Posted on: June 10, 2008 7:28 pm
Edited on: June 10, 2008 11:21 pm

State of the Cubs: Week 10

40-24 2.5 GMs ahead of St. Louis

The Week that Was:

  • Game 1: Carlos Zambrano had a better day with the bat than on the mound. He went 3-3 in 5 IP with 3 ER. He got the win, because of a Cubs offense that put togther 7 runs, led by Jim Edmonds. Carlos Marmol gave up a 3-run HR, creating the need for Kerry Wood to get his 15th SV. Cubs win 7-6
  • Game 2: The Cubs offense has another great outing, scoring 9 runs, on the backs of Geovany Soto (10), Mark DeRosa (6) and Alfonso Soriano (14), who all hit HRs. Jason Marquis didn't have his best outing (3 ER 5IP), but got the win. Kevin Hart pitched poorly (3 ER .1 IP) creating the need for Kerry Wood to get his 16th SV. Cubs win 9-6
  • Game 3: Ted Lilly pitched what was easily the best start of the series (7.1 IP 2 ER 8 K), but got outdueled by former-Cub and future hall of famer Greg Maddux (7 IP 1 ER) The Cubs offense only recorded 4 hits, and didn't take a BB Cubs lose 2-1
  •  Game 4: Ryan Dempster had only a decent outing on this day (5.1 IP 3 ER), but it wasn't him, it was Bob Howry who got the win. After 2 Jeff Kent HRs, a Kosuke Fukudome single in the 9th gave the Cubs the lead, he had homered earlier in the game (4). Mark DeRosa also hit a HR (7). Kerry Wood got his 17th SV Cubs win 5-4
  • Game 5: Sean Gallagher's 5 IP 2 ER was not enough, as the Cubs couldn't get any offense against Hiroki Kuroda (9 IP 0 R 11 K). The offense only got 4 hits, and no BBs. Cubs lose 3-0
  • Game 6: Carlos Zambrano played like Carlos Zambrano the first 6 innings, giving up only 2 runs and have the go-ahead single. But then his defense abandoned him. An Aramis Ramirez error and a Fukudome missed diving catch allowed the Dodgers to score 5 runs in the inning. Alfonso Soriano homered, his 15th. Cubs lose 7-3
  • Game 7: This was the Jason Marquis we expected to see in April and May. He turned in a very nice 6.1 IP 1 R 0 ER preformence. Mark DeRosa was all the offense the Cubs needed, as he drove in two including a solo HR (8). Carlos Marmol pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, picking up his 19th hold and Kerry Wood recorded his 18th SV.

My Prediciton: Well 1 worse game, Z didn't get his 9th win, Howry did get one, only Soriano hit 2 HRs.

The Week the will be:

The Cubs get the Braves at home for a 3-game set. The Cubs 26-8 home record vs. the Braves 7-21 road record seems like a huge mismatch. (Hopefully it is). Braves' star Chipper Jones will miss at least the first couple games against the Cubs, the Braves are 0-6 without Chipper this year.

  • Game 1 Ted Lilly vs. Tom Glavine. Glavine has actually been a much better pitcher on the road this year (3.48 ERA). He's coming off two straight good starts, although the Braves lost them both. Aramis Ramirez (12-25 3 HR) and Alfonso Soriano (8-20 1 HR) hit him well. This is Lilly's first start against the Braves since he was ejected for beaning Edgar Renteria if I remember correctly. Let's hope he doesn't do that again. No current Braves hit him well.
  • Game 2: Ryan Dempster vs. Jair Jurrjens. JJ has a 4.84 road ERA this season and is coming off two straight bad outings. Jim Edmonds (0-3) is the only Cub who's ever seen him. Dempster, who is looking to tie Zambrano for the team lead in wins, hasn't been hit well by any Braves.
  • Game 3: Sean Gallagher vs. Tim Hudson. Hudson is good wherever, but is slightly worse on the road (3.21). 6 out of his last 8 starts have been very good and is 1-0 with 3.60 ERA in his last 2 Wrigley starts. Jim Edmonds (8-18 1 HR) and Derrek Lee (4-10 1 HR) hit him well. Gallagher has been much better at home this year (3.52) and the Cubs have won all 4 of his Wrigley starts. No Brave hitter has seen him more than twice. (Carlos Zambrano could start here, bumping up everyone in the rotation, skipping Gallagher)

Cubs then head up North for their first interleague series of the year, against the Blue Jays. The Jays are last in the AL-E at 33-33 and are 16-14 at home. They've lost 7 out of their last 9. Unfortunatley the Cubs don't face a lefty, so Reed Johnson might not be able to get back at the team that cut him earlier in the year.

