Game One Hundred-Three: Cubs (55-47) vs. Marlins (54-50)
Game Time – 4:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – Land Shark Stadium, Miami
Ryan Dempster (5-5, 4.31/1.39) vs. Ricky Nolasco (7-7, 5.24/1.35)
The final game of the season against the Marlins could be a wild one. With Leo Nunez making a spectacle of himself on Friday night, Carlos Zambrano hitting Hanley Ramirez in the third inning on Saturday and Nunez plunking Aramis Ramirez in the 10th inning, then getting stared down by Koyie Hill, there could be several fireworks this afternoon. While Ryan Dempster must stick up for his teammates, winning the game and the series must be priority one for the entire team.
With Carlos Zambrano leaving the game in the fourth inning on Saturday night, the Cubs will need a long, effective outing from Ryan Dempster in his second game back from the DL.
Aramis Ramirez will likely be out of the starting lineup today. The Cubs indicated he was fine after being hit in the 10th inning Saturday night but he had to be helped off the field. The Cubs should give him the day off for precautionary reasons if nothing else.
Lou Piniella wanted to give Ryan Theriot both Saturday and Sunday off but ended up using Theriot after Carlos Zambrano left the game in a double switch. Look for Piniella to give Theriot the afternoon off and for Andres Blanco to be at short once again.
While the offense must do their job against Ricky Nolasco, it all begins with Ryan Dempster … and one win at a time.
Dempster has won just one game on the road this season. He is 1-4 in 10 starts with a 4.06 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP.
This afternoon will be Dempster’s first start of the year against the Fish. He is 2-1 in 12 career games, two starts, against one of his former teams, with three saves and a 2.57 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP … last year 1-0 in two starts against the Marlins with a 2.25 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP.
- John Baker – 0-for-2
- Emilo Bonifacio – 0-for-4
- Jorge Cantu – 1-for-5 with a walk
- Ross Gload – 1-for-1
- Wes Helms – 5-for-10 with a double
- Jeremy Hermida – 1-for-3 with a walk
- Nick Johnson – 1-for-3 with a home run
- Hanley Ramirez – 2-for-8 with a double and 2 walks
- Cody Ross – 2-for-6 with a double, a triple and a walk
- Dan Uggla – 0-for-6
The Cubs will face Ricky Nolasco for the second time this season … but he is not the same pitcher the Cubs faced at Wrigley back in May. After a demotion to Triple-A in late May (1-3 in four starts in May with a 12.23 ERA and a 1.98 WHIP), Nolasco has come back to the bigs and has been lights out.
Ricky Nolasco was 3-1 in five starts in June with a 1.91 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP then followed up with a solid July (2-1 in five starts with a 3.51 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP).
Nolasco is 4-3 in nine home starts this season with a 4.34 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. The last time he lost at Land Shark Stadium was on June 7 against the Giants. He is coming off a no decision against the Braves … two runs on seven hits in seven innings with a walk and five strikeouts.
The Cubs’ fourth round pick in 2001 (dealt to the Marlins in the Juan Pierre trade) loves to pitch against his former organization. Nolasco’s only career loss to the Cubs came in his outing back in May at Wrigley … 2-1 in three career games, two starts, with a 3.60 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP.
- Jeff Baker – 0-for-3
- Milton Bradley – 0-for-3
- Mike Fontenot – 1-for-3
- Kosuke Fukudome – 0-for-3
- Derrek Lee – 1-for-3 with a home run
- Aramis Ramirez – 2-for-4 with a home run
- Alfonso Soriano – 4-for-10 with 2 home runs
- Ryan Theriot – 2-for-3
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….