St. Louis Cardinals
@ Chicago Cubs
Sunday, Sep 21, 2008, 1:20 PM CDT
Braden Looper vs Ryan Dempster
Partly cloudy. Winds blowing in from center field at 5-10 m.p.h. Game Time temperature: Around 70.
The Cubs' division-clinching win yesterday did one other, lesser, thing: won the season series with St. Louis (8-6 with one game left), which is always nice to do. Making it 9-6 and winning the series would be a fitting end to this home season; that would give the Cubs 55 home wins, the second-highest total since moving to Wrigley Field in 1916.
Attendance watch: if the paid crowd today is 40,351 or more (quite possible), the season attendance will reach 3.3 million.
More numbers: following are the number of games remaining in each season in which the Cubs qualified for the postseason after clinching.
1929: 101932: 51935: 31938: 11945: 21984: 51989: 41998: 02003: 12007: 22008: 8
So, this season has the most games remaining of any clinching year since 1929.
One more: four. That's Houston's elimination number, and any combination of four Cubs wins/Astros losses will ensure that the Cubs won't have to go to Houston to make up the hurricaned-out game. Incidentally, there have been many such postponed and "make up only if it has playoff implications" games over the years. I cannot remember even ONE such game that actually got played. Can any of you?
|Today's Starting Pitchers|
|2008 - Ryan Dempster||16-6||31||31||1||0||0||0||196.2||164||73||66||14||75||182||3.02||1.22|
|2008 - Braden Looper||12-13||31||31||1||1||0||0||186.0||200||93||84||24||43||96||4.06||1.31|
Braden Looper has pitched pretty well against most individual Cubs, except Geovany Soto (4-for-10, a HR) and his former teammate Jim Edmonds (2-for-7, both homers). Despite a 2.37 ERA in three starts vs. the Cubs this year, they've beaten him twice (and won the other game, where he got a no-decision).
Ryan Dempster has started only one game vs. St. Louis this year -- winning 6-2 at Wrigley Field on August 10. Albert Pujols has homered twice off him in 29 career AB, but is hitting only .276 lifetime off Dempster. Jason LaRue is 5-for-11 with a homer. Dempster will be going for his 17th win. He won't win the Cy Young Award, but might get some votes. If he can get that 17th win, it would tie him with Tim Lincecum for 2nd in the NL; his ERA currently ranks fifth, and he's seventh in K's. Most impressively, his 14 HR allowed is by far the fewest of anyone who has thrown as many innings. This is an excellent season by anyone's standards, and he has been the Cubs' most consistent starter all season.
Of course I remembered! Today's Gratuitous Geo Photo:
This is the last WGN home telecast of the year -- also on FSN Midwest. For other Sunday games see the MLB.com Mediacenter.
Baseball-reference.com game preview
As always, 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". Today's first pitch thread posts at 1:15 pm CT, and the overflow comment threads will post at 2:15, 3:15 and 4 pm CT.
Discuss amongst yourselves.