  • Game 4: A.J. Burnett vs. Carlos Zambrano. Burnett has been bad at home (7.54) and is coming off an absolutely horrible start against the Orioles. Jim Edmonds has walked 12 times in 26 career plate apperances against him. Z will try and bounce back, no Blue Jay hits him well.
  • Game 5: Roy Halladay vs. Jason Marquis. Halladay is a great pitcher, and is great at home (3-1 2.70). He hasn't lost a start since May 9th and no Cub hits him hard. Marquis will look to continue what he did two nights ago and what he's done sofar this year on the road (3.97). Brad Wilkerson (5-15 2 HRs) hits him hard
  • Game 6: Jesse Litsch vs. Ted Lilly. Litsch is a very good young pitcher who is very good at home (3-0 2.97). He's coming off a loss against the Yankees and no Cub has ever seen him. Lilly is an ex-Jay and was 9-5 with a 4.08 ERA in his last season there. Shanon Stewart hits him well (5-12)

Predictions: This is one of the hardest weeks to predict, because much relys on Lou's decison on whether to move up Z. My guess is that he does, which results in a sweep on the Braves. But they lose 2 out of 3 in Toronto. Lilly gets 2 wins and Edmonds hits 2 HRs.

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 1, 2008 10:45 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2008 1:03 am

State of the Cubs: Week 9

36-21 2.5 GMs ahead of Cardinals

The Week that was:

  • Game 1: Ryan Dempster pitches 7 IP, allows only 1 ER and Ks 3. Bob Howry and Kerry Wood close the door, Wood getting his 11th SV. Derrek Lee hits his 12th HR in the first, scoring Ryan Theriot. Aramis Ramirez gives the Cubs the lead in the 8th with a solo shot off of Scott Procter, his 9th. Cubs win 3-1
  • Game 2: Another 7 IP, 1 ER 3 K preformence this time by Sean Gallagher, his best start of the season. Hiroki Kuroda kept the Cubs in check until the 7th, when they scored 2 unearned runs. Carlos Marmol struggled, walking 2 and throwing 28 pitches, but didn't allow a run. Kerry Wood came on for his 12th SV of the year. Cubs win 3-1
  • Game 3: This is a game the Cubs shouldn't have won. Carlos Zambrano didn't have very sharp control, but he ended up going 8 giving up 1 ER. Jose Ascanio pitched a scoreless inning, his last before being sent back down to Iowa for Neil Cotts. Derek Lowe shut down the Cubs offense for 7 IP. But the Cubs were able to capitalize of the wildness of rusty close Takashi Saito with a Geovany Soto sac fly. Alfonso Soriano finished the game in the 10th, where following a Mike Fontenot double, he singled off of Chan Ho Park for the victory. Cubs win 2-1 in 10.
  • Game 4: Cubs got off to an early 2-0 lead, which included Lee's 13th HR of the season. Then a combination of Jason Marquis, Cotts and Michael Wuertz gave up the lead. Marquis ended up going 5.1 IP with 3 ER. But the Cubs scored 2 in the 7th, and 3 in the 8th, including an Alfonso Soriano 2-run single. Marmol and Wood pitched 2 scoreless innings to end the game. Cubs win 8-4
  • Game 5: Ted Lilly did not have his control on this day. With the wind blowing out, Lilly gave up 7 Rs (4 ER) in 3 IP. Lou even replaced Lee and Soto with Micah Hoffpauir and Henry Blanco because he figured the game was out of reach. But it wasn't. The Cubs ended up scoring 3 runs in the 6th, and 6 runs in the 7th to take the lead. Kosuke Fukudome (3), Henry Blanco (1), Mark DeRosa (5) and even Jim Edmonds hit HRs, Edmonds' first as a Cub. Eyre got the win (2-0), Marmol the H (16) and Wood the SV (13). Cubs win 10-9
  • Game 6: Ryan Dempster didn't throw his best game (5 IP 3 ER 7 SO 4 BB) but the offense, lead by Soriano (his 12th HR and 3 RBIS) was plenty. Wuertz, Cotts and Howry all went scoreless and Marmol picked up his 3rd SV, despite surrendering a HR to Scott Podsednik
  • Game 7: It wasn't Sean Gallagher's best start, but he was plenty effective. Despite surrendering 3 runs in 5.2 IP, he struck out 8, his career high. Soriano hit his 14th HR of the season, but the offensive star of the game was Jim Edmonds. Edmonds went 2-3 with a double, triple and 2 RBIs. Not too shaby for a guy I thought was completely done. He has altered his swing so he's getting more power. So now when he hits all those flyballs, they go over the outfielders heads instead of into their gloves. Wuertz was wild and failed to record an out. But Eyre, Howry and Wood finished the game without damage. Wood recorded his 14th SV. And Bob Howry is starting to locate well and build back up his velocity, which with him as an effective late inning option, Marmol should face less work.

