Game One Hundred Eighteen: Cubs (70-47) vs. Cardinals (65-54)
Game Time – 7:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: ESPN Sunday Night Baseball – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Ryan Dempster (12-5, 2.93/1.15) vs. Chris Carpenter (0-0, 1.00/1.11)
Yesterday is gone and tonight is a big game for Lou Piniella’s crew….it’s the Cubs versus the Cardinals in the important rubber game of the weekend series. After a thrilling extra inning win on Friday and the Cubs’ ace getting shelled on Saturday, tonight is a pivotal game for both teams. The Cubs have not lost a series at home since dropping 2 of 3 to the Orioles back in June and a win tonight would not only keep that streak alive but would give the Cubs 6 wins on the 9-game homestand….Ryan Dempster is 4-2 this season following a Cubs’ loss.
Tonight is the last match-up against the Cardinals at Wrigley until the longtime rivals meet-up for the final three games on the Cubs home schedule, September 19 – September 21….the two teams will square off for the third time this season in St. Louis from September 9 – September 11.
The Cubs will face the Cardinals’ ace for the first time August 26, 2006. Chris Carpenter received a no decision in a 2-1 St. Louis win, but that was then and he has not faced the Lou Piniella led Cubs that features a much different roster. Only one, possibly two, of those players figure to be in tonight’s lineup….one that has good career numbers from top to bottom against Carpenter. The key to tonight for the Cubs’ offense is….they must make him work. Carpenter is making only his third start of the year and threw 67 pitches (36 for strikes) against the Braves in his return from the DL and tossed 51 in 5 innings (33 for strikes) against the Dodgers in his last start.
In other news…. Micah Hoffpauir just keeps on hitting in Iowa. Hoffpauir hit 4 home runs in four consecutive at bats on Saturday night and tied a modern Pacific Coast League record in the process.
There was a big injury on Saturday night in Cincinnati. Bronson Arroyo hit Carlos Lee on the left hand with a pitch in the 3rd inning and broke his pinkie. Lee is expected to miss 6-8 weeks. Lee being out of the Astros’ lineup, for what could be the rest of the season, will have an impact on the Central Division race. Houston has three left with the Brewers in Milwaukee (August 18 – August 20), three left in Houston against St. Louis (August 29 – August 31) and six left against the Cubs (September 1 – 3 in Houston and September 12 – 14 in Chicago).
Finally….a well-respected journalist for the Dallas-Morning News, Evan Grant, thinks the Cubs will reach the World Series this year….just a little food for thought following Saturday’s loss. While all of his points are valid, Lou Piniella must keep his team focused and winning a series at a time. A long winning streak at this point of the year is unnecessary, the Cubs focus must be on winning series after series….starting with the one tonight against the Cardinals. Ryan Dempster is coming off a loss to the Astros in his last start, but he was beaten more by Mother Nature than the Astros’ offense. Dempster allowed 2 runs in 5 innings on 5 hits with a walk and 7 strikeouts but once the rains came and the two hour and 45 minute delay, Dempster was done….and so were the Cubs. The game was called with Mike Fontenot at the plate in the 8th inning after the second rain delay.
Dempster has been very good since the break, despite his 2-1 record and his team’s overall record of 2-2 in his 4 starts. Dempster has allowed 4 runs, all earned, on 18 hits in 26 innings with 8 walks and 22 strikeouts. Lou Piniella needs a similar performance tonight in order for the Cubs to win the rubber game of the series.
After starting the season 10-0 at Wrigley, Dempster has lost his last 2 outings at home and for the season is 10-2 in 14 starts with a 2.77 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP.
Tonight will be Dempster’s first start of the season against the Cardinals. He is 4-5 with 15 saves in 34 games, 8 starts, with a 5.09 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP.
- Rick Ankiel – 0-for-1
- Chris Carpenter – 0-for-4
- Troy Glaus – 2-for-3 with a double and a triple
- Cesar Izturis – 2-for-10
- Adam Kennedy – 1-for-4
- Felipe Lopez – 3-for-17 with a double and a home run
- Ryan Ludwick – 2-for-2 with a home run
- Aaron Miles – 1-for-8
- Yadier Molina – 3-for-8
- Albert Pujols – 7-for-24 with a double and a home run
- Skip Schumaker – 1-for-7
Chris Carpenter will make only his third start of the season tonight and his fourth since 2006. Carpenter has been very good in his return from Tommy John surgery. The former NL Cy Young Award winner missed all but Opening Day of the 2007 season and made his first appearance of this year on July 30th against the Braves in Atlanta.
Carpenter pitched into the 5th inning (4 1/3 innings) and gave up 1 run on 5 hits with 2 walks and 2 strikeouts. In his last outing he completed 5 innings and did not allow a run on 3 hits with 2 strikeouts and he did not walk a single batter.
Carpenter has been very successful in the past against the Chicago Cubs. He was 7-2 with 2 complete games and a complete game shutout in 13 games with a 3.07 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP before his last set of injuries….but his success against the Cubs came against an entirely different roster.
- Henry Blanco – 3-for-11
- Ronny Cedeno – 2-for-10 with a double and a home run
- Ryan Dempster – 0-for-4
- Jim Edmonds – 5-for-14 with a double
- Reed Johnson – 0-for-4
- Derrek Lee – 11-for-35 with 2 doubles
- Aramis Ramirez – 9-for-37 with 2 doubles and a home run
- Alfonso Soriano – 10-for-25 with 2 home runs
- Ryan Theriot – 0-for-1
Buster Olney on the Soriano-Carpenter Match-up
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….