Blog Entry

Dempster in Game 1, and more from the Cubs

Posted on: September 25, 2008 5:43 pm
Edited on: September 25, 2008 5:57 pm

Lou Piniella strongly suggested Wednesday night that Ryan Dempster would be his Game 1 starter. Today, he made it official.

Dempster, 14-3 this season at Wrigley Field, will be on the mound for the Cubs Wednesday at Wrigley, against either the Mets or the Dodgers.

"He deserves it," Piniella said. "He's been extremely consistent and reliable all season long. Plus, Games 1 and 5 are at home, so it makes all the sense in the world."

Piniella didn't name the rest of his playoff rotation.

In other Cubs news, Piniella left Derrek Lee, Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto and Aramis Ramirez out of his lineup for tonight's game against the Mets. Mark DeRosa is also out, but he's unavailable because of a calf strain.

Piniella said that the Brewers, battling the Mets in the NL wild-card race, have no reason to be upset, because the Cubs have already won two of the first three games against the Mets.

"I'm resting my team," Piniella said. "That was a long, long game (Wednesday night)."

Piniella hinted that he'll also rest many regulars Friday night in Milwaukee, but that he plans to play most of them Saturday and Sunday.

"We have two days off Monday and Tuesday," Piniella explained. "I've got to play the regulars, because I don't want to see them sit for three or four days."

That all assumes, of course, that the Cubs don't ahve to play a makeup game Monday.

There are two scenarios in which they would. Rain is coming to New York, although as of now (almost 6 p.m.) the rain still hasn't arrived. If tonight's game can't be played, it would be made up on Monday if necessary.

And then there's the third game of the Hurricane series, the one in which the Cubs and Astros played two games in Milwaukee last week. The only way that game would be played Monday in Houston is if the Astros make up three games on both the Mets and Brewers between now and Sunday.

What makes that strange, of course, is that one part of the Astros making up all those games on the Brewers is that the Cubs would have to beat the Brewers all weekend in Milwaukee. Imagine a scenario Sunday in which the Cubs could get Monday off by losing, but could force themselves into a meaningless (for them) Monday trip to Houston should they win.

What kind of lineup do you think Piniella would play that day?


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Dempster in Game 1, and more from the Cubs

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Dempster in Game 1, and more from the Cubs

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Dempster in Game 1, and more from the Cubs

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Dempster in Game 1, and more from the Cubs

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Dempster in Game 1, and more from the Cubs

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Since: Sep 12, 2006
Posted on: September 26, 2008 1:10 pm

Dempster in Game 1, and more from the Cubs

This move is nothing strange at all.  Ryan Dempster has been the Cubs best and most consistent pitcher all season long.  As a matter of fact, I believe he will finish either 3rd or 4th in the Cy Young Awards behind Tim Lincecum, Brandon Webb and maybe CC Sabathia.  He is 17-6 on the year with a 2.99 ERA and opponent batting average of .227.  At home he's even better with a 14-3 record 2.86 ERA  By comparison Carlos Zambrano's numbers are 14-6 3.91 ERA and opponents are hitting .241 against him.  At home, 7-2 3.77 ERA, .253 BA against.   

Dempster is healthy, well rested and consistent.  Yes the no-hitter by Big Z was amazing and one of the most memorable experiences as a life-long cub fan like myself has seen.  But the no-no was only 1 game and since then he has had a hard time finding the strike zone.  Yes there is more of a chance that Big Z could come out and be as unhittable as he was in Milwaukee against the Astros.  But it's just as likely he won't be able to find the strike zone.  I hope for the first scenario, not the latter.

Also, I think this is purely about matchups.  The Cubs are probably going to face either the Dodgers or the Mets in the 1st round of the playoffs, both teams have done well against Big Z this season.  The Dodgers in 2 starts are hitting .317 against Zambrano who is 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA against them, and that was before the addition of Manny Ramirez.  Against the Mets, Zambrano is 1-0 in 2 starts with a 4.63 ERA.  Dempster on the other hand is 1-0 against the Dodgers with a 2.92 ERA in 2 starts.  He hasn't faced the Mets yet this season which plays to his advantage. 

As a matter of fact, I won't be surprised if Big Z isn't called upon until game 4.  Ted Lilly in the month of September has been very good.  In 4 starts he's 3-1 with a 3.75 ERA and .190 BA against and Rich Harden has gone 5-1 with a 1.92 ERA and .149 BAA since the All-Star Break.  You have to go with the hot hand in the playoffs, and I like our chances when you have 4 starters capable of winning games for you in the postseason.

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