Game 144 Thread / Cubs @ Cardinals (1 of 3)
|SP||Ryan Dempster||SP||Kyle Lohse|
|15-6, 2.99, 167 K, 72 BB, 183.2 IP||13-6, 3.76, 106 K, 44 BB, 182 IP|
|LF||Alfonso Soriano||CF||*Skip Schumaker|
|2B||*Mike Fontenot||3B||Troy Glaus|
|1B||Derrek Lee||1B||Albert Pujols|
|3B||Aramis Ramirez||RF||Ryan Ludwick|
|RF||Mark DeRosa||LF||*Rick Ankiel|
|CF||*Jim Edmonds||C||Yadier Molina|
|C||Geovany Soto||2B||#Felipe Lopez|
|SS||Ronny Cedeno||P||Kyle Lohse|
|P||Ryan Dempster||SS||Cesar Izturis|
The Cubs and the Cardinals meet in the first of three at Busch and the first of six matchups between now and the end of the season. The Cubs lead the season series, 5-4, and have won 10 of their last 15 in St. Louis.
Dempster won his only start this year against the Cardinals, allowing 2 ER over 6 2/3 in a 6-2 Cub victory in early August. Lohse is 0-1, 6.92 in a pair of starts this season vs. the Cubs, but is otherwise having a fine year, producing more ground balls, yielding fewer long balls, and allowing fewer walks than at virtually any other point in his MLB career.
By Baseball Prospectus's reckoning, the Cubs, 4 1/2 games up on Milwaukee, enter play with an 88.8% likelihood of winning the division, 10.3% chance of winning the Wild Card, and a 99.1% overall likelihood of reaching the post-season. The Cardinals, 9 games back of the Cubs and 4 1/2 behind the Wild Card-leading Brewers, come in at .2% / 4.5% / 4.7%. In other words, deprived of greater glory, Cardinal fans may realize no more significant joy in these last few weeks than seeing their heroes get in the way of a Cubs celebration.
Every time the Cubs and Cards meet and I enter the batting orders, I stumble as I remember to enter the St. Louis pitcher in the eighth spot. That led me to look up a few team season stats. First, what kind of production the Cubs and Cardinals are getting from their respective #8 hitters:
|Cubs 8th-place hitters||.300||.362||.442||804||12||79|
|Cards 8th-place hitters||.196||.247||.292||539||8||51|
Then from the #9 hole:
|Cubs 9th-place hitters||.231||.271||.340||611||10||60|
|Cards 9th-place hitters||.266||.322||.323||645||2||34|
The Cubs' #8 numbers have been helped by the fine season they have received from Reed Johnson. The Cubs #9 numbers reflect an offensively outstanding pitching staff (thank you, Carlos Zambrano!), one that's 105 OPS points better than the next best-hitting group of pitchers, which happens to belong to St. Louis.
And the Cardinals' production from the 9th place? That right there is what you call the handiwork of a former Chicago Cub, one Cesar Izturis.
Rob G: Just a little roster note that Felix Pie and Randy Wells will be joining the team. To make room for Wells on the roster, the Cubs have moved Jon Lieber to the 60-day DL.