My Prediction: Well I said 6-1, they went 7-0. I'll take being wrong on that. Aramis didn't have quite the week i predicted but still hit very well.

A little bit of history: This was the first sweep of a 7 game homestand since 1970, they've held leads in 23 straight games and had their largest comeback since 1989.

The Week that will be:

  • Game 1 Cubs travel to Petco to face the Padres. The leagues best pitcher (highest VORP) Zambrano gets to pitch in the best pitchers park and against Cha Seung Baek. Baek is a spot start for Shawn Estes, who broke his hand falling down the stairs. Baek was traded from the Mariners earlier in the season, he has a 5.23 ERA in 31.0 IP with 1 start. Reed Johnson is 2-5 with an RBI against him. Zambrano is coming off of 2 straight very effective starts and had a 7 IP 3 ER start vs. the Padres earlier in the year. He hasn't given up a single run in his last 2 Petco starts and the only Padre hitter who has had any success against him is former Cub Jody Gerut (1-2 1 HR). Khalil Greene, Brian Giles, and Tad Iguchi are a combined 6-46 with 15 Ks against Z.
  • Game 2 Jason Marquis vs. Wilfredo Ledezma Jason Marquis looks to win his first start agains a team not named the Pirates and he did suffer a loss against the Padres earlier in the year. He's 0-1 with a 1.76 ERA in the last 3 years in Petco. Iguchi and recently activated former Cub Michael Barrett hit him well. Ledezma is making his 5th start in relief of the injured Jake Peavy. He did have a 3 ER 1.2 IP outing in relief of Peavy earlier in the year. Soto has a HR in his only AB against him, and he has a 4.29 ERA in Petco this season
  • Game 3 Ted Lilly vs Greg Maddux. Maddux is very tough at home (1.84 ERA) and the Padres have won the last 3 games he's started. The last game of his that they didn't win was a 4 R 11 H preformence on May 15th. Aramis Ramirez and Henry Blanco hit him well. Lilly is coming off of 2 straight mediocure games. Although he did have a 11 K win against the Padres earlier in the year. He's never had a start in Petco, but I'd imagion it's a park very well suited towards him. Iguchi has hit him well (4-12 2 HRs)
  • Game 4 Ryan Dempster vs. Chad Billingsley. This is the first of 3 games that in LA fashion have the same script, different location (and hopefully same ending). Billingsley, despite the QS lost his outing against the Cubs. He has a 3.68 home ERA. Dempster, as previously noted, won his start against the Dodgers. Andre Either (4-8 1 HR) and Juan Pierre (5-9) hit him well.
  • Game 5 Sean Gallagher vs. Hiroki Kuroda. Gallagher will look to continue to cement his spot in the rotation. 3 out of his last 4 starts have been good, including a very effective outing vs. the Dodgers (see above). Kuroda had a very nice outing, which turned out to be a loss, against the Cubs earlier this week. He has a 3.90 ERA at home.
  • Game 6 Carlos Zambrano vs. Derek Lowe. Lowe has been much better at home this season (3.45 ERA as compared to a 5.40 ERA on the road). He had a very nice no decision against the Cubs last week, and Derrek Lee hits him well (10-25 1 HR). Zambrano will look to continue his dominance in Dodger Stadium (1-0 1.25 ERA in 3 starts). Russel Martin hits him well (5-9)
  • Game 7 Jason Marquis vs. Brad Penny Marquis has one 8 IP 0 R preformence in Dodger Stadium in the last 3 years. Thankfully Andrew Jones is on the DL, because he absolutely murders him (9-12 5 HR 14 RBIs 2.833 OPS). Jeff Kent is the only healthy Dodger who hits him well (8-19). Penny has struggled this season (5.66 ERA) and has recorded a QS since April 26th. He has a 5.44 ERA at home Ramirez (9-23) and Lee (5-11 3 2b) hit him well. This is the Sunday night ESPN game

