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Cubs vs. Pirates Preview, Tuesday 8/31, 7:05 CT: Shooting For Milestones

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The Cubs were looking at having one of the worst months in their history until the managerial change was made. I'm not necessarily suggesting that there's a cause-and-effect here -- although often even bad teams have a "bounce" after a new manager is put in place during a season -- but the Cubs were 5-16 in August when Mike Quade took over. A win tonight would make them 11-18 this month, still bad, but not historically so.

Ryan Dempster is going for his 100th career victory tonight. It would also be win #50 as a Cub and would give him 41 victories since he returned to the starting rotation in 2008. I know that individual starting pitcher wins don't mean what they used to, but Dempster has been a solid member of the rotation for three seasons. This year, only one part of his game hasn't been great -- he's given up 22 home runs already, equal to his total from all of last year.

A victory tonight would move the Cubs to 6-2 under Quade and end a nice month for Dempster. More on Dempster's August after the jump.

Cubs lineup via tweet from Carrie:

#Cubs lineup for Tue vs #Pirates: 2B DeWitt, SS Castro, CF Byrd, 3B Ramy, 1B Nady, LF Soriano, RF Colvin, C Hill, P Dempster

Pirates lineup via tweet from BucsInsider:

Lineup - McCutchen 8 Tabata 7 Walker 4 Jones 3 Alvarez 5 Doumit 9 Cedeno 6 Snyder 2 Karstens 1
Today's Starting Pitchers
Ryan Dempster
Ryan Dempster
Cubs
vs. Jeff Karstens
Jeff Karstens
Pirates
12-8 W-L 2-10
3.42 ERA 4.98
168 SO 65
69 BB 27
22 HR 20
vs. Pit -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Ryan Dempster 12-8 28 27 1 0 0 0 179.0 155 81 68 22 69 168 3.42 1.25


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Jeff Karstens 2-10 24 18 0 0 0 0 115.2 140 69 64 20 27 65 4.98 1.44

Jeff Karstens has pitched twice against the Cubs this year; in 12 innings he's posted a 3.00 ERA and has a loss and a no-decision. That's about as well as he's thrown all year; in August he's 0-4 with a 7.65 ERA and he gave up 11 hits in 3.1 innings in his last outing vs. the Mets. Current Cubs are hitting .409 against Karstens (27-for-66) with seven doubles, a triple and four HR, including two from Alfonso Soriano. This looks like a good hitting night for the Cubs.

Ryan Dempster has two starts vs. the Pirates this year; he's given up three runs in seven innings in each of them and struck out 16 in the 14 innings -- but lost both games because the Cubs couldn't score. Presuming they can hit like they did last night, or even close, Dempster, who is 4-0 in August with a 1.31 ERA, should reach his milestone.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago Plus (check local listings; it's CLTV in Chicago and channel 285 on Comcast in Chicago for HD) and FSN Pittsburgh. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Pirates site Bucs Dugout.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 7 pm CDT, and the overflows will post at 8 pm, 9 pm and 9:45 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.