GameCast: June 22nd at Atlanta; a rainy make-up date
Ryan Dempster (5-5, 3.92 ERA) vs. Javier Vazquez (4-6, 3.41 ERA)
It would be entirely ironic -- and frustrating -- for today's make-up date to get rained out, but Goat Reader SuckMyDitka reports that rain is very much a possibility tonight.
Still, the Cubs are taking an odd course to continue their winning streak. They've had to fly from Chicago to Atlanta for one night, and after the game they will have to fly to Detroit for their next three game series.
Taking the mound of the Cubs is on-again, off-again ace Ryan Dempster, better known as the unluckiest pitcher this side of Randy Wells. Honestly, Dempster's numbers really aren't that bad. He's on pace to throw 217 innings, allowing 192 hits, 87 walks, and striking out 179. That's a WHIP of 1.29. Last year in 206 innings Dempster's WHIP was 1.21. Better, sure, but does anybody really think that 0.08 is the difference between 17 wins compared to 10, or an ERA of 2.96 compared to 3.92?
Therefore I submit to you the belief that Ryan Dempster is better than his current record. It's very much so possible that he'll end the year with extremely good numbers -- in fact, if the Cubs surprise the nay-sayers and reach the playoffs, count on Dempster to end the year with close to 15 wins. If Chicago plays the way they aught to, Dempster will reap the benefits in the second half.
Lee, Soto, Fukudome, Bradley -- all four players have put up very good numbers in the past week. Maybe it's no coincidence, then, that the Cubs are on a winning streak. The four of them have combined to bat .338 with 6 homers and 12 RBI in the past week.
Mike Fontenot -- okay, we get it. Never play Mike Fontenot against lefties, at least not this year.
If this game gets played, I am looking for the Questionable Quartet Plus Fuku to continue their roll while Ryan Dempster benefits from their rub and picks up win number five. I think it's entirely likely that the Cubs will win tonight. Don't ask me about tomorrow, though, after they hop on a plane and fly north to Detroit where they'll take on the first place Tigers.