That headline isn't entirely true -- the Cubs will visit San Francisco for four games in September -- but if you blink, you might miss the Giants' only visit to Wrigley Field in 2009 (barring an unlikely postseason meeting), because between 7 pm tonight and about 4 pm tomorrow, the two teams will play both the 2009 scheduled games in Chicago.
This is fortuitous timing for the Cubs, because the Giants have apparently not yet learned how to win on the road this year. They are 10-4 at home, but only 2-7 in 2009 road games thus far; this is their first road foray outside the NL West. They were swept in San Diego and Los Angeles, and won two of three in Arizona.
And, the Cubs will apparently have an extra position player for a few days -- as Z appears headed to the DL after yesterday's hamstring pull (please. Enough discussion. It's done, let's hope he heals in 15 days), Bobby Scales will be recalled, until Friday, when Z's turn comes up again. At that time Randy Wells will likely be brought up to start vs. the Brewers. None of this is official yet, but it likely will be soon. As of now here's the only online link to this info.
There's an interesting anecdote told about Fergie Jenkins by his longtime teammate Billy Williams in Dan McGrath's article on yesterday's festivities:
"We were in Pittsburgh once and I took him fishing, up near Arnold Palmer country," Williams said. "We were out all day and got back just in time to catch the bus to the ballpark. I said to Fergie, 'Who's pitching tonight?' and he said, 'I am' ... and he went out and pitched a three-hitter."
In his book "Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Legends", Rob traces many of these stories to find out whether they really happened the way the players said they did. Some did... and some didn't. (The book is fun -- highly recommended.) Anyway, I went and checked all of Fergie's starts in Pittsburgh while he and Billy were teammates. There are two possible games that come close to Billy's description of "a three-hitter". The first is this ten-inning, six-hit CG, a 2-1 Cubs win on July 15, 1968. The other is this one on September 7, 1970, a five-hitter that the Cubs won 9-2. The only problem is, that was Labor Day, and the game was the second game of a doubleheader. In those days, the Pirates scheduled morning doubleheaders on holidays that started at 10:30 am... so there's no way Fergie and Billy could have gone fishing before the game. (Billy played in both games.)
So July 15, 1968 is the likely day for Billy and Fergie's fishing trip. The game wasn't quite the way Billy remembered it, but Fergie did pitch brilliantly that night. (I checked. July 15, 1968 was, in fact, a night game at Pittsburgh.)
|Today's Starting Pitchers|
|2009 - Ryan Dempster||1-1||5||5||0||0||0||0||30.0||29||18||18||4||14||25||5.40||1.43|
|2009 - Jonathan Sanchez||1-1||4||3||0||0||0||0||17.1||10||7||5||2||12||17||2.60||1.27|
Because the Cubs so rarely play the Giants, Jonathan Sanchez has only one career appearance against them -- an inning in relief in a 9-8 Cubs win on July 19, 2007. He walked Mike Fontenot in that inning. Sanchez has pitched well so far this year, but is only 1-1 despite his 2.60 ERA; the Giants have scored only 13 runs in his four starts.
Ryan Dempster has never defeated the Giants as a starting pitcher. However, all of the losses but one were in his previous incarnation as a starter with the Marlins and Reds; he started against them twice last year, getting a no-decision in a 6-5 Cubs win on July 2 at San Francisco and taking the loss at Wrigley Field on July 13 vs. Tim Lincecum. Edgar Renteria is the Giant who hits him best -- 6-for-19 (.316) with 2 homers and four walks. Dempster has to keep his walks down if he is going to get back to his 2008 performance level.
For the second time in a week, only Chicago-area viewers (and those on EI outside Bud's Blackout Areas) will be able to see the WCIU telecast. Reports from the field on whether you can see this game outside of metropolitan Chicago are again appreciated. For more games today see the MLB.com Mediacenter.
Baseball-reference.com game preview
For views from Giants fans, please visit our SB Nation Giants site, McCovey Chronicles.
Overflow comment threads will post today at 8 pm, 9 pm and 9:45 pm CDT.
Discuss amongst yourselves.