Prediction: 5-2 Cubs lose the final games of both series. Zambrano improves to 9-1, Dempster, Gallagher and Howry get the other 3 wins.  Lee, Soriano and Ramirez all hit 2 HRs.

Category: MLB
Posted on: May 18, 2008 7:06 pm
Edited on: May 23, 2008 6:51 pm

State of the Cubs Week 7

27-17 2 games up on Cardinals in Central

The Week that was:

  • Game 1: Cubs score in bunchs, scoring 11 in a two-inning span. That would be plenty for Carlos Zambrano, who went 7 IP 3 ER. 7 different Cubs record RBIs, and Alfonso Soriano hits his 4th HR (he wont be done for the week). Cubs win 12-3
  • Game 2:Shawn Estes' return to Wrigley did not go as many of his previous starts there had. He limited the Cubs to 3 runs, including Alfonso Soriano's 5th HR. Jason Marquis is once again the victum of the big inning, as he allows 4 in the 4th, including a Khalil Greene HR. Wuertz came on to throw 3 IP of scoreless, 1-hit baseball. Padres win 4-3
  • Game 3: Who would've thought that Ted Lilly would outduel Jake Peavy, but him and his 6 IP 4 ER 11 SO preformence did just that. Alfonso Soriano hit a leadoff HR for the second straight game (6) and Geovany Soto added his 7th, 2 of his 3 RBIs on the night (29). Cubs win 8-5
  • Game 4: Ryan Dempster turned in the Cubs 2nd straight 11+ K game, one-upping Lilly with 12. He went 8.1 scoreless, walking only one before he gave way to Kerry Wood, who collected his 8th SV. The Cubs scored all 4 runs in the 5th, including a RBI single by Dempster, and a Derrek Lee 2-RBI (29) double. This game was Jim Edmonds debute with the Cubs, he went 1-4 with 7 LOB. Cubs win 4-0
  • Game 5: The Pirates will be very happy that they don't have to send Tom Gorzelanny to the mound during their next series with the Cubs. As the Cubs touched him up for 7 ER for the 3rd time this year. Sean Gallagher collected his first major league win, going 6 IP of 1 ER baseball. Alfonso Soriano hit 2 more HRs (8) including his 3rd leadoff of the week, Geovany Soto (8) and Mark DeRosa (4) also homered. Bob Howry gave up 3 in 2 IP, creating the need for Kerry Wood to collect his 9th SV. Cubs win 7-4
  • Game 6: The Cubs lose a game where they score 4 runs for only the 2nd time all season. Carlos Zambrano threw his worst outing of the season, giving up 5 R in 4 IP. Alfonso Soriano couldn't carry the team by himself, despite 2 HRs (9, 10). Carlos Marmol made a mistake on a pitch to Nate McLouth, which ended up being the winning HR, Marmol's first loss of the season and 2nd in the last 2 years. Wuertz went 2.2 IP, scoreless with only 1 hit. Pirates win 7-6
  •  Game 7: 4 hits turned out to be enough, along with the 7 BB. Jason Marquis went 6 IP 2 ER, with 2 the 2 ER coming on a Adam LaRoche first inning HR. Soriano and Reed Johnson hit Sac Flies, and Ronny Cedeno and Kosuke Fukudome hitting RBI singles. Bob Howry and Carlos Marmol both got holds, Marmol striking out the side. Kerry Wood came on for his 10th save. Cubs win 4-3

My Prediction: I said 5-2...they went 5-2....I said Soriano would have a very good week, he had an amazing week. I also correctly predicted Sean Gallagher's first ML win and that the offense would score 8+ twice.

