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Game Thread #81: Milwaukee Brewers (42-38) vs. Chicago Cubs (39-38)

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Current Series

Cubs lead the series 2-0

Thu 07/02 WP: Ryan Dempster ( - )
LP: Seth McClung ( - )
5 - 9 loss
Fri 07/03 WP: Kevin Gregg ( - )
LP: Mark DiFelice ( - )
1 - 2 loss

Milwaukee Brewers
@ Chicago Cubs

Saturday, Jul 4, 2009, 12:05 PM CDT
Wrigley Field

Braden Looper vs Rich Harden

Mostly cloudy,rain. Game time temperature around 70.

Complete Coverage >

Sun 07/05 1:20 PM CDT

A day after the first loss of Mark DiFelice's career in the second game of the series, the Brewers try to avoid dropping a third straight game in Chicago here on the Fourth of July. The forecast calls for intermittant rain, but that's not enough to stop the Parade of Fifth Starters!

Braden Looper, fresh off his sixth win of the season, tries to send the Cubs back to .500 for the year. Looper went 6 1/3 innings last time out against the Mets, allowing 3 runs (1 earned) on seven hits with two strikeouts and walks. It was his second consecutive quality start, a string that has reduced his season ERA from 5.21 all the way down to 4.90! Yippee! Looper has made nine career starts against the Cubs, going 2-4 with a shiny 2.37 ERA in 57 innings. His last start against the Cubs was April 10, when he gave up one run in five innings in a no-decision.

The Cubs send righthander Rich Harden to the mound. Harden is 5-4 with a middling 4.57 ERA but he's still striking out more than one batter per inning, which should make today entertaining. He missed nearly a month earlier this year with a back injury but has come out firing since. In his last start, he gave up one run in seven innings in Pittsburgh, striking out nine. He was Looper's opponent on April 10, striking out ten Brewers while allowing only 3 hits and 2 runs (1 earned). He was also saddled with a no-decision in that game.

As Jeff Suppan found out yesterday in between bars of his sonata, it takes more than good pitching to win a game. Trying to provide Brewers fans some early fireworks today is this lineup:

Counsell 2B
Hardy SS
Braun LF
Fielder 1B
McGehee 3B
Cameron CF
Hart RF
Kendall C
Looper P

Bullpen Situation:

Chris Smith threw 2 2/3 innings (50 pitches) on Thursday and is presumably unavailable.
Chris Narveson threw one inning (11 pitches) on Thursday and is in the recent-callup-so-prepare-to-go-three-innings role today.
Carlos Villanueva threw 16 pitches in 2/3 of an inning yesterday.
Mark DiFelice threw 29 pitches in 2/3 of an inning yesterday.
Mitch Stetter threw 1 1/3 innings (15 pitches) yesterday. It was his first appearance in nearly a month without a strikeout.
Todd Coffey has not pitched since Tuesday.
Trevor Hoffman has not pitched since Monday.