Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Pirates – 04/09/08

Game Eight: Cubs (4-3) vs. Pirates (3-4)
Game Time – 6:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet Plus – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 184
Location – PNC Park, Pittsburgh

Ryan Dempster (1-0, 1.50/0.83) vs. Zach Duke (0-0, 3.18/1.94)

Updated – 4:14pm C.T. – Carmen Pignatiello Optioned – Sean Marshall Recalled
According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs have optioned Carmen Pignatiello to Triple-A Iowa and recalled Sean Marshall to take his place in the pen.

Lou Piniella’s crew returns to action tonight against those dangerous Bucs after pulling out a win in the 12-inning, 4 hour 47 minute marathon on Monday. Tuesday ended up being a well-timed day off for the Cubs with the fact Piniella ended up playing a majority of his roster….and using all but Kerry Wood in the pen.

The Cubs play their first game of the year under the lights tonight at PNC Park. The sloppy play over the first week of the season is cause for concern, but today is a new day. And as bad as the Cubs have played at times, they are still a game over .500 and have won 3 straight.

Ryan Dempster will make his second start of the year and will look to prove his first outing was no fluke. Dempster picked up an impressive win against the Brewers last Thursday. He held Milwaukee to just 2 runs, 1 earned, on 3 hits with 2 walks and 5 strikeouts in 6 innings.

Dempster is 3-7 with 9 saves in 37 career games, 12 starts, against the Pirates with a 6.04 ERA and a 1.75 WHIP. Last year…. 1 save in 5 games with a 6.75 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP; at PNC, Dempster allowed only 1 earned run in 2 1/3 innings (2 games, 3.86 ERA with a 0.86 WHIP).

  • Ryan Doumit – 2-for-4
  • Chris Gomez – 5-for-13 with a double and a triple
  • Nate McLouth – 2-for-4 with a home run and 2 walks
  • Xavier Nady – 4-for-8 with 2 home runs

The Cubs’ offense will face another challenge tonight in Zach Duke. He received a no decision in his first start of the season against the Braves last Thursday. Duke allowed 3 runs, 2 earned, on 10 hits with a walk and a strikeout in 5 2/3 innings. The Cubs were able to knock around the very talented southpaw a year ago, but he was hurt. All reports have indicated Duke is healthy this season and a healthy Zach Duke has dominated the Cubs in the past.

Even with his health problems last season, Duke is 4-2 in 8 career starts versus the Cubs with a complete game shutout….a 2.10 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. Last year Duke was 0-1 against the Cubs in 2 starts (7 runs, 6 earned, on 17 hits in 10 2/3 innings) with a 5.06 ERA and a 2.06 WHIP. However, in 2006….2-1 with a complete game shutout in 4 starts with a 1.86 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP.

  • Ronny Cedeno – 7-for-16
  • Mark DeRosa – 0-for-6
  • Derrek Lee – 8-for-20 with 2 doubles and a home run
  • Aramis Ramirez – 7-for-21 with 4 doubles and a home run
  • Alfonso Soriano – 5-for-11 with a double, a home run and 2 walks
  • Ryan Theriot – 2-for-12 with 2 walks

Reports late last week indicated Piniella would hit Kosuke Fukudome behind Alfonso Soriano in Wednesday night’s game but after Monday’s marathon, Piniella said Fukudome would continue to hit behind Aramis Ramirez.

From the Newsroom

According to a report in the Sun-Times, Scott Eyre’s return has been delayed and was shut down for the past week due to “persistent discomfort in his elbow.” The report indicated Eyre was scheduled to start throwing again on Tuesday.

The Sun-Times mentioned the Cubs could turn to Sean Marshall to be their left-handed option out of the pen. Marshall threw 3 no-hit innings in his first start of the year with the I-Cubs last week.

CCO Site News

The CCO is participating in a Weekly Blog Poll at Baseball Happenings.com. Go check out what other baseball bloggers thought of the first week of action in the American League. The first National League votes are due in on Sunday, so if there is a player you believe the CCO should vote for….leave a comment below. And just for the record, all votes can be bought….

Finally…. Please continue to be patient with the site. We realize the site is having problems and has become very slow. Because of increased traffic, we have maxed out our current server and are in the process of moving to a faster one. This is a great problem to have and we tip our hat to all of you for making this possible. The problems should be resolved very soon….and there are more changes and additions coming to the CCO.

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….

Quote of the Day

"Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you." - Arnold Palmer
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