Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Cardinals – 09/23/11

Game One Hundred Fifty-Seven: Cubs (69-87) vs. Cardinals (86-70)
Game Time – 7:15pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 186
Location – Busch Stadium, St. Louis

Ryan Dempster (10-13, 4.63/1.42) vs. Chris Carpenter (10-9, 3.66/1.30)

Six games remain on the Cubs 2011 Schedule

Q’s Cubs begin the final road trip of the season tonight with the first of three against the recently cooled off St. Louis Cardinals. The Redbirds had won four straight coming into the series finale against the Mets on Thursday. In the process they put themselves right back in the thick of the NL Wild Card race. The Cardinals took a 6-2 lead into the ninth on Thursday … but the bullpen gave up six in the ninth and the Mets won 8-6.

The Cardinals begin play tonight two games behind the Braves for the NL Wild Card and the Cubs could put a big dent into the Cardinals post season plans. The Cubs have not fared too well against St. Louis this season (4-8) and have already lost the season series … but a sweep or two of three from the Cards this weekend would be a good way to end a bad season.

Starlin Castro is one hit shy of becoming the youngest Cub to reach the 200-hit plateau. Castro has been one of the few bright spots for the Cubs this year and has shown improvement in the field along the way. If Castro is able to get one basehit over the last six games, he would become the first Cub since Juan Pierre in 2006 to record 200 hits in a single season.

Aramis Ramirez’s status for tonight’s game and the final six games is uncertain. D.J. LeMahieu is expected to receive a bulk of the playing time at third if Ramirez cannot play.

As for the rest of Mike Quade’s lineup … Will Koyie Hill be behind the plate for Ryan Dempster tonight? Will Quade remember that Tyler Colvin, John Gaub, Steve Clevenger and Rafael Dolis are on the active roster? Steve Clevenger is expected to start one of the three games in San Diego.

Around this time in 2007, the Brewers played the Braves in Atlanta while the Cubs hosted the Pirates at Wrigley. Every time the score changed in Atlanta that weekend, the crowd at Wrigley did the Tomahawk Chop … and cheered on the Braves. The Braves helped out the Cubs and took three of four from Milwaukee that weekend … while Lou’s crew was busy sweeping the Pirates.

Four years later a lot has changed but maybe the Cubs can help out the Braves this time around and in the process knock the Cardinals out of the playoff picture.

Tonight it all begins with Ryan Dempster

Ryan Dempster is coming off another rough start in which he allowed runs in the first inning … and did not receive any run support. Dempster’s lines may look decent but he has struggled with his command over the last five-plus weeks. In order for Dempster to be successful, he must maintain a 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio and he simply has not done that consistently in the second half. Over his last ten starts, Dempster has posted a 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio three times and he won two of those three starts.

Dempster is 0-3 in his last four starts with a 3.76 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP (11 walks and 21 strikeouts in 26 1/3 innings) and since the break 4-7 in 13 starts with a 4.08 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP (32 walks and 77 strikeouts in 79 1/3 innings).

Ryan Dempster has struggled on the road this season to the tune of a 4-5 record in 14 starts with a 5.83 ERA and a 1.63 WHIP … and will obviously finish the year pitching outside of Wrigley.

Dempster has two starts (tonight and the season finale on Wednesday in San Diego) to reach his goal of 200 innings … he has thrown 190 2/3 over his 32 starts.

Tonight will be Dempster’s third start of the season against the Redbirds … and each of the three starts will end up coming at Busch Stadium. Dempster is 1-1 in the first two with a beefy 7.36 ERA and a 1.73 WHIP. Albert Pujols and company is hitting .333 against him this season.

Cardinals Career Numbers against Ryan Dempster

  • Lance Berkman – 17-for-61 with a double, 6 home runs and 14 walks
  • Allen Craig – 0-for-3
  • Daniel Descalso – 2-for-4 with a walk
  • David Freese – 2-for-6 with a double
  • Rafael Furcal – 6-for-38 with 3 doubles and 7 walks
  • Matt Holliday – 6-for-21
  • Jon Jay – 3-for-13 with a triple and a walk
  • Yadier Molina – 11-for-34 with 2 doubles and 5 walks
  • Corey Patterson – 5-for-17 with 2 doubles
  • Albert Pujols – 17-for-52 with 3 doubles, 7 home run and 11 walks
  • Skip Schumaker – 19-for-46 with 3 doubles and a walk
  • Ryan Theriot – 1-for-3 with a double

After struggling early in the season (4-7 in 19 starts with a 3.85 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP), Chris Carpenter has been more like Chris Carpenter (6-2 in 13 starts with a 3.40 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP) and is coming off a gem against the Phillies. Carpenter tossed eight innings of shutout ball in Philadelphia in his last start and has allowed a total of four runs in his last three games … and two of those were shutouts.

Chris Carpenter is 2-0 in his last four starts with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP.

The Cardinals’ ace will face the Cubs for the second time this season (1-0 in two starts with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP) and has pretty much owned the North Side Nine for the majority of his career (11-6 in 24 starts with a 3.12 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP). The key to beating Carpenter is patience … a word the Cubs do not know the meaning of.

Cubs Career Numbers against Chris Carpenter

  • Jeff Baker – 1-for-4
  • Darwin Barney – 5-for-11
  • Marlon Byrd – 10-for-26 with a double
  • Starlin Castro – 7-for-18 with a double and 2 walks
  • Tyler Colvin – 3-for-15 with 2 home runs
  • Ryan Dempster – 0-for-11
  • Blake DeWitt – 3-for-17 with 3 doubles
  • Koyie Hill – 4-for-18 with 2 doubles
  • Reed Johnson – 0-for-7
  • Carlos Pena – 2-for-7
  • Aramis Ramirez – 25-for-68 with 6 doubles, 2 home runs and 2 walks
  • Alfonso Soriano – 14-for-45 with a double, 2 home runs and 3 walks
  • Geovany Soto – 3-for-12 with a walk

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