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11 Wins To Glory: NLDS Game #1, Cubs vs. Dodgers, Wednesday 10/1, 5:30 CT

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Los Angeles Dodgers
@ Chicago Cubs

Wednesday, Oct 1, 2008, 5:37 PM CDT
Wrigley Field

Derek Lowe vs Ryan Dempster

Complete Coverage >

This is what we live for, what we wait for, what all teams work hard from the beginning of spring training till now for -- the chance for postseason triumph. Of all the preview articles written, I particularly liked Bruce Miles' piece on the confidence this team has in itself. The best quote is what Lou said yesterday:"Look, the time for talking is over," Piniella said. "The time to get on the field and perform starts tomorrow. Our club is confident, as I'm sure the Dodgers are, and we're going to go out and play as well as we can, as hard as we can, for as long as we can.

"And that's it. We know what everybody in the city wants, and we're going to try to give it to them."

Absolutely. Get it done, guys.

Now, before you do anything else, go look at the brand-spanking-new SB Nation Postseason Portal. It's all the postseason posts from the SBN blogs involved in the postseason, well organized and looking real spiffy. Consider this your one-stop page for playoff info.

Oh, and give our friends at True Blue LA a visit. They seem a little lonely over there. I also wanted to give a shout-out to my friend Rob McMillin's Angels/Dodgers site, 6-4-2, where he covers both LA teams (with a bit more Angels coverage as he's an Angels fan). Rob's wife Helen, an occasional poster here, is a huge Cubs fan.

Go Geo Go!

Today's Starting Pitchers
Ryan Dempster
R. Dempster
vs. Derek Lowe

17-6 W-L 14-11
2.96 ERA 3.24
187 SO 147
76 BB 45
14 HR 14
vs. LA -- vs. Cubs

2008 - Ryan Dempster 17-6 33 33 1 0 0 0 206.2 174 75 68 14 76 187 2.96 1.21

2008 - Derek Lowe 14-11 34 34 1 0 0 0 211.0 194 84 76 14 45 147 3.24 1.13

Derek Lowe's tough, no question about it. The mass media will tell you that he has been 5-1, 0.89 in his last eight starts. What they won't tell you is that those starts were against Colorado, Washington, Arizona (twice), San Diego, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco (twice) -- not exactly the class of the league. Since June 24, when he lost to the White Sox, he has made 17 starts -- nine against Really Crappy Teams, four against the mediocre Diamondbacks, and four against good teams: the Angels, the Cardinals, the Phillies and the Brewers. In the four starts against Good Teams, Lowe was 1-2 with a 5.04 ERA. Point: if the Cubs' offense is on tonight, they can beat him. He's 1-0 in two starts vs. the Cubs this year with a 1.93 ERA. D-Lee is the guy who likes hitting him best: 11-for-28 (.393) with a homer.

Ryan Dempster has been every bit as good as Lowe this year; he's even kept his walks and homers allowed down, something I don't think any of us expected. That's been the key to his success: throwing strikes and staying ahead of hitters. Dempster, in 33 starts, had only one that can really be termed "bad" -- the blowout by the White Sox on June 27. He is 1-0, 2.92 vs. the Dodgers this year in two starts. Juan Pierre, of all people, hits him well (5-for-12, .417 with a double). Andre Ethier is 5-for-11 and hit a soul-crushing homer off Dempster last year to win a game for the Dodgers -- but that was when Dempster was closing. This year, Ethier is 2-for-6 (both doubles) against Dempster.

Let's go Cubs!

Tonight's game is on TBS, unfortunately. For those of you who can sync your feeds to a radio broadcast, I'd recommend it. Gameday game preview

Once again, a reminder that you can find the overflow comment threads, including the first pitch thread, on the right sidebar of both the front page and any interior page in the box headed "RECENT STORIES IN GAME THREADS". Because I am expecting a lot of activity in the game threads today, I am posting the First Pitch Thread as usual at 5:30. Then overflow threads will post every 45 minutes after that, at 6:15, 7:00, 7:45 and 8:30... four of them. I figure that should be enough; if not, or if there are extra innings, someone (ONE PERSON, PLEASE!) feel free to open another one on the FanPost bar.

One final note on the game threads tonight. Playoff baseball can be very intense, with every play magnified. Please try to be nice to each other. Thanks.

Discuss amongst yourselves.