Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Pirates – 09/29/09

Game One Hundred Fifty-Six: Cubs (81-74) vs. Pirates (59-96)
Game Time – 7:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Ryan Dempster (10-8, 3.68/1.33) vs. Kevin Hart (4-8, 5.38/1.70)

Updated – 6:05pm C.T. – Kevin Gregg Done for Season

According to a report from ESPN Chicago, Kevin Gregg will not pitch again for the Chicago Cubs this season. Gregg is a free agent at the end of the year and many do not think Gregg will be re-signed by the Cubs.

The Chicago Cubs begin their final homestand of the season tonight with the first of four against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cubs have just seven games remaining before packing it in for the winter … then the work will begin for the Cubs’ front office.

The Cubs are one win away from posting their third consecutive winning season. Not the way most figured the Cubs would finish the season but a goal still that must be accomplished.

Lou Piniella’s crew is 9-2 against the Pirates this year but Pittsburgh is coming off a very successful series against the Dodgers. The Bucs took three of four from Los Angeles at PNC and are looking to finish the year on a positive note.

Derrek Lee is expected back in the starting lineup after missing the final three games of the Giants’ series. Kevin Gregg passed his tests on Sunday and is expected to be available out of the pen for the remainder of the season. Gregg’s time with the Cubs is reportedly coming to end … he is not expected to be re-signed this winter.

Tonight is all starts with Ryan Dempster and just winning a ballgame …

Ryan Dempster is finishing his season with an impressive run. Dempster will make two more starts (including tonight) this year and if everything goes as planned Dempster will reach his goal of pitching 200 innings this season. Despite spending time on the DL, Ryan Dempster has the chance to be the only Cubs’ starter to reach the 200-inning mark (Ted Lilly – 170, Rich Harden – 141, Randy Wells – 158 1/3, Carlos Zambrano – 163 1/3).

Dempster has put together an impressive September. He is 2-1 in his last five starts with a 1.73 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP (his lowest ERA of any single month and second lowest WHIP of the year) and has pitched into and through the seventh inning in his last three outings.

Dempster has allowed only three earned runs on 19 hits with three walks and 14 strikeouts in 23 innings spanning his last three games (1-0) … for those scoring at home that is a 1.17 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP.

Ryan Dempster is 6-3 in 12 starts at Wrigley this season with a 4.11 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP … against the Pirates this year, 1-0 in two starts with a 8.71 ERA and a 1.94 WHIP. Dempster beat the Pirates the last time he faced them on September 8. He allowed four runs on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings with two walks and four strikeouts.

Dempster has a chance to post a 12-win season if he can limit his free passes … and receive run support while on the mound.

  • Ronny Cedeno – 1-for-2
  • Ryan Doumit – 2-for-9
  • Jason Jaramillo – 3-for-5 with a double
  • Garrett Jones – 1-for-3 with a home run
  • Andy LaRoche – 1-for-5
  • Andrew McCutchen – 1-for-4
  • Lastings Milledge – 2-for-7 with a walk
  • Brandon Moss – 0-for-1 with a walk
  • Steve Pearce – 1-for-2 with a double and a walk

The Cubs will get their second look of the year at Kevin Hart in a Pirates uniform. Hart has struggled mightily since the Cubs dealt him to Pittsburgh before the break. Hart is 1-7 with a 6.93 ERA with the Pirates, his only win came on August 17 against the Brewers.

Kevin Hart has the ability (and stuff) to be a very successful big league pitcher but he has yet to put it together. Hart struggles with consistency and throwing strikes. Once he gets in trouble he starts nibbling around the plate. The Cubs must make him throw strikes like they did on September 9. Hart walked six batters in five innings … a season-high in free passes for a former top prospect of the Chicago Cubs.

Hart is coming off a loss to the Reds. He gave up eight runs on eight hits with three walks and two strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings. In his last four starts, 0-4 with an 8.14 ERA and a 2.05 WHIP. Hart has walked 13 and struck out 13 in his last 21 innings.

The last time Kevin Hart pitched at Wrigley, he beat the Astros 12-3 on July 30 after six very good innings of work (arguably his best outing as a Cub) … then was traded to the Pirates shortly after the 27th out was recorded.

  • Jeff Baker – 0-for-1 with a walk
  • Mike Fontenot – 1-for-3 with a walk
  • Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-2 with a walk
  • Koyie Hill – 1-for-3
  • Micah Hoffpauir – 1-for-1 with a home run and 2 walks
  • Derrek Lee – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • Bobby Scales – 1-for-3 with a double
  • So Taguchi – 0-for-1
  • Ryan Theriot – 0-for-2

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….

Quote of the Day

"A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course of victory." - Arthur Golden
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