Welcome to the big leagues kid...er...sir: Cubs welcomed Micah Hoffpauir to the bigs, after putting Daryle Ward on the DL with a bad back. Hoffpauir struck out in his only AB. He is 28, which is 2 years older than Carlos Zambrano, who's been in the league since 2001. He very well could get a start this week, to give Derrek Lee some time off. Lee failed to record a hit during the Pittsburgh series.

What to expect this week:

Cubs travel to Houston for a 3 game stretch with the Astros, who have been red hot lately, winning 19 out of their last 27. But those wins did come mostly against the Rangers, Giants, Dodgers, Nationals, Brewers, Reds and Rockies...not exactly a bunch of great teams in that bunch. The Cubs luckily get to miss Roy Oswalt and Brandon Backe.

  1. Game 1: The Cubs send up Ted Lilly, who is looking to record his 4th straight win. He is coming off of back-to-back 10+ K preformences. The Astros counter with Brian Moehler. Moehler is making his 3rd start of the season, after being coverted out of the pen. Both of those games were Astros wins. He's given up 6 ER in 6 IP at home this year.
  2. Game 2: Ryan Dempster vs. Chris Sampson. Dempster is coming off of his best start of the season, and in the last 3 years has a 1.16 ERA in 23.0 IP against the Astros. Lance Berkman is 10-34 with 4 HRs in his career vs. Dempster. Sampson did have a 6.2 IP 2 ER preformence in Wrigley earlier in the year, but is coming off of a 7 R outing vs. the Giants.
  3. Game 3: Sean Gallagher vs. Shawn Chacon. Gallagher looks to repeat his previous outings, both Cubs wins. Chacon is coming off a 3.1 IP 8 R preformence against the Rangers. Aramis Ramirez absolutely crushes him .588/.600/1.706 with 5 HR 13 RBIs and 4 2b in 17 ABs.

Cubs then travel to Pittsburgh again, I don't know if there is anything I can tell you about the Pirates that you don't already know. 12 games against them before the end of May (8-1 against them sofar).

  1. Game 4: Zack Duke vs. Carlos Zambrano...we've seen this one before. Carlos Zambrano will try and rebound from his worst start of the year, and Duke will try to avoid Alfonso Soriano (.556/.600/.944 with 2 HRs in 18 ABs). This is Duke's 4th start against the Cubs this year.
  2. Game 5: Jason Marquis vs. Phil Dumatrait....another rerun. He walked 7 in his one start against the Cubs (today)...but this will be his 6th outing against them on the year. Marquis probably saved his spot in the rotation with his outing today, he's given up 3 ER in 12 IP against the Pirates this year, his only 2 wins.
  3. Game 6: Ted Lilly vs. Paul Malholm. Suprisingly the Cubs haven't faced Malholm this year. He has given up 15 ER in his last 3 starts. Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez have both HRed twice off of him in their careers. Ted Lilly had a very bad outing against the Pirates earlier in the year, but had been much better lately.

Prediction: Cubs go 4-2, taking 2 out of 3 in each series. Lilly gets a win, along with Dempster and Zambrano. Micheal Wuertz gets a win out of the pen. Wood gets 2 SVs. For offense, Soto hits 2 more HRs, and Jim Edmonds hits his first as a Cubs

Category: MLB
Posted on: May 12, 2008 1:26 am

State of the Cubs Week 6

22-15 PCT Points up on the Cardinals

The Week that was:

  • Game 1 L 5-3. Dempster Ks 7 and doesn't give up an ER...but the 5 unearned runs come back to bight him. Soto hits his 6th HR of the season
  • Game 2 Zambrano has another great start despite only K'ing 3...goes 8 scoreless, then Wood recordes the save. Offense doesn't do too much aside from Ronny Cedeno's 2 run single in the 4th.
  • Game 3 Ugh. Bad first start for Jon Lieber (I believe he's going back to the pen if i heard correctly). No offense whatsoever vs. 7 HRs....
  • Game 4 Ted Lilly makes his 4th straight QS. He's Ks 10, allows only 1 run in 7 IP, and drives in 1. Derrek Lee hits his 9th HR.
  • Game 5 Another very good start, but the offense doesn't wake up quick enough to get him the win. Instead Scott Eyre gets the win in first first game back. Cubs bat around in the 7th, including Kosuke Fukudome's 2nd major league HR.
  • Game 6. Wasn't the great pitching matchup we had hoped because of the weather, but the result was good. Sean Gallagher pitches decently for his first career start. Lee hits his 10th HR of the season, and Reed Johnson nails his 1st...both into the heart of the wind. Daryle Ward's RBI Double gave the Cubs the lead...Kerry Wood the save.

