the Yankees in the inaugural game at the new Yankee Stadium April 3 … allowed seven runs on eight hits and one walk, while fanning two in 4.0 frames.

2008 Season
Lilly set career marks with 17 victories and 184 strikeouts while tying his career high with 34 starts … his 204.2 innings of work narrowly missed his career high of 207.0 innings pitched in 2007.

Finished the season 17-9 with a 4.09 ERA (93 ER/204.2 IP) in 34 starts … his 17 victories are the most by a Cubs southpaw in 28 years since Ken Holtzman won 17 games in 1970.

His 184 strikeouts were the fourth-highest single-season total by a southpaw in franchise history … the top three: Ken Holtzman with 202 strikeouts in 1970, Hippo Vaughn with 195 in 1917 and Dick Ellsworth with 185 in 1963.

Tossed 6.0 or more innings in 27 outings, including nine consecutive starts from July 18-August 30 – he was 4-2 with a 3.34 ERA (22 ER/59.1 IP) during the stretch.

Went 10-4 with a 3.77 ERA (48 ER/114.2 IP) in 19 road starts … surrendered three or fewer runs in 14 of those outings … owned a season-high five-game road winning streak, June 15-August 25.

Went 17-6 with a 3.58 ERA (74 ER/186.0 IP) in his final 30 outings after beginning the season 0-3 with a 9.16 ERA (19 ER/18.2 IP) in his first four starts.

Combined to go 8-1 with a 3.79 ERA (32 ER/76.0 IP) in 12 starts in May and June.

Posted a 3.02 ERA (14 ER/41.2 IP) in six June starts – was his lowest monthly ERA of the season.

Had three four-win months, going 4-0 with a 4.72 ERA (18 ER/34.1 IP) in May, 4-1 with a 3.02 ERA (14 ER/41.2 IP) in June and 4-1 with a 3.30 ERA (11 ER/30.0 IP) in September.
2008 Notable Starts

In his first outing of the 2008 season, Lilly was tagged with an 8-2 loss April 2 against the Brewers at Wrigley … he allowed four runs on five hits (one home run), walking none and striking out four in 4.2 innings of work.

Surrendered a leadoff homer to Rickie Weeks, then retired 10 of next 11 batters faced before Milwaukee used three consecutive hits in the fourth to plate two more runs.

Recorded his third consecutive win in Chicago’s 8-5 victory over the Padres May 14 … allowed four runs on six hits, while walking only one in 6.0 innings of work.

Lilly fanned a season-high 11, marking the first time he has struck out 11 or more batters since June 10, 2006 in Detroit with Toronto when he struck out 12.

Hurled a season-high 8.0 innings for the second time this season in September 10’s 4-3 win over the Cardinals … allowed just one run on five hits, while walking none and fanning five … set the season mark when he tossed 8.0 frames June 30 at San Francisco.

Laid down a pair of sacrifice hits for the second time this year … also August 14 at Atlanta.

Took a no-hitter into the seventh inning September 15 … earned the win in the Cubs 6-1 victory over the Astros in Miller Park, tossing 7.0 shutout innings, yielding one hit and walking one.

Fanned nine to push his season total to a then career high 175 … his previous mark was 174 set in 2007.

Earned his then career-high 15th win of the season, marking his third straight 15-win season.
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Old Apr 8th 2009, 1:03 pm
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Last time it happened....

Cubs Home Runs — Last Time It Happened
GAME-OPENING HOMER: Alfonso Soriano, 4/6/09 @ Houston (Roy Oswalt)

GAME-ENDING WALKOFF HOMER: Aramis Ramirez, 6/20/08 vs. White Sox (Scott Linebrink)

PINCH-HOMER: Mike Fontenot, 8/28/08 vs. Philadelphia (Ryan Madson)

GRAND SLAM: Jason Marquis, 9/22/08 @ New York (Jonathon Niese)

PINCH-HIT GRAND SLAM: Derrek Lee, 5/19/07 vs. White Sox (Boone Logan)

INSIDE-THE-PARK HOMER: Geovany Soto, 5/19/08 @ Houston (Brian Moehler)

THREE-HOMER GAME: Alfonso Soriano, 9/6/08 @ Cincinnati

PITCHER HITTING HOMER: Jason Marquis, 9/22/08 @ New York (Jonathon Niese)

HOMER IN 1ST M.L. AT-BAT: Jim Bullinger, 6/8/92 @ St. Louis (Rheal Cormier)

HOMER IN 1ST CUBS AT-BAT: Henry Rodriguez, 3/31/98 @ Florida (Livan Hernandez)

SWITCH-HITTER — HOMERS BOTH SIDES OF PLATE: Mark Bellhorn, 8/29/02 @ Milwaukee
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Old Apr 8th 2009, 4:58 pm
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LINEUPS ARE IN....



SORIANO LF
FUKUDOME CF
LEE 1B
BRADLEY RF
RAMIREZ 3B
FONTENOT 2B
THERIOT SS
HILL C
LILLY P



MATSUI 2B
KEPPINGER 3B
BERKMAN 1B
LEE LF
TEJADA SS
PENCE RF
PUDGE C
BOURN CF
MOEHLER P
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Old Apr 8th 2009, 6:49 pm
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CRACKING START!!!

Just checked the gamecast, and WOW!! 8-0. Fontenot has been big, and everyone is contributing. Add this in with a Bulls win last nite, and Chelsea destroying Liverpool today in England, its turing into a niiiiice day!!
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Old Apr 8th 2009, 6:59 pm
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This is a fun game to watch....not to mention Fukudome is 3 for 3 in just 3 innings so far!
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Old Apr 8th 2009, 7:26 pm
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im happy with the way things are going so far
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Old Apr 8th 2009, 7:45 pm
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Cubs 8 Houston 4 top of the 5th., hope we can hold on for the win.
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Old Apr 8th 2009, 8:32 pm
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The houston offense has shown you can't let your guard down with them!
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Old Apr 8th 2009, 8:33 pm
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Hi Frank! It's good to see ya on here again! Hope you're ready for the roller coaster ride again!
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