Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Diamondbacks – 07/14/12

Game Eighty-Seven: Cubs (34-52) vs. Diamondbacks (42-44)
Game Time – 12:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187/914
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Ryan Dempster (4-3, 1.99/1.01) vs. Joe Saunders (4-5, 3.44/1.38)

Weather permitting … Dale Sveum’s team has won 10 of 14 and will go for their second straight victory over Arizona in what could be Ryan Dempster’s final start as a Cub at Wrigley Field.

Upwards of ten teams are expected to be on hand to watch Ryan Dempster’s start this afternoon. If all goes well today, Dempster could be traded before the end of the homestand. Dempster is in the middle of his best stretch in a Cubs’ uniform … Dempster has not allowed a run in his last 27 innings.

Joe Saunders was scheduled to pitch the opener against the Cubs on June 22. Saunders could not get loose in the pen prior to the game and was placed on the DL the following day with a strained left shoulder. Saunders is scheduled to make his first start since June 16.

Look for Jeff Baker and Reed Johnson in the starting nine with the southpaw on the hill.

This afternoon all starts with Ryan Dempster

Ryan Dempster picked up where he left off in his last outing against the Mets. After not allowing any runs in three starts (22 innings) before landing on the DL for more than three weeks, Dempster tossed five innings of shutout ball in New York. Dempster has not allowed an earned run in his last 27 innings … the last runs off Dempster came on May 30 (a Carlos Quentin two-run homer).

Dempster is 1-2 in six starts at Wrigley this season with a 3.26 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP.

Ryan Dempster missed the series in Arizona and has not fared too well against the D-Backs in his career. Dempster owns a 2-8 record in 19 games, 15 starts, with a 6.72 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP.

Diamondbacks Career Numbers against Ryan Dempster

  • Henry Blanco – 0-for-6
  • Willie Bloomquist – 2-for-4
  • Geoff Blum – 15-for-51 with a double and five walks
  • Stephen Drew – 5-for-9 with a double and a home run
  • Mark Grace – 2-for-12 with four walks
  • Aaron Hill – one walk
  • Miguel Montero – 3-for-9 with a walk
  • Lyle Overbay – 2-for-7 with two double and six walks
  • Gerardo Parra – 5-for-8 with a double and a walk
  • Ryan Roberts – one walk
  • Justin Upton – 2-for-15 with a walk
  • Chris Young – 6-for-16 with two doubles, a triple, a home run and a walk

Joe Saunders was scheduled to start the opener of the three-game series against the Cubs on June 22. Saunders could not get loose in the pen and was not able to go. Kirk Gibson used Josh Collmenter and his pen to beat the Cubs. Saunders has been on the shelf with a strained left shoulder since and will make his first start since June 16 this afternoon.

Saunders was 1-2 in his three starts prior to landing on the disabled list with a 2.89 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP.

The veteran lefty has been a lot better on the road (1-1 in six starts with a 1.82 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP) than at home (3-4 in seven starts with a 5.01 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP).

Joe Saunders is 0-2 in two career starts against the Cubs with a 7.27 ERA and a 2.19 WHIP … both starts were at Wrigley Field.

Cubs Career Numbers against Joe Saunders

  • Jeff Baker – 3-for-6 with a double
  • Starlin Castro – 1-for-4 with a walk
  • David DeJesus – 4-for-22
  • Reed Johnson – 4-for-17 with three doubles and a triple
  • Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-4 with a home run and a walk
  • Geovany Soto – 2-for-3 with a double, a home run and two walks
  • Luis Valbuena – 0-for-2

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

"You can be a kid for as long as you want when you play baseball." - Cal Ripken Jr.
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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From George Ofman: Cubs have at least 2 deals on table for Dempster. One from Tigers including young lefty and from Dodgers for two pitching prospects.

    • BosephHeyden

      I know the Dodgers are looking to eat salary and all, but since Team Theo isn’t going to be getting any top free agents this off-season (nor should they if they don’t plan on competing next season), salary relief should be the last thing they need, especially since these kids don’t need a lot of money until they’ve shown they can play, and our hindered salary is still a lot larger than a good amount of the other teams out there.

      Also, that Dodger package, after looking into it myself and hearing what everyone else here had to say about the two pitchers in question (Gould and Withrow), there’s no way those two are worth one Ryan Dempster.

      • Aaron

        I agree…I wouldn’t touch the Dodgers prospects with a 10 foot pole.

        Gould and Withrow would be a joke for Dempster. It’d be all “potential”, which we have seen way too many times (including the Lilly deal) than actual results.

        • Brp921

          I would take a combination of either Lee or Webster and one or two from a group of Reed, Sanchez, Withrow, Martin and Gould. It looks to me like we could get a couple major league pitchers out of those guys, I think a guy like Webster could have pretty good success in Wrigley Field.

        • J Daniel

          Aaron – Theriot was in that deal as well and I be,I’ve the Cubs sent cas as well. HORRIBLE!

    • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

      I actually like Demp to the Tigers, if hes packaged with Barney or other things they are needing we could get some good prospects back, much better then we could get from the Dodgers.

      • http://www.facebook.com/mike.simala Mike Simala

        Id like to see them sneak Rob Brantly into a deal headed back our way from Detroit.

      • Aaron

        Dempster to the Tigers would/should likely net a better haul than to the Dodgers. With Withrow and Gould, you’re looking at quantity over quality. I would much rather have a Wheeler for Beltran type of trade than Hendry-esque deals

        • Brp921

          Aside from Jacob Turner and maybe Casey Crosby it looks to me like the Dodgers have the better starting pitching prospects. I would doubt the Tigers would want to include Turner in a trade for Dempster. I think I like the idea of Dempster to the Dodgers and Garza to the Tigers or Yankees.

    • Dnuge44

      Seems the Tigers & Cubs have been talking trades since last winter, I will believe it when it happens.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Today’s lineup:

    Johnson – CF
    Castro – SS
    Rizzo – 1B
    Soriano – LF
    Baker – RF
    Soto – C
    Barney – 2B
    Valbuena – 3B
    Dempster – P

    • cubtex

      If they are looking to move LaHair…..why not just play him everyday until the deadline to showcase him? I really don’t know what interest there is in LaHair…..but according to rumors they are bringing his name up.

      • J Daniel

        Can’t hit lefties and it would decrease value. Should always put players in best possible position to succeed.

        • cubtex

          I know he can’t hit lefties…..but now the Cubs are letting every team know they see him as a platoon player……at best. Play him till July 31st and hope his bat finds the ball a couple of times.

          • J Daniel

            You can go that way and hope he gets hot against them. But everyone already knows it and I suspect it is why he never got a shot?

          • BosephHeyden

            I’ve beaten this dead horse numerous times, but it bears a re-beating: there’s a big difference between a left-handed starter and a left-handed reliever. So far, the majority (potentially ALL) of LaHair’s at-bats against lefties have been against relievers. And if you look at those numbers, then of course they’re supposed to be low. A left handed reliever’s job is to get out a left handed batter. Their pitches are specialized just for that occasion. If a left-handed batter was good against left-handed relievers, then he’d probably be a great all-around hitter.

            Left handed starters, on the other hand, face everyone. They don’t get to gameplan against left-handed batters because, chances are they’re taking on more righties than lefties in a given game. There’s a number of left-handed pitchers out there with high opposing batting averages against lefty hitters. Those are the guys LaHair needs to be featured against, but he’s constantly being passed up because of that stupid platoon system that fails a lot more than it succeeds.

            Heck, I would say that the reason for its recent success is the fact that the Cubs have plugged in a left-handed batter in Rizzo, forcing the Cubs to only have two platoon guys in the lineup rather than three. The Cubs are constantly shooting themselves in the foot with LaHair. Maybe he could hit lefty pitching, maybe he can’t. Unless you give him CONSISTENT playing time against them, you just don’t know (it also bears saying that LaHair does have at least one home run this year versus a left handed pitcher, so it isn’t like he’s incapable of hitting against them for power).

          • cubtex

            The difference with why I want him playing is to trade him….I think you are saying you want him to be part of future. As I pointed out. …..He is dead last in NL for range as a rf. He is a DH/1st baseman.

          • BosephHeyden

            There’s a big difference in return for a platoon guy and an everyday guy

          • cubtex

            I am agreeing with you on that. Do I think LaHair is an everyday player? No…..but I want him to play as much as possible to hopefully market him more. I do not want him starting in one of the outfield spots next year. He has no range and is a K machine who doesn’t hit in the clutch. Get what you can for him by the trade deadline.

      • BosephHeyden

        The other thing I keep hearing when they bring up his name is they don’t know if he can hit lefties. So yeah…

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Levine reported this morning that 12 teams are at Wrigley today to watch Dempster.

  • Tony_Hall

    A really good article on Dusty Baker.

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/8161055/cincinnati-reds-dusty-baker-complex-individual

    It addresses why players like him and criticizes him for the same things we saw first hand.

    “The “Fire Dusty Baker” movement is gaining traction on blogs, a Facebook page and a Twitter site that provides an outlet for Reds fans who pronounce themselves tired of “questionable line-ups, too-late pitching changes & utter buffoonery.”

    “The biggest complaint against Baker, according to one Reds insider, is his “undying loyalty” to scrappy, marginally talented players. The list includes Willy Taveras, Corey Patterson andWillie Harris, who have joined former Cubs infielder Neifi Perez in the pantheon of Dusty favorites who seemingly inspired greater devotion than their numbers would warrant.”

    “”He’s one of the more diverse and complete men I’ve ever met,” said Reds bench coach Chris Speier. “The range is so broad. It can go from the typical hunting and fishing to the arts. It doesn’t matter if it’s black art or Egyptian art or anything else. And from there you might go from a philosophical discussion to talking about street gangs.”

  • Tony_Hall

    ESPN Insider article by Keith Law, on why Appel not signing, shows the new system didn’t work.

    http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/blog/_/name/law_keith/id/8164746/the-fallout-mark-appel-not-signing-pittsburgh-pirates

    “The real problem here is that the new system, allegedly designed to funnel the best players to the teams most in need of those players, failed. Teams repeatedly called players prior to the draft and gave them take-it-or-leave-it offers: Agree to sign for this dollar figure or we’ll draft someone else. Not only is this forbidden under Rule 3, which was the product of collective bargaining between the owners and the union, but it means that teams weren’t taking the best players available, but were taking the best players available who’d sign for their figures. Under the previous system, with slot recommendations but no bonus caps and no real penalties for exceeding slot, the Pirates could have signed Appel for whatever they wanted — an example, at least, of a top talent going to a small-market team with a recent history of losing. That was the stated intent of the changes, but when a player like Appel is returning to school, it’s a sign that the system did not work as planned.”

    • cubtex

      I am sure Appel signed a big insurance policy to protect him if he gets hurt. Pirates did everything they could to sign him without forfeiting a 1st round pick. You never know……if Appel has good senior year and the Cubs end up with a top 3 pick….Appel could end up with Cubs next year. Pirates loss could be Cubs gain.

      • J Daniel

        And that is why, as painful as it is, the loses are really important at this point to ensure the top pick. That, along with a couple of shrewd moves now, will set up the future. McCloud know what he is doing.

      • Tony_Hall

        I agree, but it was a long shot pick anyway.

        In what would be too funny, if he would fall to them again with their comp pick for not signing him and then offer him below slot money and way less than they just did.

        • J Daniel

          Serve him and Boras right :)

        • cubtex

          Next years draft is said to be weaker. Hopefully a couple of elite pitching prospects emerge for the Cubs to choose from.

  • Tony_Hall

    Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus does an article on ESPN Insider listing his Top 12 prospects for fanstasy baseball of the week. This means have a chance to produce, this year. With Rizzo no longer on the list, Vitters is holding strong.

    http://insider.espn.go.com/fantasy/baseball/flb/story?page=top12prospects120713

    9. Josh Vitters, 3B, Chicago Cubs (June 29 rank: 8)Last two weeks’ stats (at Triple-A Iowa): 17-for-42 (.405), 1 HR, 9 RBIs, 1 SB
    Season totals: .304-13-49, 2 SB in 88 games
    Update: Vitters keeps hitting, and the Cubs need a solution at third base. Luis Valbuena is anything but a long-term answer, and it might take more than just a September call-up for the Cubs to give Vitters enough at-bats to decide just how seriously they should take him heading into next spring.
    What he can do: Having already reached a career high in walks, a more patient approach (though it’s still poor) has been the key to Vitters’ breakout, which gives us more confidence that it’s real. He’s suddenly looking like a solid, if unspectacular, third-base prospect, and there’s still room for his stock to rise.

    • cubtex

      Thanks for sharing. I am all for bringing Vitters up soon and see if he is part of the future. Valbuena is a utility guy. Vitters has been hitting better each month and this is the ideal situation to bring him up. No pressure to win and just let him play.

      • DNuge44

        Vitters still needs to work on his fielding, footwork around 3B is not the best, other than that he is at least worth a look in Sept.

  • J Daniel

    I understand trading Demp but what would be wrong with signing him to a discounted deal here? I know he could resign as a FA but the odds are slim. There is always talk like that such as there was with Lilly but when they hit the open market they do not return.

    • J Daniel

      Was going to expand as Aaron mentioned, can’t get zip back!

    • cubtex

      Because he is what? 34? The Cubs will not be competitive for a couple of years. Get some young pitchers with upside while he is at peak value.

      • J Daniel

        Agree but don’t want the likes of Wallach and Smits back. Are they still in baseball? I guess this is where we say “In Theo we Trust”. :)

        • Aaron

          I believe Wallach is still in the organization, but on the DL or something. As for Smits, he was released long ago, and we all know about DeWitt.

          Lilly and Theriot for that? You gotta be kidding me. The way I see that deal is a favor to his pal Coletti, which is yet another reason why I couldn’t stand Hendry….he didn’t do what was best for the long-term outlook of the team, and when he was forced to sell off pieces, he more or less looked to help out his buddies, again, at the expense of the long-term outlook of the team.

          I am so happy that guy is gone

          • J Daniel

            And CASH! Joke! These next 2 weeks are huge.

          • Dorasaga

            Love you, Aaron~

          • Tom U

            Sorry, just coming back on-line after 4 hours without power.

            Brett Wallach is currently on the DL for Daytona. Kyle Smits was released prior to the season after have a good run in the Puerto Rican league this past winter.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs turn another double play … nine straight games with at least one double play, longest streak since 1994.

    • Dorasaga

      The new defensive alignment (shift), scouting report, pitcher execution, and a focused team all kept that ball grounded to play. Keep rolling!

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Agreed, the coaching staff has done a good job turning the defense around.

        • J Daniel

          Guess it is proper preparation and then execution. The new “Cubs Way”.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            It is nice to see the Cubs finally using the tools that have been there for years …

        • John_CC

          Thank you for pointing that out, Neil.

          Back when the new management was starting to dismantle and fill pieces for the short term people here were bemoaning who much worse this year’s team was going to be defensively by not having Pena and Fukudome, etc. that DeJesus was marginal, Soriano is terrible, Castro…apparently old dogs (and young hotdogs) can learn new tricks when approached properly.

          I stated then that the Cubs defense would be better than last year simply because of Sveum’s managing and the coaching staff he chose. And we have seen it all year.

          He may make questionable in games moves, but he is a rookie manager. There is no questioning his preparation, work ethic and ability to coach players and keep a team playing hard through miserable losing streaks.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Nice 3-6-3 double play started by Rizzo … picked up Dempster for walking Saunders

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    That should be all for Dempster this afternoon … six more innings of shutout ball. Another good start.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    With 6 shutout innings vs Diamondbacks,
    Ryan Dempster’s 33-inning scoreless streak is longest in majors this
    year (R.A. Dickey went 32 2/3).

    • John_CC

      Awesome. Great for Demp. Did he get an ovation?

  • J Daniel

    Should be Dempsters last start.

  • Roland

    Can’t believe I missed the Mark Grace stats. Sneaky.

    • Dorasaga

      Reed crushed into wall and ripped DBacks a potential rbi longball. He’s a player, and then the good, new double-play! W!

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Thank you

      • Dorasaga

        Took me a while to realize where Roland was referring to. Neil, you should create an April’s Fool Live Chat.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          I’ve done that for a long time. Some are caught, some are not.

          • Dorasaga

            Though, I would love to read an April’s Fool chat (or any time as you found special to throw in as an “event”).

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs beat the D-Backs 4-1 Saturday afternoon – Ryan Dempster: 0R, 4H, 3BB, 5K, 6IP;
    Starlin Castro: 0-for-3, RBI, BB; Darwin Barney: 1-for-3, 2B, RBI, R; Luis Valbuena: 2-for-3, RBI, R

    Cubs defense turned three double plays