Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Indians – 04/02/09

Spring Training Game Thirty-Seven: Cubs (17-16-2) vs. Indians (11-18-3)
Game Time – 2:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: None – Radio: Gameday Audio (, XM Channel 179
Location – HoHoKam Park, Mesa

Ryan Dempster (2-2, 2.70/1.24) vs. Anthony Reyes (0-0, 0.75/0.75)

Countdown to Opening Day…4 days. Today is the Cubs’ last game and day in Arizona, after this afternoon’s contest, Lou Piniella’s crew will make their way east to the Big Apple to unofficially open the new Yankee Stadium on Friday night.

Ryan Dempster will take the ball for the first three innings this afternoon…with his next start in Houston Tuesday night. It was revealed following Dempster’s last start that he was bitten by the flu-bug that was going around camp and was not fully recovered. Dempster allowed four runs on eight hits in six innings to the Rockies with three walks and four strikeouts…plus a big triple and a run scored at the plate.

The Cubs will add to their all-time Spring Training attendance record today in their final game. 9,165 showed up for Tuesday’s game against the Angels which ran the spring total at HoHoKam Park to 195,172…passing the old mark of 193,993 set in 2005.

After several of Ryan Dempster’s starts this spring beginning with a bad first inning, Lou Piniella questioned his 17-game winner’s concentration after his last start. Piniella said Dempster might not be as focused as he needs to be from the beginning of the game.

Dempster needs a strong outing today in his final tune-up. After Rich Harden’s homer happy day on Monday and Sean Marshall’s nightmare inning on Tuesday, Piniella needs to see one of his starters not named Carlos Zambrano complete the spring on a positive note.

In six games, five starts, Dempster has allowed 10 runs, seven earned, on 22 hits in 23 1/3 innings. Dempster has walked only seven while striking out 19.

The Cubs’ offense will face a familiar foe this afternoon in the former Cardinal Anthony Reyes. The Game One winner from the 2006 World Series was traded to the Indians last year…and has been lights out this spring.

Reyes has been, without a doubt, the best pitcher in Cleveland’s camp. In four games, two starts, Reyes has allowed only one run on seven hits in 12 innings…with two walks and seven strikeouts. Reyes’ biggest problem in St. Louis was not throwing strikes, if he can be consistent he has the stuff to be very successful at the big league level.

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball…

Quote of the Day

"When you play, play hard; when you work, don’t play at all." – Theodore Roosevelt