Game One Hundred Twenty-Eight: Cubs (53-74) vs. Nationals (53-73)
Game Time – 6:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 185
Location – Nationals Park, Washington D.C.
Ryan Dempster (11-8, 3.56/1.28) vs. Jason Marquis (0-6, 11.39/2.25)
Can the Chicago Cubs win three in a row under Mike Quade? Tonight not only concludes the Cubs three-game trip to the Nation’s Capital but is also the last of 20 games in a row that began back on August 6 against the Reds … and what a 20-game stretch it has been for the Cubs.
The Cubs are 6-13 in their last 19 games but it was all of the changes that made more headlines than losses on the field.
Carlos Silva had a minor heart procedure. Carlos Zambrano returned to the rotation. Mike Fontenot was traded and sent from one dugout to the other. Alan Trammell stepped in for Lou Piniella before being told he would not be considered for the managerial opening. Derrek Lee was placed on the bereavement list before being traded. Lee made his debut with his new team against the Cubs at Wrigley Field … without having to leave town.
Ten rookies, six pitchers, were used in the same game … another dubious record for the Chicago Cubs. Geovany Soto was placed on the DL and has returned. Casey Coleman, Darwin Barney, Marcos Mateo and Welington Castillo made their big league debut. Micah Hoffpauir was kinda recalled from Triple-A. Bobby Dernier made his big league coaching debut exactly 30 years after he made his Major League debut as a player.
Lou Piniella stepped down and Mike Quade became the 51st manager in franchise history.
It’s all just a way of life for the Chicago Cubs in Twenty-Ten …
In other news … Carlos Zambrano flew home to Venezuela following Tuesday’s win to be with his family during his nephew’s illness. Zambrano will rejoin the team in Cincinnati and is scheduled to start the opener on Monday against the Pirates.
Tonight it all begins with Ryan Dempster … Ryan Dempster is coming one of off his best outings of the season. Dempster held the Braves to two runs on four hits in eight innings with two walks and seven strikeouts. Dempster completed eight innings for the fourth time this season. Dempster found a groove and threw strikes. He walked only two but served up his 22nd homer of the year to Omar Infante.
Dempster has given up longballs at a very high rate this season. In 172 innings this season, teams have hit 22 out of the park. Dempster served up 22 in 200 innings last year and just 14 in 206 2/3 innings in 2008. Dempster must keep the ball in the park tonight.
Ryan Dempster should be 4-0 in his last four starts, but there was a little problem with Carlos Marmol throwing strikes. Dempster is 3-0 in his last four with a 1.65 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP … by far his best month of the season.
Dempster will face the Nationals for the second time this season. Jim Riggleman’s team beat Dempster at Wrigley back on April 28 3-2. Dempster gave up a pair of home runs that ended up being the difference in the game. For his career, Dempster is 7-1 in 21 games, 13 starts, versus the Nationals/Expos franchise with a 3.18 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.
Nationals Career Numbers against Ryan Dempster
- Ian Desmond – 0-for-3
- Adam Dunn – 5-for-14 with a double, 2 home runs and 10 walks
- Willie Harris – 2-for-4 with a walk
- Adam Kennedy – 3-for-12 with a home run
- Jason Marquis – 0-for-2
- Kevin Mench – 0-for-2
- Nyjer Morgan – 0-for-7 with 2 walks
- Wil Nieves – 1-for-9
- Ivan Hernandez – 0-for-7 with a walk
- Ryan Zimmerman – 5-for-10 with a walk
The Cubs will face a very familiar face tonight in Jason Marquis. Marquis has spent a majority of his first season with the Nationals on the DL and will make just his third start since his return. Marquis should have re-signed with the Rockies last winter, but he went with the money instead of what was best for his career.
Marquis, when healthy, has not been good. He is coming off a loss to the Phillies in which he allowed one run on four hits in five innings with four walks and a strikeout.
Jason Marquis has been hit extremely hard at Nationals Park this season. In three games (eight innings), Marquis has allowed 18 runs on 19 hits with six walks and four strikeouts.
Marquis will make his 13th career start against the Chicago Cubs tonight. He is 4-6 in 13 career games, 12 starts, with a 4.42 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP.
There are not many things in baseball that are certain, but there is one this season … Jason Marquis’ streak of his teams making it to the post season will come to an end this year.
Cubs Career Numbers against Jason Marquis
- Jeff Baker – 0-for-3
- Marlon Byrd – 1-for-9 with 2 walks
- Ryan Dempster – 0-for-2 with a walk
- Blake DeWitt – 0-for-5
- Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-4 with a double and 2 walks
- Xavier Nady – 3-for-19 with a home run and a walk
- Aramis Ramirez – 9-for-24 with a double, a triple, 2 home runs and 2 walks
- Alfonso Soriano – 4-for-12 with 2 doubles and 2 walks
- Geovany Soto – 0-for-5 with a walk
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …