Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Nationals – 08/23/08

Game One Hundred Twenty-Nine: Cubs (78-50) vs. Nationals (46-83)
Game Time – 12:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 184
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Ryan Dempster (14-5, 2.92/1.16) vs. Odalis Perez (5-9, 4.06/1.45)

It is a new day and the Cubs must bounce back from the embarrassment that was Friday afternoon at Clark and Addison. The Cubs appeared to let the foot off the pedal after the 5th inning and ended up allowing a season-high 13 runs to one of the worst teams in all of baseball. While the Cubs might not have taken the Nationals ‘lightly‘ or for ‘granted‘, the end result was a loss at home while the Brewers and Cardinals both took care of their business the way the should at home….in impressive fashion. The Cubs lost a game to both of the teams that are chasing them in the standings.

The Washington Nationals have a winning record against the Chicago Cubs this season, 1-3, and in order to break even on the season with the Nats, they must post a win today behind Ryan Dempster.

Alfonso Soriano, Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Kosuke Fukudome have not played well this week and while Fukudome might get another day off against the southpaw Odalis Perez, the other big bats must start carrying their weight. Soriano, Lee and Ramirez have not contributed much since the start of the homestand and this is the time of the season that the big boys must show up and do their job.

Today is a rematch of the series opener in D.C. back on April 25th and the Cubs offense must return to the formula that has led to so many wins this season. The Cubs are not taking as many pitches in this homestand as they have throughout the year. The current slump is very similar to the one they started the second half with and what got them out of it was….taking pitches. If the Cubs can make Perez work, they will pick up an important win and most importantly score a few runs after the 5th inning.

Ryan Dempster has been the most consistent Cubs’ pitcher of the second half and his team needs more of the same today. Dempster has not allowed more than 2 earned runs in a single start since he gave up 4 in 6 2/3 innings to the Giants in the last game of the first half. Dempster is coming off a very good start against the Marlins last Sunday and for the third start in a row, Dempster is taking the hill in an important game for his team.

Dempster beat the Cardinals two starts ago to give his team a series win and followed with a similar outing against the Marlins in his last start.

Dempster is 4-1 in 6 starts since the break with a 1.86 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP while opponents have hit .204 against him. This month, Dempster is 2-1 in 3 starts with a 3.06 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP.

The Cubs’ former closer received a no decision against the Nationals in April. Dempster pitched good enough to win his fifth start of the year (3 runs, 2 earned, on 4 hits in 7 innings with 3 walks and 5 strikeouts), especially after Reed Johnson’s catch, but Bobby Howry served up a 2-run shot to Wil Nieves in the 9th that cost the Cubs the opener.

Dempster is 6-0 in 19 career games, 11 starts, versus the Nationals franchise with 2 saves, a complete game shutout and a 3.33 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP.

  • Ronnie Belliard – 4-for-18 with a double and 5 walks
  • Aaron Boone – 3-for-11 with a triple
  • Christian Guzman – 2-for-5 with 2 doubles
  • Willie Harris – 1-for-1
  • Austin Kearns – 2-for-12 with a double
  • Lastings Milledge – 2-for-2
  • Wil Nieves – 0-for-6
  • Ryan Zimmerman – 2-for-6

The Cubs will get their second look of the season at Odalis Perez. Perez held the Cubs to just 2 runs on 5 hits in 6 innings back on April 25th but received a no decision in the series opener….against Ryan Dempster.

Perez is coming off a loss to the Rockies but he gave up only 3 runs, 2 earned, on 4 hits in 6 innings. Perez is 2-1 in his last 4 starts with a 2.84 ERA and a 1.18 ERA….but is 4-4 this season in 11 road starts with a 5.67 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP.

Perez is 3-1 in 5 career starts against the Cubs with a 3.44 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP.

  • Henry Blanco – 1-for-4
  • Mark DeRosa – 2-for-7 with a double
  • Jim Edmonds – 1-for-10 with a double
  • Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-3 with a double
  • Reed Johnson – 6-for-10 with a double
  • Derrek Lee – 3-for-10 with 2 doubles
  • Aramis Ramirez – 5-for-11 with 2 home runs
  • Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-3
  • Geovany Soto – 0-for-3
  • Ryan Theriot – 1-for-2 with a double

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….

Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax