The box above usually has weather conditions; for some reason today's doesn't, so here's the weather forecast for today, the best of the weekend:Today: Sunny, with a high near 81. Breezy, with a west wind between 10 and 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. A strong west wind will blow out to right field. The Cubs will start as many LH hitters as possible -- and seriously, will they give Geovany Soto a day off? He's caught 12 games in a row and hasn't had a day off since June 14.
Attendance watch: yesterday's crowd of 41,555 (which might have been larger if not for the early-morning rains) brought the season total to 1,947,461, an average of 40,572, which now ranks sixth among all teams. A similar crowd today will bring the total to about 11,000 short of two million.
ESPN.com's Jonah Keri has a midseason review of the NL, comparing each team's performance to a member of the 1984 Cubs. Good summary and comparison, though I think Richie Hebner deserved better than the Padres comparison (a bit of a stretch with the "gravedigger" analogy).
Kerry Wood's blister will prevent him from pitching in the All-Star Game, which means of the seven Cub All-Stars, three of them won't play -- Wood, the injured Alfonso Soriano, and today's starter, Ryan Dempster.
|Today's Starting Pitchers|
|2008 - Ryan Dempster||10-3||19||19||1||0||0||0||118.0||90||48||41||11||47||98||3.13||1.16|
|2008 - Tim Lincecum||10-2||19||18||0||0||0||0||121.2||109||40||36||7||46||126||2.66||1.27|
The Cubs actually did OK vs. Lincecum on July 3 in San Francisco -- scoring three runs in six innings. When he left the game the Cubs trailed only 4-3; the bullpen gave the rest away. The key with Lincecum -- who appears to, illegally, come off the rubber before he throws his pitches -- is to wait him out and try to get on base via walk, making him throw more pitches and getting him out of there and into that bad Giants bullpen.
One of Ryan Dempster's better recent games was the day before that one, July 2 in San Francisco; he threw six innings, allowing five hits and two runs. Carlos Marmol had a bad game that night, but the Cubs came back and won. John Bowker homered off Dempster that night; he is the only current Giant to have a HR off Dempster.
Today's game is on WGN -- at last, one in this series that all of you can see. It's also on CSN Bay Area and at the MLB.com Mediacenter.
MLB.com Gameday (2007 version)
MLB.com Gameday (2008 version)
Today's first pitch thread will post at 1:15 pm CT and the overflow comment threads will post at 2:30 pm and 3:30 pm CT.
Discuss amongst yourselves.