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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Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

Quote of the Day

"Whatever you think, be sure it is what you think; whatever you want, be sure that is what you want." – T.S. Eliot

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  • Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

    Castro – SS
    Barney – 2B
    LaHair – RF
    Pena – 1B
    Soriano – LF
    Byrd – CF
    LeMahieu – 3B
    Hill – C
    Dempster – P

    • BosephHeyden

      Yep…that’s why Quade’s earned a second shot.  Rookie catcher brought up, so start the guy who can’t even cut it in the minors.  Brilliant

      • Gramps

        Typical of Quade! The new guy has to be taught he is not a veteran and he has to sit at the end of the bench where he can watch the veterans who earned the right to play! This makes me sick!

    • diehardcubfan

      Colvin must be in Quade’s doghouse despite hitting well over his past few games.  Please fire Quade NOW!!!!!

  • Tony_Hall
    Looks like teams are wrapping up their GM’s to make sure they don’t leave.

    Jocketty signs through 2014

    • cc002600

      Jocketty was never on Ricketts list.
      He’s too old.

      • Tony_Hall

        Maybe not (have you seen his list, because I haven’t seen it published), but he was in the rumor mill, and now they can cross this one off.

        • cc002600

          no, but he’s too old school and too old……I would be shocked if he was on Ricketts’ list

          • Tony_Hall

            It was kind of a rhetorical question, and I would be shocked as well if he was on his short list, but I bet he made his list, if/when, he was making a list of older GM possibilities.

  • paulcatanese

    Well this is certainly an offensive lineup, and the vets are out there again. I notice that Mr Chickenheart is not healthy enough to play tonight but will be healed enough to play against the Astros. I wonder if Dempster gets seven innings tonight even if he is getting pounded. Six thru nine in the order, well I hope at least LeMahieu does well.

  • paulcatanese

    Did anyone notice Aram said HE will play monday or tuesday, I thought managers made the lineups.

    • studio179

      Gee, what could you be saying. You are suggesting the vet players run the show and the Cubs need a manager that demands respect. Ha!

      • paulcatanese

        Of course, why else would Byrd be out there every day?

  • studio179

    Rookie pen guys will be lucky to get in an inning tonight. Quade will let Dempster pitch as long as he wants.

  • studio179

    Congrats, Starlin!

    • paulcatanese

      second that for Castro.

  • Neil

    Castro with #200!

  • Tony_Hall

    Castro is the real deal…if you still had doubts, 200 hits should help change your mind.

  • Neil

    From Rock Shoulders’ twitter account: “Found out today that i tore my maniscus and have to get surgery soon!”

  • Neil

    Carlos Pena just walked for 96th time, a modern day record for Cubs 1st basemen. Mark Grace had old mark of 95 in 2000

  • Neil

    Excellent catch by LeMahieu

  • Neil

    Pena with 80th RBI

  • Neil

    D.J. starts the 5-2-3 inning ending double play.

  • Neil

    Fourth time this season Dempster has walked 6 in a game

  • Neil

    Barney with a leadoff triple in the eighth

  • Neil

    Soriano with a 3-run shot … #25

  • John G

    Fonz made them pay. The Braves are celebrating.

    • John G

      As are the Brewers. Maybe even more so.

      • carmelo

        Don’t look now, but Shark’s ERA is now under 3.00 for the year.

  • Neil

    Another solid play at third by LeMahieu, strated the 5-3 inning ending double play.

  • John G

    Congrats to the Brew Crew.

  • Neil

    Cubs beat the Cardinals 5-1 on Friday night.

    Ryan Dempster: 1R, 4H, 6BB, 5K, 6IP; Darwin Barney: 2-for-5, 3B, 2R; Starlin Castro: 2-for-5, hit #201, RBI; Carlos Pena: 1-for-1, 2B, RBI, 3BB;
    Alfonso Soriano: 3R HR in top of the 8th

  • Neil

    With the Cubs winning tonight, the Brewers are the 2011 NL Central Division Champions

  • Neil

    Congratulations to the Milwaukee Brewers

    • studio179

      I second that…congrats to the Brewers.

  • paulcatanese

    First off, congrats to Castro. 2nd, the catch off Theriot had to be one of the greatest I have seen, he went up and over the rim to get it, at least three feet off the ground. Aram could not get to that ball if someone was behind him with a cattle prod. And Lemahieu was involved in three double plays. Barney, great nitght,as well as Pena , and Dempster pitched well, good game, anytime the Cards get beat.

    • paulcatanese

      Meant to say LeMahieu with the catch on Theriot.

  • paulcatanese

    I know a lot of you wont agree, but I feel its time to let up a little on Soriono, he is having one of his best years in a long time. True, he is not the best with a glove, but I also have said this many times, I dont think its from lack of hustle but a deterioting of his legs, they are shot and he has maybe one or two spurts a night. He does not take great routes to the ball, but thats not from lack of trying its because he really dosent know proper routes and dosent have the legs to make up for it. His offense has picked up, sees a lot of pitches better than he used to. I would like to see him traded so he would not have to play defense to use his bat. And the American League would be the best for him. I do think he is a team player way ahead of some others on the Cubs. Just getting old.

