Game One Hundred Forty-Nine: Cubs (90-58) vs. Brewers (83-67)
Game Time – 7:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 188
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Ryan Dempster (15-6, 3.02/1.21) vs. CC Sabathia (15-8, 2.81/1.31 – 9-0, 1.59/1.01)
Lou Piniella’s crew opens the last homestand of the season tonight with the first of three against the Milwaukee Brewers. Ryan Dempster will have the task of facing the Brewers for the first time under new manager Dale Sveum. Doug Melvin (Brewers’ GM) and Mark Attanasio (Brewers’ owner) shocked the baseball world on Monday by firing Ned Yost….with only 12 games remaining in the season and the Brewers in the thick of the playoff picture. Despite being swept in a 4-game series by the Phillies over the weekend, the Brewers enter play tonight tied with the Philadelphia for the NL Wild Card and 8 back of the Cubs (9 in the loss column), with half of their games left against the team they are chasing.
The move by the Brewers’ front office on Monday was described more than once as being desperate and the Cubs will face either a fired up team on a mission tonight or a flat team that is waiting for the shoe to fall once again. The Brewers always play their best against the Cubs, especially at Wrigley Field….the Brewers have won 4 of 6 at the Friendly Confines this season and the Cubs are 6-4 against Milwaukee this year with 6 games left on the schedule.
Maybe the comments from Salomon Torres will be used as billboard material in the old clubhouse…. Ryan Dempster pitched good enough to win his last outing against the Cardinals but for the second start in a row he did not receive any run support. The Cubs were 4-0 in Dempster’s four previous starts (3-0 for Dempster) but the Cubs offense has given him only 3 runs of support while Dempster has allowed 6 runs on 15 hits in 14 innings with 5 walks and 13 strikeouts (0-1). Dempster has not posted a win since August 23rd to no fault of his own. After going 3-1 in 5 starts in August with a 3.19 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP, Dempster is 0-1 in his last 2 starts with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP. Dempster must cut down on his free passes tonight against the dangerous Brewers offense.
Tonight will be Dempster’s fourth start of the season against the Brewers. He is 3-0 with a 2.37 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP. Dempster pitched the third game of the series in Milwaukee at the end of July and allowed 1 run on 5 hits in 7 innings with a walk and 9 strikeouts.
A similar performance by Dempster will be needed in order to fend off a very desperate Brewers’ team.
- Ryan Braun – 2-for-11 with a double
- Mike Cameron – 3-for-13
- Craig Counsell – 1-for-10
- Ray Durham – 6-for-11 with 3 doubles
- Prince Fielder – 2-for-11
- Bill Hall – 3-for-18
- J.J. Hardy – 0-for-13
- Corey Hart – 0-for-9 with 3 walks
- Jason Kendall – 14-for-32 with 2 doubles and 5 walks
- Mike Lamb – 1-for-7 with a triple
- Mike Rivera – 1-for-3 with a home run
- Rickie Weeks – 2-for-9
The Cubs will get their second look of the season at CC Sabathia in a Brewers’ uniform. Alfonso Soriano set the tone in Milwaukee in the first game of the series with a lead off double and a home run in his first two at bats. It will be interesting to see how Sabathia goes after Soriano tonight.
Sabathia has been just short of perfect for the Brewers and has not lost a game since coming over from Cleveland. The Cubs and the Reds have come the closest to handing him his first loss in the Senior Circuit. But like the Cubs bullpen, the Reds relievers were unable to hold a lead and Sabathia received a no decision in his last start.
Sabathia gave up 3 runs on 8 hits in 7 innings to the Reds (a 3-run homer by Jerry Hairston, Jr.) with a walk and 8 strikeouts. Sabathia has not posted a win since August 31st but Milwaukee is 12-1 in his 13 starts in a Brewers’ uniform….the only loss, to the Cubs on July 28th.
The Cubs must be patient against Sabathia tonight and make him work in his first career start at Wrigley Field.
After posting a 4-0 record in 6 starts with 3 complete games in July (2.27 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP), Sabathia was 5-0 in 6 starts with 3 complete games in August (1.12 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP) but could be showing signs of fatigue. One of the favorites to win the NL Cy Young Award this season does not have a record in 2 starts this month with a 2.57 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP with a .245 OBA….his worst line since April.
- Henry Blanco – 2-for-5 with a walk
- Ronny Cedeno – 1-for-5
- Mark DeRosa – 2-for-6
- Jim Edmonds – 1-for-4 with 2 walks
- Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-1
- Reed Johnson – 8-for-24 with 2 doubles and a home run
- Derrek Lee – 2-for-4
- Aramis Ramirez – 3-for-10 with a walk
- Alfonso Soriano – 10-for-29 with a double, 4 home runs and 5 walks
- Geovany Soto – 1-for-2 with a walk
- Ryan Theriot – 1-for-3
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….