PNC Park | 7:05 | Duke vs. Ryan Dempster | Box
The Pirates have had their share of wacky games this year. And this one fits right in. Closer turned starter Ryan Dempster held the Bucs in check with one hit through seven innings. But starter turned closer Kerry Wood gave up a solo homer to Jason Bay in the 9th to put the game into OT. In the 14th, Aramis Ramirez bopped a two run homer. But Adam LaRoche matched it. Ufnortunately, in the 15th, Felix Pie drove home two runs with a single. Ballgame.
Moral victories are for two kinds of people:
2. Clubs that have not had a winning year in over 12 years
Reality is, this team fought back twice in the same night to keep on playing and I don’t know that such a thing would’ve happened in previous seasons.
Dempster’s performance caught me off guard. If you had asked me to bet on either Dempster keeping the Bucs to one hit over seven or Xavier Nady hitting three homers, I would’ve placed my cash on X-Man.
Thankfully, Zach Duke was exceptional. He struck out six – better than any 2007 game and bested only three times in his whole career (including twice in his first two starts) – and walked one in seven innings while allowing 8 hits and one run. It is good to see a sign of life from him. Perhaps all that tweaking from Jim Colborn is paying off.
Here’s a question for Pittsburgh area residents: do any of radio stations that carry the Pirates stream their broadcast over the internet? I’ve yet to find one. 104.7 was doing talk radio re-runs tonight during the game. It is a bit frustrating.
Starter – turned reliever – turned starter again Ryan Dempster goes for the Cubbies. He won his initial start of 2008, looking sharp over six innings of work.
Prior to his start earlier this year, Dempster had not started since the opening month of 2005. He made six starts before becoming the Cubs closer. His last win as a starter was against the Pirates on 4/16/05. That was so long ago that Jeromy Burnitz was a Cub.
Chris Gomez is 5-13 against Dempster. Xavier Nady is 4-8 with two homers and both Adam LaRoche and Nate McLouth have homered off him.
Dempster leads all pitchers born in British Columbia in career wins with 60. Jeff Francis, who has 40, will likely pass him unless he gets hurt or is caught in his car with a hooker like former Buc and Rockie Denny Neagle.
Zach Duke’s 2007 woes continued in his opening appearance in 2008. He allowed 10 hits over 5-2/3 earlier this year, while striking out just one. He gave up just one run and got a no decision. Duke has fared very well against Chicago. He is 4-2 with a 2.10 ERA, including his only career shutout, way back in 2005.
This current crop of Cubbies have hit a collective .320 off of Duke. Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano have all hit circuit clouts off Duke.
As Matt discussed below, Craig Wilson is back. Rumor has it, part of the deal was that Craig would have to switch to Diet Pepsi.