My last week's prediction. I said 3-3, they go 4-2...I'm hapy with that. I had Carlos Zambrano and Carlos Marmol getting wins, they did...Ryan Dempster not so much even though he deserved to at least once. I also had Fukudome hitting 2 HRs, maybe that was a bit too bold...but he hit one...I get points for that right?

The best part of the week: Alfonso Soriano. He goes 9-23 with 3 RBIs...if he starts to hit look out. Closely followed by Ryan Theriot.

Headsratcher of the week: Bullpen usage. Carlos Marmol doesn't throw during the Reds series, then every game of the Diamondbacks series? Lou it's the 9th inning of a blowout...we don't need to use Marmol. I also wouldn't be surprised if Chad Fox stops getting key situations, or even loses his spot on the team. Can't be walking people, isn't that right Carmen Pigantiello?

What to expect this week:

  • Cubs start off a 4 game home series with the Padres (which includes 3 night games...weird) with a Carlos Zambrano vs. Randy Wolf matchup. The Padres must be cursing mother nature for pushing back Zambrano into this series because Z has given up 2 runs in his last 28+ IP. Randy Wolf has posted a 4.81 Road ERA and got rocked by the Braves in his last start to the tune of 5 Er in 6 IP with a L.
  • Game 2: Shawn Estes vs. Jason Marquis. Cubs get their second shot at Estes since his 2003 season of mediocrity with the Cubs. The only time before that they got to do that they absoluetly crushed Estes, 2.2 IP 9 ER. This is only Estes' 2nd start since 2005, the first of the year. He gave up 2 unearned runs in his only outing of the season against the Braves on Thursday. Jason Marquis is comign off 2 straight loses where he has given up 5 runs. Can somebody tell him it's still May, he still should be good.
  • Game 3 Ted Lilly vs. Jake Peavy I shouldn't have to tell you how good Jake Peavy is, and he's very good. I'll stick to the good news, the Padres have lost 4 out of his last 5 starts. Conversly, the Cubs have won 3 out of Lilly's last 4 starts, all QS. Lilly is coming off of his best start of the season. Still the odds are agains the Cubs
  • Game 4 Ryan Dempster vs. Greg Maddux. Well Mad Dogg finally did it, he got his 350th win. Took him 5 starts to do it too. He has a 4.94 away ERA. Ryan Dempster, who I think slightly resembles Greg Maddux's style (to a much lesser account obviously) takes the mound. He's coming off his first loss of the season, although he failed to surrender an ER.
  • Game 5 Cubs remain at home to try and continue their ownage of the Pirates. Friday's game matches Sean Gallagher and ?. Sean Gallagher makes his 2nd career start. He was decent against the Diamondbacks, hopefully he can improve on that against the Pirates surprisingly decent offense (hopefully Nate McLouth will get the 72-hour flu over the weekend).
  • Game 6 Carlos Zambrano vs. Zach Duke Duke has faced the Cusb twice this season, his first start was great, despite the Cubs win. His second start was not very good (5 ER 4 IP). I've already told you how dominate Z has been sofar this season, and he hasn't faced the Pirates yet this season. Although in the last 3 years he's only fared average against them (4-4 4.43 ERA).
  • Game 7 Jason Marquis vs. Paul Maholm. Marquis got his first win agains the Buccos on April 19th a 1 ER 6 IP 7 K outing in Wrigley. Maholm hasn't faced the Cubs yet this season, adn is 2-3 with a 4.79 ERA.

Predicition: I kinda want to get greedy and say the Cubs go 6-1 at home vs. two of the the bottum dwellers of the league. But I can't do it...they go 5-2 losing the final game of the pirates series and the one against Peavy. Zambrano racks up 2 more wins, along with one from Dempster and Sean Gallagher's first career win. Bob Howry gets the other win. As for the offense, they score 8+ twice, once in each series. Alfonso Soriano continues to heat up, hitting above .320 for the week with multiple homers.

Category: MLB
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