Game One Hundred Fifty-Four: Cubs (93-60) vs. Cardinals (80-74)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 188
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Ryan Dempster (16-6, 3.02/1.22) vs. Braden Looper (12-13, 4.06/1.31)
The 2008 National League Central Division Champions will return to work today in the final home game of the regular season. How will Lou Piniella treat today’s game? With the Cubs clinching on Saturday and the subdued celebration that followed, will the Cubs’ skipper run out more of a Spring Training starting eight behind Ryan Dempster or will only a few of the starters receive a break?
The Cubs still have work to do and a win today would top of the season they put together at home. Saturday was the Cubs’ 54th win of the year at Wrigley and they have lost only 4 series at home this season. Lou Piniella despises to lose but there is a bigger goal….obtaining home field advantage throughout the NL playoffs is the next task for Lou Piniella’s crew.
In other news…. According to a report from the Sun-Times, it appears Rich Hill will be pitching in the Arizona Fall League. Hill was recalled and placed on the Major League 15-day DL before the end of August in order to give Jim Hendry and Lou Piniella a little flexibility with the playoff roster. Chad Gaudin is expected to be available out of the bullpen today for Lou Piniella after rejoining the team on Saturday.
Micah Hoffpauir and Mitch Atkins were named the Cubs’ Minor League Players of the Year on Saturday. Hoffpauir lit up the PCL and the 22-year old Atkins was 17-7 in Double-A and Triple-A. Ryan Dempster is coming off a solid win against CC Sabathia and the Brewers. Dempster set a new career high with his 16th win of season last Tuesday….and set the tone for the series by handing Sabathia his first loss in a Milwaukee uniform. Dempster gave up 2 runs on 7 hits in 6 innings with 9 strikeouts and a walk.
Dempster received a no decision in his last start against the Cardinals on September 9th. Albert Pujols tied the game with a 3-run shot to right center in the 6th….the only runs Dempster allowed in 7 innings and the Cardinals won the game in the bottom of the 9th on a check swing by Cesar Izturis.
To the surprise of a majority of the baseball world Ryan Dempster has put together an excellent season in his return to the starting rotation. He is 6-2 in 11 games since the break with a 2.63 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP and is 1-1 in his last 3 starts with a 3.60 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP….he just needs to cut down on his walks and hits allowed, too many stressful pitches after 196 2/3 innings.
While Dempster will not win the award, he should receive votes for the NL Cy Young Award. Dempster has been without a doubt Lou Piniella’s most consistent and reliable starter this season.
Today will Dempster’s third start of the year against the Cardinals. He is 1-0 in the first two with a 3.29 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP.
Cardinals’ stats against Dempster this season:
- Troy Glaus – 0-for-4
- Cesar Izturis – 1-for-6
- Adam Kennedy – 1-for-4
- Felipe Lopez – 1-for-7 with a double
- Ryan Ludwick – 2-for-6
- Aaron Miles – 1-for-2
- Albert Pujols – 1-for-5 with a home run
- Skip Schumaker – 3-for-8 with a double
The Cubs will get yet another look at Braden Looper today. While Lou Piniella’s lineup is likely to be filled with role players and call-ups, Looper always turns in his best effort against the Cubs….regardless of the record. The Cubs offense struggles against Looper but of late has pulled out the victory.
The Cubs beat him on September 10th but managed only 1 earned run (4 total) in 5 innings of work. The Cubs showed a lot of patience against Looper, ran up his pitch count but was not able to tack on against the Cardinals bullpen. Defensive plays by Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome kept St. Louis from tying the game in the 8th and after giving up a home run to Ryan Ludwick in the 9th, Kerry Wood retired Albert Pujols to end the game.
Looper is 0-2 in his last 3 starts with a 2.33 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP and against the Cubs this season, 0-2 in 3 games with a 2.37 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP.
Cubs’ stats against Looper this season:
- Mark DeRosa – 1-for-9
- Jim Edmonds – 2-for-6 with 2 home runs
- Kosuke Fukudome – 2-for-9 with a home run
- Reed Johnson – 0-for-3
- Derrek Lee – 3-for-9 with a double
- Felix Pie – 1-for-2
- Aramis Ramirez – 3-for-8 with a walk
- Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-6
- Geovany Soto – 3-for-7 with a home run
- Ryan Theriot – 2-for-9
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….