Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Astros – 09/18/11

Game One Hundred Fifty-Three: Cubs (67-85) vs. Astros (51-100)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Ryan Dempster (10-12, 4.66/1.43) vs. Brett Myers (5-13, 4.52/1.31)

The Cubs will shoot for the three-game sweep of the Astros on the next to last Sunday of the baseball season. In order to sweep the ‘Stros, Q’s Cubs will have to do something a Cubs team has not done since August 1, 2007 … beat Brett Myers.

With Saturday’s victory, the Cubs guaranteed themselves both a series win (2-0) and winning season (8-6) against the Astros. While the first two games have been anything but a clinic on how to play the game, this afternoon’s finale should be a little better with Ryan Dempster and Brett Myers on the hill.

Prior to Saturday’s game, Mike Quade hinted at giving Aramis Ramirez a day off and starting D.J. LeMahieu at third this afternoon. With Alfonso Soriano’s career numbers against Myers, it might be a good day to slide Bryan LaHair over to left and start Tyler Colvin in right. Colvin is 6-for-21 in his career against Myers with two doubles, three home runs and a walk.

Look for Carlos Pena to get a majority of the starts at first for the remainder of the season. Pena is two round trippers short of 30 for the year and Quade is going to give him every opportunity to hit 30 home runs this season.

Starlin Castro collected hit no. 194 on Saturday and is just six shy of 200. Castro also extended another impressive streak. Castro has reached base safely in 30 consecutive games and became the Cubs first shortstop since Ernie Banks in 1960 to reach base in 30 straight games. Derrek Lee (2009) was the last Cub to reach base in 31 straight.

In other news … The Smokies avoided elimination and forced a fourth game in the Southern League Championship Series with a come from behind win. Tennessee scored three in the bottom of the eighth on Saturday night and beat the BayBears 4-2. Nelson Perez hit a game-tying pinch-hit home run in the eighth and Rebel Ridling singled in James Adduci with the go head run. Trey McNutt will start game four this afternoon. First pitch slated for 4:00pm CDT.

On the final Sunday game of the season at Wrigley (Cubs 7-16 on Sundays in 2011), it all starts with Ryan Dempster

Ryan Dempster took the loss in his last outing after allowing just two runs on six hits in seven innings. While Dempster’s final line from his outing in Cincinnati looks good, it was far from a quality start for the Cubs Opening Day starter. Dempster walked six batters (third time this season Dempster issued six free passes in a single start) and his goal to reach 200 innings this season (183 2/3) could have cost his team a chance to win the game.

Mike Quade allowed Dempster to hit for himself in the top of the seventh with his team by a single run … while Tyler Colvin sat on the bench. Granted Colvin has struggled this season but his career numbers against Mike Leake could have led to a rally or the tying run.

Today could be Ryan Dempster’s final start as a Cub at Wrigley Field despite the fact most figure Dempster will exercise his option and remain in blue pinstripes for another season.

Ryan Dempster is 0-2 in his last three starts with a 3.72 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP (23 hits and nine walks in 19 1/3 innings) and after a horrible start, Dempster is 4-6 in 12 starts since the break with a 4.11 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP.

Dempster is 1-0 in two starts against Houston this season with a 4.05 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP.

Astros Career Numbers against Ryan Dempster

  • Jose Altuve – 0-for-3
  • Clint Barmes – 2-for-6 with a home run and a walk
  • Brian Bogusevic – 0-for-3
  • Jason Bourgeois – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • Matt Downs – 1-for-1
  • Chris Johnson – 4-for-8 with a home run and a walk
  • Carlos Lee – 14-for-41 with 3 doubles, 2 home runs and 2 walks
  • J.D. Martinez – 0-for-3
  • Brett Myers – 0-for-2
  • Jimmy Paredes – 2-for-3 with 2 doubles
  • Angel Sanchez – 2-for-8 with a double and a home run
  • J.B. Shuck – 1-for-3 with a double
  • Brett Wallace – 1-for-4 with a triple and 2 walks

Brett Myers has owned the Chicago Cubs throughout his career and there is no reason to think the outcome will be any different today. The Cubs refuse to change their approach against Myers … and he exploits the Cubs’ weaknesses every time he takes the mound against them.

Since a bad start against the Cubs back on August 16 (four runs on six hits in seven innings) and a horrible outing in Colorado (seven runs on nine hits in five innings), Myers has been lights out.

Myers has not allowed more than one earned run in his last four games, three starts (Astros 3-1) and is coming off back-to-back victories. Myers is 2-0 in his last two starts with a 1.15 ERA and a 0.70 WHIP. To put it simply, the Cubs are catching Brett Myers at the wrong time again.

Two of Myers’ five victories this season has come against the Cubs. Myers is 2-0 in three starts against the Cubs this year with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP … for his career, Myers is 12-3 in 20 games, 16 starts, versus the Cubs with a 2.29 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Brett Myers

  • Jeff Baker – 2-for-4
  • Darwin Barney – 2-for-13
  • Marlon Byrd – 9-for-26 with 2 doubles, a home run and 2 walks
  • Starlin Castro – 5-for-23 with a double
  • Tyler Colvin – 6-for-21 with 2 doubles, 3 home runs and a walk
  • Ryan Dempster – 0-for-3
  • Blake DeWitt – 1-for-5
  • Koyie Hill – 1-for-13 with a double
  • Reed Johnson – 0-for-1
  • Carlos Pena – 2-for-11 with a double and 3 walks
  • Aramis Ramirez – 11-for-46 with 2 doubles, 2 home runs and a walk
  • Alfonso Soriano – 6-for-36 with 3 home runs and a walk
  • Geovany Soto – 3-for-13 with 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