    • Demitri

      I see what your saying. I just want him out so we can get rid of that awful contract

      • paulcatanese

        I agree about the contract being unreal but let me ask this. If someone (if you were a ballplayer) came to you and insisted you sign with them for a ridiculous amount of money for eight years, what would you do? I cant fault him for that I fault the management of the Cubs. Guess what, whoever gets Pujols or Fielder or Jackson next year will be asked the same thing a few years down the road and comments about those contracts will be in the headlines as well, its the nature of those long term contracts, the fans have to live with them, but have the right to be unhappy with how they turn out.
        Now if the Cubs do something with all the money they get  off the books, great, but they will still have paid out a ton to get them gone. I dont like any of those contracts and think they are ruining baseball, but thats just my opinion.

        • cubtex

          I agree Paul. Fonzie had a very solid year. Now is the time to move hin to AL because Cubs need to inprove defensively. As I mentioned before…Fonzie, cash and a mid level prospect to Texas for Michael Young.

          • paulcatanese

            Thats okay, cause in a way I think he has earned a trip to the AL, kind of like retirement for him. Hope it happens for him.

          • Aaron

            I saw that Cubtex, and meant to comment on it. I LOVED your idea with Soriano to Texas….and Young doesn’t trust management anymore, so while they’re good, and he’s having a great year, he likely still wants out. The problem is, and the Rangers will likely see this too from their perspective…Soriano can’t play in the field, and Young is more versatile in the field…plus, despite Soriano’s superior power, they both historically have driven in about the same amount of runs, PLUS, Young’s batting average is almost always over .300+, and his OBP over .350+. 

            Additionally, with guys like Cruz and Hamilton on the roster needing to spend time at the DH spot due to injury, as well as Napoli, I just don’t see room for Soriano.

            But I LOVE the idea in theory, especially with Young coming back. 200+hits is almost the norm for him in his career, and coupling him with Castro would make one dynamic duo at the top of the lineup.

          • Aaron

            Also, I forgot to mention….if they were in fact willing to do that trade, the Cubs would likely have to include someone like Barney, LeMahieu, Flaherty, or someone like that….and possibly even Soto instead of them, who would in turn, allow Napoli to move to 1B full-time.

            Outside of a bad contract trade like that, I don’t see a whole lot of ways the Cubs can improve next year. The bottom line is, I don’t know of any players on the current 25-man roster the Cubs might be willing to trade under a new GM other than the following that would attract interest: 
            Dempster (NTC and still must exercise his own option anyway)
            Byrd (very limited value, and this would assume the Cubs pick up almost his entire tab)

            There’s no way they would consider the likes of Garza, Castro, Cashner, Samardzija, etc. They might consider someone like LeMahieu, or other young guys that are part of the September call-ups like Clevenger, but it’s highly unlikely at this point. 

            In order for the Cubs to compete next year, they MUST rid themselves of bad contracts like Soriano, Zambrano, even Dempster at this point, Byrd, and resist Hendry’s previous urge to resign the likes of Johnson, Hill, and Baker. They must, instead, give those roster spots to rookies, and go in a different direction.

            If you haven’t read AZ Phil’s recap of the first Instructs game at TCR, I highly suggest it. It’s a great read. Dunston Jr. and Vogelbach both hit home runs, and the rest of the class like DeVoss, Schlecht, Lockhart, Lopez, Rosario, and Baez all contributed as well.

            The reason I mention this, is in a few years, the Cubs are going to have a pretty damn exciting roster if they play their cards right. Step one is getting rid of veterans holding everyone back.

          • Tony_Hall

            No way the Rangers will do that.  Young’s average is higher than Soriano’s OBP by 48 points, unless it includes some very good prospects.  Aaron points out as well, that Texas is not a good fit for Soriano, as they have better bats already, that need to DH.

            If we are going to have to pay 90% of his salary (if we are lucky), we my as well just pay it all, cut him and move on.

    • Tony_Hall

      Sorry can’t agree.  

      Yes he drove in his career high with the Cubs (81 RBI’s), but he had his lowest OBP ever at 289.  That’s a decent batting average, it is a horrendous OBP.

      Just last night he struck out.  With 2 strikes, the pitcher threw a fastball low and outside, that just missed, he didn’t even flinch. I was impressed at that, but the next pitch was a slider that I don’t think started any more over the plate and he swung, badly and missed.  

      Most of his numbers come against, bottom of the rotation guys, and middle relievers.  Very little of his production, comes against top starters and closers.  Case in point, McClellan, was a starter for 17 starts, now a bullpen guy. 

      Nice bomb last night, but I really hope these are the last games we see him in a Cubs uniform.  He is one of the most baseball unintelligent players, I have ever seen.

      • paulcatanese

        Tony, I didnt say he was Einstein, and said he took poor routes to the ball and the reason. I simply stated that its the best year he has had for a while and should be traded. The man is old, his legs are gone, he still is trying to learn the outfield. But he does hustle and is a team player and not the lazy person everyone makes him out to be. I have also made fun of him but after watching all of the games this year I have changed my mind about him. No he is not in the future plans of the Cubs and should be dealt. But for me to say he has not had a good year for him, I cannot do that. Not making excuses for him at all, and I remember who carried the team for power in the early month and a half of this year. Not enough of course but better than the likes of Aram and Pena with the long ball. Who by the way I think both of them should be gone too,