Game Ninety-Nine: Cubs (45-53) vs. Cardinals (54-43)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: ESPN Sunday Night Baseball – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Ryan Dempster (8-7, 3.70/1.25) vs. Chris Carpenter (11-3, 3.05/1.17)
Can the Chicago Cubs complete the sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals tonight? By holding on and winning Saturday afternoon, the Cubs won a series against a NL Central team for the first time since late April (Milwaukee, April 23 – April 25) and ended a 10-series losing streak against division rivals. Saturday also improved the Cubs season record versus the Cards to 3-2 with nine left to play. The three wins are as many as the Cubs have against the Astros (3-6) and the Pirates (3-9).
While the Cubs have put up 11 runs over the last two days, Jeff Suppan and Blake Hawksworth are not exactly Chris Carpenter.
Tonight is the final game of the Cubs longest homestand of the season. The Cubs depart for Houston following the game and begin a six game road trip with the Astros that concludes next Sunday in Denver. Lou’s crew is 6-3 in the first nine … too bad they waited until after the break to play better ball.
Hall of Fame
Andre Dawson will become the 203rd player enshrined into Cooperstown this afternoon. Dawson is and will always be a Chicago Cub regardless of the hat that he is wearing into the Hall of Fame.
Congratulations to The Hawk!
Whitey Herzog was voted in by the Veterans Committee and be enshrined today along with Doug Harvey (the ninth umpire enshrined into the Hall, his nickname was “God”), Jon Miller (Ford C. Frick) and Bill Madden (J.G. Taylor Spink)
John Fogerty’s “Centerfield” will also be enshrined into the Hall this afternoon … one of the greatest baseball songs of All-Time. And one that brings out the little leaguer in all of us.
Tonight it all begins with Ryan Dempster … Ryan Dempster is coming off his worst outing of the year but received a no decision thanks to Aramis Ramirez and 13 unanswered runs by the Cubs offense. The Cubs beat the Astros and that’s what counts … but Ryan Dempster was not good.
Dempster gave up seven runs, four earned, on eight hits with four walks, another home run and only one strikeout. Dempster set season-high (or lows) in runs (7) and strikeouts (1).
Dempster has really struggled with his command this month and must throw strikes tonight and stay ahead in the counts. Dempster has walked 13 in his last four games (23 innings) with only 25 strikeouts … 2-1 with a 4.30 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP. The walks are obviously running up his pitch counts and shortening his outings. Dempster will serve up a dinger or two tonight (18 this season, eight in last nine starts) and he must make sure they are solo shots.
Tonight will be Dempster’s second outing of the season against the Cardinals … he lost back on May 30 in the game Pujols went deep three times (six runs on nine hits in 62/3 innings, two homers, three walks and seven strikeouts).
The Cubs’ number one right-handed starter is 6-7 in 42 career appearances, 16 starts, against the Redbirds with a 4.55 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP.
Cardinals Career Numbers against Ryan Dempster
- Chris Carpenter – 1-for-10 with a double
- Matt Holliday – 6-for-12
- Jon Jay – 0-for-3
- Jason LaRue – 5-for-13 with a home run and a walk
- Felipe Lopez – 5-for-29 with 2 doubles, a home run and 2 walks
- Ryan Ludwick – 10-for-23 with 3 doubles and a home run
- Aaron Miles – 2-for-10 with a walk
- Yadier Molina – 7-for-25 with a double and 3 walks
- Albert Pujols – 13-for-42 with 2 doubles, 4 home runs and 8 walks
- Colby Rasmus – 1-for-7
- Brendan Ryan – 2-for-9 with a home run and a walk
- Skip Schumaker – 14-for-35 with 2 doubles
- Randy Winn – 2-for-22 with 3 walks
The Cubs face one of the best tonight in Chris Carpenter … a pitcher they have not defeated since August 10, 2008. Carpenter is coming off back-to-back wins against the Dodgers and Phillies. He has allowed only two runs on nine hits in his last 16 innings of work.
Carpenter will not beat himself and it will be up to the Cubs’ offense to take advantage of every opportunity they have tonight … and there will not be many.
The Cardinals’ ace is 3-1 in nine road starts this season with a 3.07 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP … the Rockies handed Carpenter his only defeat on the road back on July 8.
Carpenter dominated at Wrigley back on May 28 and allowed one run on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings … a Tyler Colvin solo homer was the only run for the Cubs in a 7-1 drubbing.
Tonight will be Carpenter’s 19th career start versus the Cubs … 10-3 in the first 18 with a 2.73 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP (7-2 at Wrigley in 11 starts with a 3.66 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP). To say Carpenter has owned the Cubs would be an understatement.
Cubs Career Numbers against Chris Carpenter
- Jeff Baker – 1-for-4
- Marlon Byrd – 4-for-14
- Starlin Castro – 1-for-3
- Tyler Colvin – 1-for-1 with a home run
- Ryan Dempster – 0-for-10
- Mike Fontenot – 1-for-7
- Kosuke Fukudome – 2-for-13 with 2 walks
- Koyie Hill – 0-for-3
- Derrek Lee – 15-for-49 with 2 doubles, a home run and 3 walks
- Xavier Nady – 0-for-5
- Aramis Ramirez – 14-for-48 with 4 doubles, a home run and 2 walks
- Alfonso Soriano – 12-for-36 with a double, 2 home runs and a walk
- Geovany Soto – 3-for-10
- Ryan Theriot – 5-for-12 with a double and a walk
Ryan Theriot and Randy Wells are hosting a benefit for the Children’s Memorial Hospital on Wednesday, August 4 at Joe’s Bar. The CCO was asked to pass along the info on the event. For those interested, click on this link to Ticketmaster.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …