While the Cubs take their last day off of the season….
Ryan Dempster has had a great year out of the bullpen for the Cubs. He has converted 31 out of 33 save opportunities this year, a .939 success rate, which is the 14th best since 1969 for pitchers with at least 30 saves. The highest is Eric Gagne’s perfect 55 for 55 season in 2003 with the Dodgers. Dempster joined an elite list of Cubs relievers to have saved 30 games in a single season.
According to cubs.com, the other Cubs pitchers who have totaled at least 30 saves in one season include: Ted Abernathy (1965), Rod Beck (1998), Joe Borowski (2003), Randy Myers (1993, ’95), Lee Smith (1984-87), Bruce Sutter (1977, ’79), and Mitch Williams (1989). Dempster is riding a streak of 17 straight save conversions. He’s the sixth Cub with 16 or more consecutive saves in one season. The others are Rod Beck in 1998, Tom Gordon in 2001, Randy Myers in 1993, Lee Smith in 1982, and Bruce Sutter in 1979.
Also, Dempster is one of only three pitchers to have registered at least 30 saves and started a game in the same season since the save became an official stat in 1969. The other two are Danny Graves, who started four games for Cincinnati in 2002, then moved to the bullpen; and Mike Marshall, who started one game for the Minnesota Twins in 1979. Dempster is 4-0 with 31 saves and a 1.92 ERA (12 earned runs in 56 1/3 innings) as a closer.
A couple of things to watch for over the last week of the season:
Derrek Lee is the first Cub to have 100 runs, 100 RBIs, over 40 home runs, and over 40 doubles in a single season. DLee now leads the National League with a .340 average over Albert Pujols of the Cardinals (.333). He could be the first Cub to win the batting crown since Bill Buckner in 1980.
Greg Maddux will start Tuesday, seeking his 14th win of the season. Maddux is trying to extend his streak of consecutive seasons of at least 15 wins to 18. Maddux will also start the last game of the season in Houston on October 2nd. Let’s hope the Cubs can get those 2 wins for him. According to cubs.com, the pitcher with the most consecutive seasons with 13 or more wins is Cy Young, who did so 19 straight years. Maddux is second, having done so 18 consecutive seasons. Warren Spahn is third at 17 years. Spahn and Maddux are tied for most consecutive seasons with at least 14 wins at 17 years each. Cy Young won at least 15 games 18 times, but did so 15 years in a row….second to Maddux.
Wednesday’s final home game against the Pirates will be the last time we see Wrigley Field in its current state. The bleacher expansion project will begin soon and the Cubs are saying the renovations will be complete by Opening Day 2006. Hopefully the change of Wrigley will bring about a change in Wrigley.
Hopefully the Cubs can put together a successful last week of the season. What I am looking for is .500 and a third place finish. Can they do that? I hope so…
Just because the season is almost over does not mean I will stop talking about the Cubbies. I have A LOT PLANNED in the offseason, including an entirely different web address, look and name. I will be reviewing the 2005 team, who I think will stay and go, potential free agents, breaking news, rumors and EVERYTHING NORTHSIDE BLUE for the CUBS FAITHFUL.
Next year starts in a week and the pitchers and catchers will be reporting to Spring Training before you know it. Don’t be left out in the cold….2006 is the Year the Cubs get their Series Fix!!!