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Pregame Thread: Cubs vs. White Sox, Friday 3/27, 3:05 CT

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Chicago Cubs
@ Chicago White Sox

Friday, Jun 27, 2008, 3:05 PM CDT
U.S. Cellular Field

Ryan Dempster vs Jose Contreras

Partly cloudy with a 50-percent chance of rain. Winds blowing from right to left field at 5-15 m.p.h. Game Time temperature: Around 85.

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More rain and storms -- just what we need, right? Hope they hold off till evening.Bruce Miles writes today that the "L" flag on the scoreboard may become a thing of the past:The idea behind the flags is to give passers-by on the CTA Red Line train and those in the neighborhood the result of that day's game. It's a longstanding tradition that predates the Internet, cell phones and instant access to scores.

However, there's a feeling in the organization that the "L" flag is a negative because it "shouts out" a loss.

Jayson Stark's weekly "Rumblings" column has some interesting stuff about interleague play and also this Cubs note:Speaking of [A. J.] Burnett, the most over-ballyhooed trade rumor of the year is the talk linking him to the Cubs. We haven't found any indication that the Cubs have even batted his name around. And teams that have spoken with the Cubs report that if they do make a deal for starting pitching, they wouldn't pursue just any old arm. They're looking for pitchers who can make an impact. So while they may not have enough prospect depth to pull off a trade for C.C. Sabathia, you can expect them to make an aggressive run at him if he ever becomes available. Like I said yesterday.

The MLBPA is supposedly getting involved in the Shawn Chacon incident, saying the Astros were wrong in releasing him. Hey, MLBPA, unsolicited advice: this one, you ought to stay out of.

Back to the two teams playing today: remember Ozzie Guillen's comments last week on the supposed rats at Wrigley Field? Mike found some:

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Today's Starting Pitchers
Ryan Dempster
R. Dempster
vs. Jose Contreras
J. Contreras
White Sox
9-2 W-L 6-6
2.63 ERA 3.96
85 SO 56
38 BB 26
9 HR 7
vs. Sox -- vs. Cubs

2008 - Ryan Dempster 9-2 16 16 1 0 0 0 102.2 76 37 30 9 38 85 2.63 1.11

2008 - Jose Contreras 6-6 15 15 1 0 0 0 97.2 94 45 43 7 26 56 3.96 1.23

Dave van Dyck has a really nice article on Ryan Dempster in today's Tribune, quoting Dempster on how hard he worked this past offseason and how he knew he had to do that to succeed:

Well aware that he hadn't pitched more than 92 innings in any year since 2003 in Cincinnati, Dempster hired a personal trainer and "gymed-out my garage." He would run at 7,200 feet with the trainer tugging on a harness, then work on agility drills and lift light weights to strengthen his shoulder. Five days a week he would do that, and then to "rest," he would run three miles in the mountains.

"I didn't want to come back and be an average starting pitcher," he said. "I wanted to be a better starting pitcher than I was before. And I knew, mentally, I knew, I had the opportunity to do it because of knowledge and experience, but that physically it wasn't going to be easy.

"I would be naïve and stupid if I believed I could just train a little bit and go through my normal off-season workout and then go for 200 innings. I knew I would have to work as hard as I've ever worked in my life. I knew if I would do that, I would be a [key] piece to our team."

Smart AND hardworking, and the effort has paid off in a likely All-Star selection for Dempster. He threw one of his best games of the year last Sunday against the White Sox, and was moved up to today to throw on "regular" rest. Meanwhile, the Cubs smacked Jose Contreras around pretty good last Saturday at Wrigley Field. A repeat of both performances today, please. With the 3:05 start, shadows will start creeping across the batter's box in the early innings, if it's not cloudy by then.

Today's game is on both CSN and WGN. Pay attention: CSN has Len & Bob. WGN has those Sox guys. Also see the Mediacenter. Gameday (2007 version) Gameday (2008 version) game preview

Today's first pitch thread posts at 3:00 pm CT. The overflow comment threads will post at 4:15 pm and 5:15 pm CT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.