Game One Hundred Thirty-Four: Cubs (83-50) vs. Phillies (73-60)
Game Time – 7:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 184
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Ryan Dempster (15-5, 2.85/1.17) vs. Cole Hamels (11-8, 3.20/1.04)
The stretch run of the 2008 season begins tonight with the first of four against one of the hottest teams in the National League….the Philadelphia Phillies. Despite losing the finale of the series against the Mets on Wednesday night, the Phillies are 8-2 in their last 10. The Cubs and the Phillies will send their four best starters to the mound during this series, but tonight it is Ryan Dempster against Cole Hamels.
The Phillies won two of three against the Cubs in Philly back in April (11th – 13th) on the Cubs first road trip of the season. And the Cubs will be looking to repay the favor. The Phillies are the only team in the National League with a winning record against the Cubs this season….26 of the Cubs final 29 games will be against team’s with a record of .500 or better.
There are several keys to attempting to beat the Phillies. One…keep Jimmy Rollins in check. Two…do not allow Shane Victorino to jump-start the offense. Three…do not help their potent offense. In other words, make ‘em earn it and keep the free passes to a minimum. And finally, score early and keep tacking on. The Phillies have the offense to come back at will and if they are ahead in the 9th, well….Brad Lidge has not blown a save all season.
The Cubs and Phillies will be one of three games around the league to feature instant replay for the first time tonight….and the rest of the league will have the new technology on Friday. And as fate would have it, Wrigley Field will be the first park in the Senior Circuit to use instant replay in an official game.
Fasten Those Seatbelts…. Ryan Dempster will face the Phillies for the first time this season. Dempster has been very good this month and will make his 5th start since losing to Astros in the rain shortened game back on August 4th. Dempster is 3-1 this month with a 2.52 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP….since the break, 5-1 in 7 games with a 1.76 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP.
Dempster is coming off a dominating win against the Nationals and allowed only 1 run on 8 hits in 7 1/3 innings with 1 walk and 4 strikeouts.
Dempster is 4-3 in 19 appearances, 12 starts, versus the Phillies with 2 saves and a complete game….and a 4.67 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP.
- Eric Bruntlett – 1-for-2 with a home run
- Pat Burrell – 8-for-21 with 5 doubles and 7 walks
- Ryan Howard – 0-for-3
- Jimmy Rollins – 9-for-27 with 2 doubles
- Chase Utley – 1-for-2
The Cubs will get their second look of the season tonight at Cole Hamels and his devastating change-up. Hamels dominated the Cubs offense and beat Ted Lilly 7-1 back on April 12th. The Cubs managed only 1 hit and 2 walks in 7 innings off the southpaw. The Cubs offense is not the same as the ‘free-swinging‘ one that took the field back in April and tonight will be a big test to see how much they have improved.
Hamels is 5-2 in 12 road starts this season with a 3.40 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP….in his last 5 starts, 2-2 with a 2.88 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP.
Tonight will be Hamels fifth career start against the Cubs. He is 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP….but the Cubs have scored only 1 run on him the last two match-ups (15 innings).
- Ronny Cedeno – 0-for-4
- Mark DeRosa – 0-for-8 with a walk
- Reed Johnson – 0-for-3
- Derrek Lee – 1-for-8 with a double
- Aramis Ramirez – 4-for-11 with a triple and a home run
- Alfonso Soriano – 5-for-23 with a double and 3 home runs
- Geovany Soto – 0-for-3
- Ryan Theriot – 5-for-11 with a double and a home run
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….