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Cubs 9-2 In Dempster’s Last 11 Starts

By bullpenbrian - July 16, 2011 - 2:05 am Leave a comment.

One of Dempster’s best outings of the season–period. Eight innings, nine punchouts, no walks…and no way Demps was letting Quade pull him early this time!

Surprisingly, the Cubs won the game without plating a single RBI, which is just another weird turn in this frustrating season.

Marmol, obviously, is a mess. He can’t find the strike zone or the touch on his slider. He’s been way too predictable with his pitch selection and the Marlins have made it look easy against him, and we know that’s not the case when Marmol is right.

I have no qualms with Q’s decision to pitch Marmol after Thursday’s meltdown. It’s text book to throw a closer the day following a blown save. This time, however, Quade had Marshall ready in the bullpen, and that was the game saver.

If there’s any good news coming from Marmol’s recent slump it’s that the problems appear mechanical/mental and not physical, which keeps Marmol a valuable trade piece.

What Marlon Byrd brings to this club can not be overstated. His professionalism, his attitude, his moxy…all of it a dynamic the Cubs sorely missed during his injury. Byrd’s heads-up play to gun down Hanley Ramirez at second base in the ninth inning was sensational.

I don’t suspect there’s much of a trade market for Byrd, but I’d be happy to see the Cubs keep him through next season. The guy’s a winner, which is exactly what this roster needs more of. Byrd’s a keeper.


Jim Hendry is turning the Cubs rotation into Ellis Island by bringing the poor, tired, and huddled masses of washed-up hurlers the likes of: Doug Davis, Braden Looper, Todd Wellemeyer, Rodrigo Lopez, Ramon Ortiz and now…Dave Bush.

2011 – Tex 0-1   5.79 ERA
2010 – Mil 8-13  4.54 ERA
2009 – Mil 5-9   6.38 ERA
2008 – Mil 9-10  4.18 ERA
2007 – Mil 12-10 5.12 ERA
2006 – Mil 12-11 4.41 ERA
2005 – Tor 5-11  4.49 ERA
2004 – Tor 5-4   3.69 ERA


The Pirates, for the first time since 1997, lead the NL Central. And that begs the question: are the Peg Legs that good, or the division simply that bad? I’m leaning towards the later, but rooting for Pittsburgh to win this division anyway!


Dempster & Quade Hug It Out?

By bullpenbrian - July 10, 2011 - 1:08 am Leave a comment.

Was Quade’s quick hook of Dempster stemming from all the pitching injuries the Cubs have suffered this year?

Or was Quade simply looking out for Demps given he just missed a scheduled start due to illness and lower back soreness?

I can’t ever remember seeing such an animated outburst from Dempster. But it’s not surprising given the team’s record of 17-games below .500.

That’s a recipe for boiling frustrations and quick tempers–regardless of pitch counts.


Ryan Dempster Game Score 76

By bullpenbrian - June 30, 2011 - 1:42 am Leave a comment.

Ryan Dempster was simply outstanding in the Cubs 2-1 win vs. San Fran. Wednesday night.

The right-hander pounded the zone needing just 83 pitches, 59 for strikes, in eight-plus innings of work. Solid!

According to Game Score, a Bill James statistic cooked up 25 years ago that gauges the quality of a start from a pitcher’s stat line, Demps registered a 76.

To put that in perspective, less than 50 pitchers have scored 80 or more all season. And had it not been for a bloop single by Pat Burrell in the ninth, Dempster likely breaks the 80-mark.


Where’s The Cubs’ Ace?

By bullpenbrian - April 24, 2011 - 12:01 am 1 comment.

Will the real Ryan Dempster please stand up.

Where has our ace pitcher gone? What’s happened since his terrific spring? Is there something wrong with Demps?

Only Ryan knows if he’s healthy, of course, but I figure he’s wondering the same things we are about his first five starts this season.

Dempster entered Saturday’s game riding a four-game winning streak against L.A…a run in which he’s gone (4-0) with a 1.05 ERA…surrendering just one unearned run in his last three starts vs. the Dodgers.

But Saturday he gets blown up for seven runs on nine hits in 5.2 innings. That, unfortunately, has been the norm in 2011–five starts, one win and a 7.63 ERA.

-Dempster has allowed no less than four earned runs in each start.
-His other outings included earned runs of 5, 6 & 7.  
-He’s lasted seven innings just once.
-In six spring starts he allowed more than 2 earned runs just once.

Obviously, Dempster’s ugly start is bad, bad news for our Cubbies. No Wells, no Cashner…no Dempster? No chance.


Dempster Right Choice For Opening Day

By bullpenbrian - February 22, 2011 - 12:01 am 2 comments.

Mike Quade’s decision to name Ryan Dempster the Opening Day starter was an easy one. Dempster has both the talent and mental toughness it takes to be the stopper. Had it not been for the Cubs’ decision to coddle Carlos Zambrano’s fragile mentality, Dempster would have been the Opening Day starter three years ago. You know it, I know it, and Quade certainly knew it standing down the third base line.

What’s important is Quade’s choice is fair and well-informed. Dempster is the best candidate, he’s earned the honor and Quade handed him the job. Such practice is sure to boost the confidence in the clubhouse. No longer are the Cubs catering to Big Z, his huge contract and poor attitude. Just another sign there’s a new sheriff in town.

