Help Alfonso find the ball: Alfonso Soriano of the Chicago Cubs watches as a fly ball hits the outfield wall against the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
The Giants owe the Cubs a big fat thank you for their World Series championship.
Why is this? Because in the final two weeks of the 2010 regular season, the Giants came into Wrigley Field and shut out a hot Cubs team twice (yes, "hot" -- the Cubs had won eight of their last nine and six in a row coming into that homestand on September 21). Then, the Cubs went into San Diego the following week and defeated the Padres three out of four, pretty much knocking the Padres out of playoff contention.
You're welcome, San Francisco. Now could you return the favor this weekend?
Oh, and that big word at the end of the headline? It means (loosely) "fear of the number 13". Today is Friday the 13th. Maybe that'll bring some luck to the Cubs. They'll need it against a Giants team that is riding a six-game winning streak and has allowed only 10 runs in the six games. Just for the record, the last time the Cubs won a game on Friday the 13th (a date that falls quite infrequently during the baseball season) was almost four years ago, when they defeated the Astros at Wrigley Field on Friday, June 13, 2007. (There was no Cubs game on a Friday the 13th in 2008 or 2009 and they lost to the Cardinals 6-3 on Friday, August 13, 2010.)
Castro ss, Barney 2b, Byrd cf, Baker 3b, Soriano lf, Johnson rf, Pena 1b, Hill c, Dempster p
Hill? I don't get it.
Torres cf, Sanchez 2b, Huff 1b, Posey c, Schierholtz rf, Ross lf, Fontenot ss, Tejada 3b, Bumgarner p
|Today's Starting Pitchers|
|2011 - Ryan Dempster||1-4||8||8||0||0||0||0||45.0||53||37||36||10||18||38||7.20||1.58|
|2011 - Madison Bumgarner||0-5||9||7||0||0||0||0||36.1||39||21||17||2||14||28||4.21||1.46|
Today's pitching matchup happened as one of those three games at Wrigley Field last September; it was Madison Bumgarner's first ever start against the Cubs. Bumgarner threw seven shutout innings. Dempster... didn't. He gave up nine runs in less than two innings. That isn't good. Let's hope for a reversal today; in hindsight, maybe that was a precursor of Dempster's struggles this season. Here's the boxscore from that game, if you can stand it.
The biggest problem for Dempster this year has been allowing home runs -- 10 of them in only 45 innings. Fortunately, the Giants are having almost as much trouble hitting them as the Cubs are -- they've hit 29 as a team (the Cubs have 28) and the team leader is Pat Burrell with five (tied with Pablo Sandoval, who is on the DL).
Today's game is on CSN Chicago and CSN Bay Area. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.
Today's first pitch thread will be up at 1:15 p.m. CDT and the overflow threads will post at 2:15 pm, 3:15 pm and 4 pm CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section.
Discuss amongst yourselves.