Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Padres – 09/28/11

Game One Hundred Sixty-Two: Cubs (71-90) vs. Padres (70-91)
Game Time – 7:35pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WCIU – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – PETCO Park, San Diego

Ryan Dempster (10-13, 4.53/1.43) vs. Wade LeBlanc (4-6, 4.83/1.44)

This is itthe Cubs final game of the 2011 season.

The long journey that began in February in Mesa comes to an end tonight with game 162. Q’s Cubs ended their three game losing streak on Tuesday night with a solid win over the Padres and will shoot to finish the season 18 games below .500. The Cubs are 3-2 against the Friars with one left to play. A win tonight would also give Q’s Cubs a winning record for the second month in a row and a .500 road trip to end the season. After posting a 16-13 record in August, the Cubs are 12-12 in September.

Ryan Dempster should reach his goal of 200 innings for the season tonight in what could be his final game with the Cubs … Dempster is 3 1/3 innings short of 200 for the fourth season in a row. Dempster could elect free agency instead of exercising the option that would pay him $14 million in 2012 … reports in recent days have suggested Dempster could land a three to four year contract on the open market worth $9 – $10 million per season.

Look for Mike Quade to run out his right-handed lineup with the left-hander on the hill for the Padres. Reed Johnson, Jeff Baker and Luis Montanez could be making their final appearances in a Cubs’ uniform tonight.

Not only could tonight be Dempster’s final game as a Cub but Aramis Ramirez figures to sign elsewhere in the off-season … and tonight should be the last game for Mike Quade as the skipper of the Chicago Cubs.

Starlin Castro reached base for the 39th game in a row on Tuesday night and extended his hitting streak to 10 games. Can Castro close out his first full year in the big leagues by reaching base safely in his last 40 games?

For the last time this season … it all begins with Ryan Dempster.

Ryan Dempster is just 3 1/3 innings short of reaching 200 for the fourth season in a row. Dempster has not posted a win since August 11 and the Cubs are 4-6 in his last 10 starts. Despite what the mainstream media will say prior to tonight’s start, Ryan Dempster has not pitched as good as the box scores may indicate. Dempster has struggled with his command, put his team in early holes and walked too many batters.

In his last ten starts, Dempster is 2-5 with a respectable 3.61 ERA but with a 1.46 WHIP (33 walks and 58 hits in 62 1/3 innings) … just too many baserunners. Over his last five starts, Dempster is 0-3 with a 3.34 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP, teams are hitting .272.

Ryan Dempster is 4-5 in 15 road starts this year with a 5.51 ERA and a 1.63 WHIP.

Dempster did not face the Friars back in April and is 8-4 in 21 career games, 12 starts, with a 3.73 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP … at PETCO Park, 1-1 in six games, two starts, with a 3.63 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP.

Padres Career Numbers against Ryan Dempster

  • Jason Bartlett – 1-for-3
  • Kyle Blanks – 0-for-3
  • Chase Headley – 0-for-7 with 3 walks
  • Jeremy Hermida – 1-for-6 with a walk
  • Orlando Hudson – 0-for-7 with a walk
  • Nick Hundley – 1-for-6 with a home run
  • Cameron Maybin – 1-for-3
  • Will Venable – 1-for-3

The Cubs will get their first look at Wade LeBlanc tonight in the season finale. The 26-year old southpaw is coming off a loss to the Dodgers in which he allowed two runs on four hits without a walk and a career-high 10 strikeouts. LeBlanc has been very, very good of late and will be extremely tough on the impatient Cubs offense … especially on the last day of the season.

LeBlanc is 2-2 in his last four starts with a 4.18 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP … since the break, 4-4 in 10 starts with a 4.74 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP.

Wade LeBlanc has never faced the Cubs in a regular season game and only four players on the Cubs active roster have at bats against the southpaw … Jeff Baker (0-for-1), Blake DeWitt (3-for-5 with a home run and a walk), Reed Johnson (0-for-3) and Carlos Pena (0-for-3).

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Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball for the last time in Twenty-Eleven …

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