Presumably, the same strategy will apply throughout the locker room. And perhaps, this will raise a few eyebrows on certain players such as Fukudome and Soriano who have lacked in production but play because their contracts say so. Under Quade, at least it appears, the best man gets the gig. Wouldn’t we all agree, it’s about time.


Cubs Need Power Arms

By bullpenbrian - November 3, 2010 - 12:01 am 3 comments.

Nine out of the last 13 World Series have lasted no more than five games. A big reason is the significance power-arms played in October.

Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain underscored the importance of such talent again this year. Despite a meager offense, the two dictated the postseason by shutting down the opponent with swing-and-miss stuff.

The Diamondbacks did it with Schilling & Johnson in 2001. Boston had Schilling and Pedro in 2004 and added Josh Beckett in 2007. The White Sox used Mark Buehrle & Jose Contreras in 2005. And Philly went with Cole Hamels & Brett Myers in 2008.

The Cubs, meanwhile, lack a true power arm, let alone a dynamic duo. Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano are good enough to win the division, but shutting down a postseason lineup is questionable.

With all the talk of signing an Adam Dunn or Carl Crawford, more attention should be paid to landing that true ace–that power-arm built for October.

Without one, the Cubs are no better off winning the title than San Fran was before the arrival of Lincecum and Cain.


To Hire Quade, That Is The Question

By bullpenbrian - September 30, 2010 - 12:01 am 1 comment.

I said Mike Quade has zero chance to manage the Cubs next season. Maybe I spoke too soon?

Ryan Dempster, who became the clubhouse’s unofficial spokesman with the departure of Derrek Lee, gave his vote of approval for Quade following Tuesday’s 5-2 win in San Diego.

“He’s done a great job and I hope that he’s here longer than just this year. I hope he’s managing for us next year because he deserves it. He’s done everything they’ve asked, and everyone in here really likes him.”

Those are powerful words given Dempster’s credibility, and should pull some weight in Quade’s direction this offseason.

Quade deserves some praise, but what do you make of a team playing without any pressure and without fear of losing a job? That, of course, is for Jim Hendry to determine.

If not guilty by association with the old regime, I’d have no problems with Quade as the next Cubs manager.
But I still feel the Cubs need a clean break from the 2010 season, and that leaves Quade out in the cold.

Hiring a higher profile candidate than Quade guarantees nothing, of course. But Jim Hendry is desperate to make a splash hiring. His pick for the 2011 manager is certain to determine his job security.

Signing Quade puts Hendry on a very short leash. He’s not the popular pick, he’s not high profile and his sample size with the big club is small.

If Quade’s success doesn’t carry over quickly next season, Wrigleyville will be in an uproar, and Hendry out the door.
Hire a Ryno or Girardi, however, and Hendry buys more time to right the ship.

It’s a tough position for the Cubs’ GM, and Dempster, although well intentioned, hasn’t made things any easier on Hendry.


Ryan Dempster Owns Milwaukee!

By bullpenbrian - September 12, 2010 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

Congrats to Big ‘D’ for career win 100!
It’s Dempster’s 50th win as a Cub.
He’s also collected 87 saves with Chicago.

Dempster (13-10) has simply owned the Brewers.
He’s (11-1) in his last 14 starts against Milwaukee.
And has strung together seven consecutive wins vs. The Brew Crew!

Ryan’s 15-career wins against Milwaukee are the most among active pitchers, tying Roy Oswalt.

Demps has also won four consecutive road starts and improved to (6-3) in his last 13 September starts since 2008.

With Ted Lilly gone, Dempster is the staff ace.
The guy should be the 2011 Opening Day starter.
He’s earned the privilege.


Ryan Dempster Talks Ted Lilly

By bullpenbrian - August 5, 2010 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

Ryan Dempster offered high praise for former teammate Ted Lilly following Wednesday’s 15-3 win against Milwaukee.

Mark it down as the Cubs’ first official sales pitch to re-sign Teddy this offseason!

“With Teddy, I always appreciated him every day for what a teammate he was, and what a competitor he was…probably more than anything.”

“I always thought I was the most competitive person out there; I never thought I would find someone more competitive than me. We pushed each other as individuals to do the best we can to help our team.”

“The 3 1/2 years I played with him were as good a time as I’ve had playing baseball. I learned as much from him as I am sure he learned from me. I probably learned more from him. It was truly an honor, not just as a baseball player, but as a human being to be around him every day. I know (the Dodgers) got someone pretty special over there,” said Dempster.


Don’t Move Dempster!

By bullpenbrian - May 26, 2010 - 1:00 am 2 comments.

Forget about Big Z replacing Dempster in the rotation. The Cubs simply can’t afford to lose Dempster’s sparkling consistency as a starter.

Tuesday night was a statement game for the right-hander. He mastered the Dodgers for eight innings: three hits, one walk, seven strikeouts & zero runs…virtually ending any speculation of a return to the bullpen.

Dempster’s lasted six or more innings in all 10 starts…allowing three or fewer runs in seven of those outings.

He’s held the opponent to four or fewer hits half the time…holding right-handed hitters to a .200 average…and lefties to a .210 mark.

Dempster’s also held opponents below the .200 mark during his third trip through the lineup.

The No. 3 & 4 hitters are a combined 9-for-56 against him.

And for good measure, he’s tied for third in the majors with eight sacrifice hits!

There is no case for moving Dempster…except to the No. 1 role! And if Zambrano wants back in the rotation, he can start by pitching like this guy.


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