Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Pirates – 09/02/11

Game One Hundred Thirty-Eight: Cubs (59-78) vs. Pirates (62-75)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Ryan Dempster (10-10, 4.76/1.40) vs. Brian Burres (0-0, -.–/-.–)

Updated 11:40am CDT – Cubs purchased the contract of Bryan LaHair from Triple-A Iowa, added LaHair to the 40-man roster and called up on Friday morning. Andrew Cashner is expected to be activated from the 60-day DL on Tuesday. The Cubs announced there will not be any additional call-ups prior to Tuesday.

The final month of the Cubs 2011 season begins this afternoon with the first of three against the Mighty Pittsburgh Pirates. With the six-game homestand that begins this afternoon and concludes Wednesday night against the Reds, the Cubs have only 12 games remaining at Wrigley this year (32-37 at Wrigley in 2011).

The Cubs are coming off their best month of the season (16-13 in August) and are facing big decisions as the franchise moves forward. Not only is this the penultimate homestand for several of the players, but it also figures to be the next to last homestand for Mike Quade.

The Cubs are expected to announce their September call-ups at some point prior to today’s game. Reports Wednesday night suggested that Bryan LaHair would take the last available spot on the Cubs 40-man roster. Andrew Cashner is expected to be activated soon from the 60-day DL, which would run the Cubs’ big league roster to 38 players. Carlos Zambrano is eligible to come off the disqualified list on September 12. Zambrano does not count against the 40-man roster until then.

After struggling early in the season against Pittsburgh, the Cubs have won seven of the 13 games versus the Pirates this year. The Cubs enter play today three games back of the Pirates for fourth place in the NL Central … and this weekend is the last series of the year against Pittsburgh, who threw a curveball at Mike Quade late Thursday.

Jeff Karstens was originally scheduled to pitch today’s opener but Clint Hurdle decided to go with Brian Burres. Burres was called up from Triple-A on Thursday and will pitch on regular rest. The 30-year old southpaw pitched in 20 games for Pittsburgh a year ago.

With the lefty on the hill, look for Reed Johnson and Jeff Baker in the starting lineup … but what about Koyie Hill? Hill caught Ryan Dempster’s five previous starts leading up to last Saturday’s dud against the Brewers. Dempster had put together a solid string of starts with Hill behind the plate.

In other newsAndrew Cashner pitched the eighth inning for the Iowa Cubs on Thursday night. Cashner retired the side in order on 10 pitches (nine for strikes) … seven of the 10 pitches were clocked in the upper 90s (98, 99 on the gun).

Over the last ten games, the Cubs are 13-for-82 with runners in scoring position and have left 80 runners on base. The Cubs are 3-7 during that span and have been outscored 38-30.

It is Labor Day weekend … and today it all begins with Ryan Dempster.

Ryan Dempster is coming off a bad start against the Brewers. Dempster lasted just four innings after running up his pitch count and being quite hittable. Dempster gave up five runs on seven hits (two home runs) with two walks and three strikeouts. Dempster just did not have anything last Saturday night.

The Cubs have lost Dempster’s last two starts and he’s was mediocre, at best, in both of those outings.

Ryan Dempster finished August with a 2-2 record in five starts with a 3.90 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP … since the break, 4-4 in nine starts with a 4.25 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP.

Dempster has fared much better at Wrigley (6-6 in 15 starts with a 3.76 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP) than on the road this season (4-4 in 13 games with a 6.16 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP).

This afternoon will be Dempster’s fourth and final start of the season against the Battlin’ Bucs. After losing on Opening Day, Dempster has posted wins in his last two outings against the Pirates … 2-1 in three starts with a 5.60 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP. Dempster does not match up well against Pittsburgh and will shoot to improve on his 8-11 lifetime mark versus the Pirates (48 games, 23 starts, with a 5.63 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP).

Pirates Career Numbers against Ryan Dempster

  • Pedro Alvarez – 1-for-5 with a double
  • Ronny Cedeno – 5-for-14 with a double and a walk
  • Chase d’Arnaud – 1-for-3
  • Ryan Doumit – 4-for-23 with a walk
  • Josh Harrison – 0-for-2
  • Jason Jaramillo – 3-for-6 with a double
  • Garrett Jones – 2-for-20 with a home run and 4 walks
  • Andrew McCutchen – 6-for-20 with a double, a home run and 4 walks
  • Michael McKenry – 2-for-2 with a double
  • Xavier Paul – 0-for-4
  • Alex Presley – 2-for-3 with a double and a triple
  • Jose Tabata – 2-for-8 with a triple and 2 walks
  • Neil Walker – 7-for-12 with 2 doubles, a home run and 2 walks
  • Brandon Wood – 0-for-2

Brian Burres was called up on Thursday when the rosters expanded throughout the league. Burres has been in Triple-A all year and will make his first start of the season with the Pirates.

Burres was 5-9 with the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians with a 4.66 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP in 25 games, 23 starts. This is the 30-year old southpaws second stint with the Pirates (4-5 in 20 games, 13 starts, in 2010 with a 4.99 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP) … and Burres dominated the Cubs a year ago.

Burres’ best start of 2010 came against the Cubs in Pittsburgh on May 6. Burres tossed seven innings of shutout ball against Lou’s crew and allowed just three hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Burres and the Pirates pounded the Cubs and Randy Wells 11-1 in the game that started Wells’ downward spiral.

Brian Burres is 1-0 in four career games, two starts, against the Cubs with a 6.60 ERA and a 1.73 WHIP … at Wrigley, no record in three games, one start, with a 12.38 ERA and a 2.50 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Brian Burres

  • Jeff Baker – 0-for-3 with 2 walks
  • Darwin Barney – 1-for-1 with a double
  • Marlon Byrd – 3-for-13 with a double, 2 home runs and a walk
  • Starlin Castro – 1-for-2 with a double and 2 walks
  • Tyler Colvin – 0-for-2
  • Blake DeWitt – 2-for-2 with a double
  • Koyie Hill – 1-for-2
  • Reed Johnson – 2-for-5
  • Carlos Pena – 6-for-18 with 2 home runs and a walk
  • Aramis Ramirez – 2-for-7 with 2 doubles
  • Alfonso Soriano – 3-for-7 with 2 doubles
  • Geovany Soto – 1-for-4 with a double and a walk

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Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver