The Second Half Begins: Cubs vs. Phillies Preview, Thursday 7/15, 7:05 CT

My friend Mike sent me an email the other day which sums up, I think, how many of us feel about the second half of this baseball season:

I still, even after thousands of games, almost fifty years, and bonding to the most exasperating team in sports, remain eager for the next one.

I couldn't have said it better. No matter how poorly the Cubs play, I always look forward to seeing them play, because I love baseball.

The Cubs have announced an effort to raise money to help Gulf Coast relief efforts in the wake of the oil spill. From the press release:

Chicago Cubs Charities and Ryan Theriot have teamed up to create a "Mystery Ball" sale at Wrigley Field, with proceeds going to benefit the National Wildlife Federation in support of its Gulf Coast relief efforts. Fans can participate at Wrigley Field when the Cubs face the Houston Astros on Tuesday, July 20. Sales will take place in front of the Wrigley Field gates, so those without a ticket can also purchase a Mystery Ball or make a contribution.

Each Cubs player, manager Lou Piniella, "Mr. Cub" Ernie Banks and select Cubs alumni have autographed baseballs for the evening. More than 1,000 baseballs will be sold. Each signed baseball will be placed in a brown bag and distributed randomly to Wrigley Field’s entrance gates. Fans can purchase a mystery ball for $20, with proceeds benefitting Chicago Cubs Charities and the National Wildlife Federation.

Tonight's lineup via tweet from Carrie:

#Cubs lineup for Thursday vs #Phillies 2B Riot, RF Colvin, 1B Lee, CF Byrd, 3B Ramy, LF Sori, C Soto, SS Castro, P Dempster
Today's Starting Pitchers
Ryan Dempster
Ryan Dempster
vs. Jamie Moyer
Jamie Moyer
7-7 W-L 9-8
3.61 ERA 4.51
120 SO 62
43 BB 20
16 HR 18
vs. Phi -- vs. Cubs

2010 - Ryan Dempster 7-7 19 18 1 0 0 0 122.0 103 53 49 16 43 120 3.61 1.20

2010 - Jamie Moyer 9-8 17 17 2 1 0 0 107.2 96 58 54 18 20 62 4.51 1.08

You've heard all the jokes and comments about how old Jamie Moyer is and how long he's been around, so I'll spare you those this time. Moyer's last start vs. the Cubs was on July 22, 2009 in Philadelphia, and the Cubs cuffed him around pretty good; it was the only game they won in that series. Lifetime, he's 3-2, 4.27 in eight starts vs. the Cubs, pretty close to his career averages. Alfonso Soriano has homered four times off him in 56 career AB.

Here's one interesting stat. Moyer has started 626 games in his career (684 total appearances) and Ryan Dempster has started 244 games and made 474 total appearances. They have never faced each other as starters and only pitched in the same game twice -- August 22, 2006, which was Moyer's first game as a Phillie, and August 1, 2007.

Dempster has started one game vs. the Phillies in each of the years (2008 and 2009) since he returned to fulltime starting. Neither went well; he has a loss and a ND in those games. Current Phillies are hitting .232 (23-for-99) against Dempster.

Today's game is on WCIU -- thus not available outside Chicago as usual. It's on myPHI17 from Philadelphia; I don't know if Extra Innings picks up either of those feeds. Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Phillies site The Good Phight.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 7 pm CDT, and the overflows will post at 8 pm, 9 pm and 9:45 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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