Chicago Cubs vs. Colorado Rockies Preview, Sunday 4/17, 2:10 CT: An Open Letter To Mike Quade

Can't get enough Starlin: Shortstop Starlin Castro of the Chicago Cubs takes an at bat as he went 4 for 5 against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on April 16, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Cubs defeated the Rockies 8-3. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Dear Mike Quade, manager of the Chicago Cubs:

Your starting pitcher today, Ryan Dempster, is a great guy. He works hard, will do just about anything to help his team win, and he's hilarious; his spot-on imitation of Harry Caray can probably loosen up your entire clubhouse.

However, I wish to call your attention to the following numbers produced by Dempster in his first three starts this season.

In the first six innings of his starts, Dempster has allowed a total of nine earned runs. That's a 4.50 ERA, not great, but that would have given him three quality starts and at least a decent shot at winning all three games.

In the seventh inning of his starts so far this year, Dempster has allowed five earned runs and three of the four home runs he's given up. That's an ERA of 22.50 for that inning (since he hasn't even completed the seventh in two of the three outings).

Does this tell you something, Mike? Is it as obvious to you as it is to me? Get Dempster out of there when he doesn't appear to have anything left! The Cubs could have won all three of those games; instead, the team (and Dempster) is 1-2 in those three starts.

We'll all be happier if you follow that simple rule, instead of letting him stay in when he's clearly gassed.

Thanks, and Go Cubs!

Al

Cubs lineup:

Castro SS, Barney 2B, Byrd CF, Ramirez 3B, Pena 1B, Soriano LF, Fukudome RF, Soto C, Dempster P

Rockies lineup:

Fowler CF, Herrera 2B, Gonzalez LF, Tulowitzki SS, Helton 1B, Smith RF, Lopez 3B, Morales C, Johnson P

Hmmm. Tulo was supposed to get today off. Guess he didn't want it.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Ryan Dempster
Ryan Dempster
Cubs
vs. Alan Johnson
Alan Johnson
Rockies
1-2 W-L making
6.30 ERA his
22 SO major
7 BB league
4 HR debut
vs. Col -- vs. Cubs

As noted above, three of the four home runs allowed by Ryan Dempster so far this year have been in the seventh inning. Perhaps today, Mike Quade will keep a tighter rein on him. One thing I can tell you is that in the two starts Dempster has made in Denver since he returned to the Cubs rotation (one in 2009, one in 2010), he's allowed only two home runs in 10 innings (although the overall runs he's allowed there give him a 6.30 ERA in those two starts, same as his 2011 season ERA to date). Todd Helton, who will start at 1B for Colorado today, is 9-for-21 with three HR and five walks off Dempster.

Alan Johnson is 27, a minor league veteran who hasn't posted an ERA under 5 since 2007, and after 148 minor league starts hasn't even rated a September callup. He is making his major league debut today. You all know how the Cubs do against pitchers like this. Clearly, we are doomed.

Today's game is again on WGN and ROOT Sports, the newly-named Denver sports channel. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Rockies site Purple Row.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 2 p.m. CDT and the overflow threads will post at 3 pm, 4 pm and 4:45 pm CDT. If you need more overflows due to rain delays or extra innings, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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