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Salvaging A Game And Some Pride: Cubs vs. Phillies Preview, Thursday 8/13, 1:20 CT

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Usually, I'll post a photo from the previous day's game in the game preview. However, the available photos from last night are pretty much all Phillies. There were a lot of photos of Pedro Martinez available, but you guys don't really want to look at him any more, do you? (I'm sure the Cubs don't.)

So, let's move on. One of the best things about baseball is that no matter how badly you look and how badly you are defeated on one day, there's generally a game the very next day where you can play better and make up the ground you lost the day before.

Bruce Miles has some notes about the Cubs' BABIP this year, which suggests they have been hitting with some bad luck:

One of our readers yesterday talked about the line-drive percentage of Cubs batters. Here are the top five Cubs, along with their batting average on balls in play (BABIP). The Cubs enter today third in line-drive percentage, at 19.8. Their BABIP is .296, 22nd best in baseball. That could suggest the Cubs have hit into some bad luck.

The question is: can such things change in the course of 50 remaining games in a season? Or does it take the turn of the calendar for this to happen? Bruce also tells us the Cubs are still working on fixing Carlos Marmol. I thought it was instructive that coming in last night with a nine-run deficit, Marmol threw just fine (an uneventful 1-2-3 inning with nine strikes in 12 pitches). Could he be getting too amped up for setup situations?

Today's Starting Pitchers
Ryan Dempster
Ryan Dempster
Cubs
vs. Cliff Lee
Cliff Lee
Phillies
6-5 W-L 9-9
4.04 ERA 2.95
99 SO 122
48 BB 36
15 HR 10
vs. Phi -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Ryan Dempster 6-5 20 20 0 0 0 0 122.2 122 64 55 15 48 99 4.04 1.39

NOTE: Lee's numbers below reflect his two starts with the Phillies only. See above for his season totals.


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Cliff Lee 2-0 2 2 1 0 0 0 16.0 10 2 2 0 3 15 1.13 .81

Cliff Lee started against the Cubs on June 19 at Wrigley Field. He left after seven innings having allowed three runs, including solo homers by Derrek Lee and Reed Johnson. The Indians lost the game in extra innings after a massive bullpen meltdown. That's not likely to happen today, of course. In addition to Lee and Johnson, Aramis Ramirez, Milton Bradley and Alfonso Soriano have all homered off Lee in their careers.

Ryan Dempster has a 4.76 career ERA vs. the Phillies, but a lot of that was piled up when his elbow was hanging on by a thread in his Marlins and Reds days. He missed the series in Philadelphia last month and his last start vs. the Phillies was almost a year ago, August 28, 2008, when he gave up four runs in six innings but the Cubs won on A-Ram's grand slam. Matt Stairs, oddly enough, is the Phillie who hits him best -- 4-for-7 with three homers.

Perhaps non-national exposure will help. Cable-only today on CSN, both the Chicago and Philly versions. For other games today see the MLB.com Mediacenter.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Phillies site The Good Phight.

Overflow comment threads will post today at 2:15 pm, 3:15 pm and 4 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.