Game One Hundred Fifty-Six – Cubs 2 Reds 3
The Cubs were ahead 2-1 when Ryan Dempster took the ball to start the bottom of the 9th. Dempster proceeded to give up a leadoff double to Todd Hollandsworth, Ray Olmedo pinch ran for him and later scored after two wild pitches by Dempster. Dempster then gave up back-to-back singles to Chris Denorfia and Scott Hatteberg, which put runners on 1st and 3rd with 1 out. Dempster intentionally walked Rich Aurilia to load the bases, Dusty went to the pen for Scott Eyre and Eyre gave up the winning hit to pinch hitter Royce Clayton, a single to left to score Denorfia.
The loss on Sunday was the 9th of the year by Ryan Dempster, coincidentally his 9th blown save of the season as well. The Cubs could not get their offense going against Aaron Harang who picked up the win despite being down 2-1 when he left the mound. Juan Mateo was very effective although he did have command trouble, at one time he had thrown as many balls as strikes but he gave the Cubs 5 strong innings and put his team in a position to win the game. The bullpen did a fine job, again, with the exception of Dempster. The Cubs could not manage much offense until the 9th inning against Harang and did not walk a single time on the day. The Cubs only recorded 3 hits before the 9th and left the bases loaded with what turned out to be very valuable runs. Aramis Ramirez hit his 37th home run of the season in the 4th inning, a new career high, and Buck Coats hit his first career home run in the 8th to give the Cubs the lead. In the 9th Freddie Bynum led off the inning with a single, stole 2nd and was thrown out on a horrible base running play. Murton grounded back to Harang and they eventually ran down Bynum for the out. Ryan Theriot pinch hit for Howry and singled to left. Blanco followed with another single to left to load the bases and Buck Coats grounded out to 3rd on a very good play by Edwin Encarnacion. Bynum’s blunder cost the Cubs….but that is nothing new.
Is there something wrong with Ryan Dempster? Or as he just come back to reality? Dempster was very effective in 2005 in the closer’s role but it was never “pretty”, he was always in trouble and does not posses that “knockout” pitch that a successful closer does. Dempster looks very uncomfortable every time he takes the mound, no matter the lead. Chances are the Cubs will leave Mesa with him as their closer next season but he will have to have a very short leash with the way he has performed this season.
Sunday’s game was a very good pitcher’s duel. Harang was tremendous; he made just two mistakes. The Cubs allowed him to settle in and did not make him work. He threw 110 pitches, 87 for strikes, struck out 9 and did not give up a free pass. The 6 Cubs pitchers on the other hand threw 164, 96 for strikes, struck out 10 and walked 6. Dempster threw 24 pitches….only 11 strikes. The amount of pitches this entire staff throws and the amount of walks they allow must change next season. Larry Rothschild must follow Dusty Baker out of town….PERIOD!!!!
Wade Miller is scheduled to start the last road game of the season against Bronson Arroyo, hopefully the Cubs can plate some runs against the former Red Sox.