Game One Hundred Thirty-Three: Cubs (56-76) vs. Pirates (43-88)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – Comcast SportsNet Plus – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 186
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Ryan Dempster (12-8, 3.42/1.25) vs. Jeff Karstens (2-10, 4.98/1.44)
What a long month for the Chicago Cubs. Not only did the team struggle to a 10-18 record with one game remaining, but also they made countless changes in personnel.
Since July 31 … Ted Lilly, Ryan Theriot, Mike Fontenot and Derrek Lee were traded. Lou Piniella stepped down, Mike Quade took over and Jim Hendry began his search for the next Cubs’ skipper … and that is not counting all of the big league debuts or the rest of the seemingly daily drama.
The Cubs have shown a little improvement under Mike Quade. Many of the players say they are more relaxed. Whether they are referring to being without Piniella or the fact that a team 20 games under .500 has little pressure is unknown.
The Cubs have not had a winning month all year and it would be good to see them finish the lost season out on a positive note. Several minor league players are expected to join the team once rosters expand on Wednesday. Jim Hendry mentioned a couple of players would be called up as early as September 1 while the remainder will come up after the post-season is over in the minors.
Geovany Soto woke up Monday with a sore knee and reported to the park with a limp. The Cubs sent him for a MRI, which came back negative. Soto’s knee is structurally sound but there is some minor swelling. Soto is listed as day-to-day..
It all starts with Ryan Dempster … Ryan Dempster is coming off an impressive outing against the Nationals (seven innings of shutout ball, two hits and eight strikeouts) and should be working on a five-game winning streak. Dempster has not lost a game since July 30 and is leading by example.
Dempster is 4-0 in his last five starts with a 1.31 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP. Dempster has allowed 11 runs, five earned, on 22 hits with 10 walks and 29 strikeouts in his last 34 1/3 innings … just under the 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio that Dempster must have in order to post wins.
Tonight will be Dempster’s 14th start of the year at Wrigley … 5-4 with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP.
Dempster, like the rest of his teammates, has struggled against the Bucs this season. He is 0-2 in two starts with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. For his career, Dempster is 6-9 in 44 games, 19 starts, with a 5.30 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP.
Pirates Career Numbers against Ryan Dempster
- Ronny Cedeno – 4-for-8
- Ryan Doumit – 2-for-18 with a walk
- Garrett Jones – 2-for-12 with a home run and a walk
- Andy LaRoche – 5-for-16 with 2 doubles, a home run and a walk
- Andrew McCutchen – 2-for-10 with a walk
- Lastings Milledge – 2-for-14 with a walk
- Chris Snyder – 3-for-9
- Neil Walker – 2-for-2 with a double
- Delwyn Young – 3-for-4
Jeff Karstens has posted only two wins this season … but as always given the Cubs all they can handle. Karstens is coming off an awful outing against the Mets. In his shortest start of the year, Karstens allowed seven runs on 11 hits in 3 1/3 innings. The last time he posted a win was on June 19.
Karstens is 0-4 in his last four starts with a 7.65 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP.
The Cubs have faced Karstens twice this season … 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP. Tonight will be Karstens’ sixth career start versus the Cubs. He is 2-2 in six games, five starts, with a 4.18 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP … at Wrigley, 2-1 in three starts with a 2.12 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Jeff Karstens
- Jeff Baker – 1-for-5 with a double and a walk
- Starlin Castro – 0-for-3 with a walk
- Tyler Colvin – 0-for-5 with a walk
- Blake DeWitt – 6-for-6 with 2 doubles
- Kosuke Fukudome – 2-for-9 with a triple and 2 walks
- Koyie Hill – 4-for-9 with 2 doubles
- Micah Hoffpauir – 1-for-3 with a double
- Xavier Nady – 3-for-3 with a double and a home run
- Aramis Ramirez – 4-for-8 with a home run
- Alfonso Soriano – 6-for-11 with 2 home runs
- Geovany Soto – 0-for-4
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …