Game One Hundred Forty-Seven: Cubs (75-71) vs. Cardinals (86-62)
Game Time – 3:10pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: FOX Saturday Baseball – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 184
Location – Busch Stadium, St. Louis
Ryan Dempster (10-8, 3.84/1.35) vs. Chris Carpenter (16-4, 2.45/1.00)
The Cardinals magic number was reduced to six after Matt Holliday finished off the Cubs on Friday night … and it will not get any easier for the Cubs this afternoon with Chris Carpenter taking the hill. It will be up to Ryan Dempster to keep his team in the game and the Redbirds off the scoreboard while the offense tries to figure out the Cardinals’ ace.
Milton Bradley could be back in the lineup this afternoon … or maybe not. Bradley took batting practice on Friday but was held out of the game due to knee inflammation.
Sam Fuld was back on the field Friday night as a defensive replacement after several reports indicated Fuld could miss the remainder of the season. Fuld made a couple of nice catches but is still having trouble swinging the bat.
Today it all starts with Ryan Dempster and just playing ball … Ryan Dempster is coming off his longest, and one of his best starts of the year. Dempster pitched a season-high eight innings and shutdown the Brewers on just four hits. Dempster was incredibly sharp while pitching in a one-run game.
Dempster has been as inconsistent this season as the rest of his teammates this year. One start he will resemble the pitcher that won 17 games a season ago, then the next he will look like a fourth or fifth starter in a big league rotation.
For the Cubs to contend next season they will need Ryan Dempster to pitch more like the 2008 version than the 2009 version.
The Cubs’ second starter, when the season began, has pitched better on the road (4-5 in 15 starts with a 3.63 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP) than at Wrigley (6-3 in 12 starts with a 4.11 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP).
Ryan Dempster is 2-1 in his last three starts with a 1.69 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP … against the Cardinals this season, 0-1 in three starts with a 4.26 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP.
- Rick Ankiel – 1-for-10
- Chris Carpenter – 0-for-7
- Khalil Greene – 3-for-15 with a home run and a walk
- Matt Holliday – 2-for-4
- Ryan Ludwick – 8-for-16 with 2 doubles and a home run
- Julio Lugo – 4-for-16 with 2 home runs and 3 walks
- Yadier Molina – 5-for-19 with a double and 3 walks
- Albert Pujols – 11-for-37 with 2 doubles and 5 walks
- Colby Rasmus – 1-for-3 with a double
- Brendan Ryan – 0-for-4
- Skip Schumaker – 11-for-27 with a double
The Cubs will see this afternoon the definition of a true ace. Chris Carpenter is one of the big reasons the Cardinals will win the NL Central title this season … and be a favorite to win the World Series. Carpenter has put together a tremendous year and could win his second NL Cy Young Award.
Chris Carpenter is coming off his first loss since June 30, and that’s not a typo. Carpenter went two full months without losing a ballgame and over that stretch the Cardinals were 11-3 in his starts.
Before his loss to the Braves (seven runs on nine hits in six innings with two walks and three strikeouts), Carpenter had not allowed more than three earned runs since his loss on June 30 … in other words Carpenter has dominated every time he has taken the ball for Tony LaRussa.
In 25 starts Carpenter has pitched 172 2/3 innings and has struck out 132 batters with only 32 walks.
This afternoon will be Chris Carpenter’s third start of the year against the Cubs. He is 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP … for his career versus Chicago, 9-3 in 16 starts with a 3.02 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP.
- Jeff Baker – 0-for-1
- Milton Bradley – 3-for-11 with a home run and a walk
- Ryan Dempster – 0-for-8
- Mike Fontenot – 1-for-6
- Kosuke Fukudome – 0-for-7 with a walk
- Koyie Hill – 0-for-3
- Derrek Lee – 14-for-42 with 2 doubles, a home run and 3 walks
- Aaron Miles – 2-for-4
- Aramis Ramirez – 12-for-42 with 3 doubles, a home run and a walk
- Bobby Scales – 0-for-2
- Geovany Soto – 2-for-4
- Ryan Theriot – 3-for-6 with a double
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….