Game One Hundred Forty-Four: Cubs (86-57) vs. Cardinals (77-66)
Game Time – 7:15pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 189
Location – Busch Stadium, St. Louis
Ryan Dempster (15-6, 2.99/1.21) vs. Kyle Lohse (13-6, 3.76/1.29)
Updated – 4:06pm C.T. – Felix Pie and Randy Wells Added to the Active Roster
According to a report on Cubs.com, Jon Lieber was placed on the 60-day DL officially ending his season. The move allowed the Cubs to purchase the contract of Randy Wells from Triple-A Iowa and add him to the Cubs 40-man roster. Felix Pie was officially recalled from Triple-A as well on Tuesday and both players will be available tonight in St. Louis. Wells will wear number 36.
Last week as they say is history and that is exactly the way the Cubs must treat it. It is time to get back on track and with 19 games left to play there is still a lot of work to do. The Cubs will enter play tonight 4 1/2 games ahead of the Brewers, 9 in front of the Cardinals with the red hot Astros just 9 1/2 back. The Cubs can answer a lot of questions tonight by just taking care of their own business and posting a much needed win.
The Cubs have won 5 of the first 9 meetings of the year against the Cardinals with 6 left to play….and are 10-5 in the last 15 at the new Busch Stadium.
Lou Piniella not only needs he offense to start producing but for his bullpen to return to form. The Cubs pen entered September with a 3.73 ERA and a .242 OBA but in the last 5 games….a 10.50 ERA and a 1.83 WHIP with 23 hits allowed and 10 walks in 18 innings. One of the strengths of the Cubs has been the ability to chase the other team’s starter and tack on late. The Cubs offense must be patient against Kyle Lohse and get into the Cardinals pen as soon as possible. The Cardinals have a very dangerous offense….Albert Pujols is 12 for his last 30 with 4 home runs in 8 games, and a good starting staff, their Achilles heal has been their relief corp.
If the Cubs are to get back in the win column consistently over the last 3 weeks of the season, tonight would be a good time to start with Ryan Dempster on the hill…. Ryan Dempster has arguably been the biggest surprise of the season for the Cubs and his teammates could really use a good outing tonight from one of their clubhouse leaders. Dempster is coming off a difficult loss to the Astros last Wednesday. Dempster was just outpitched by Randy Wolf and the Cubs offense could not manage any runs against the veteran southpaw….but again that was then.
The Cubs need Ryan Dempster to put together another quality start tonight. He has failed to give up 3 runs or less in at least 6 innings of work only twice since July 13th (10 starts). Dempster pitched extremely well in August (3-1 in 5 starts with a 3.19 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP) and is a very impressive 5-2 in 9 starts since the break with a 2.44 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP.
Tonight will be Dempster’s second start of the season against the Cardinals. He is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP. He beat St. Louis 6-2 at Wrigley on Sunday night baseball (August 10th) and allowed 2 runs on 6 hits in 6 2/3 innings with 3 walks and 6 strikeouts. Dempster must cut down on the free passes he has been surrendering of late. In his last two starts….7 walks and 14 strikeouts in 13 innings. The walks are running up his pitch count and with the fact Carlos Marmol is the only reliable option right now out of the pen, first pitch strikes are a must for the Cubs former closer.
Dempster is 5-5 in 35 career outings, 9 starts, against the Cardinals with 15 saves. His 4.89 career ERA and 1.63 WHIP are a little skewed due to all of the years in the bullpen. At new Busch Stadium, Dempster is 0-1 in 7 games with 4 saves, a 4.15 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP.
- Rick Ankiel – 0-for-1
- Troy Glaus – 2-for-5 with a double and a triple
- Cesar Izturis – 3-for-13
- Adam Kennedy – 2-for-7
- Felipe Lopez – 3-for-18 with a double and a home run
- Ryan Ludwick – 3-for-5 with a home run
- Yadier Molina – 4-for-11
- Albert Pujols – 7-for-26 with a double, a home run and 3 walks
- Skip Schumaker – 2-for-11
Kyle Lohse has pitched much better of late than his record indicates. Lohse has not posted a win since August 1st against the Phillies and the Cardinals are 1-8 in his last 9 starts. Lohse has done his part and has allowed more than 3 runs only three times during than span. Lohse was 1-3 in 6 August starts with a 4.66 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP. After posting an 11-2 record in 20 starts in the first half with a 3.39 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP, Lohse is 2-4 in his last 10 starts with a 4.45 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP.
Tonight will be Lohse’s third start of the season against the Cubs. He is 0-1 in the first two with a 6.92 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP. Ted Lilly beat him 9-3 in St. Louis on May 3rd (8 runs on 9 hits in 6 innings) and Lohse received a no decision in a Cardinals win at Busch Stadium on July 5th. The Cubs scored 2 runs on 6 hits in 7 innings but Kerry Wood gave up 3 in the 9th in the middle game of the series.
- Mark DeRosa – 8-for-16 with a triple, 2 home runs and 3 walks
- Jim Edmonds – 3-for-12
- Mike Fontenot – 1-for-4 with a home run and 3 walks
- Kosuke Fukudome – 2-for-7 with a double
- Reed Johnson – 3-for-9
- Derrek Lee – 5-for-12 with a double
- Aramis Ramirez – 5-for-8 with 2 doubles and a home run
- Alfonso Soriano – 13-for-32 with 3 doubles and 2 home runs
- Geovany Soto – 1-for-5 with a double
- Ryan Theriot – 7-for-14
The nominees for the MLB Rookie of the Month Award presented by Gillette for August were announced on Friday. The CCO received an email and was asked to pass this along to our readers. Geovany Soto and Jeff Samardzija were nominated for the award in the NL along with Chris Perez of the Cardinals and Ian Stewart of the Rockies.
Geovany Soto was named the Rookie of the Month for August on Tuesday afternoon.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….