Goatriders of the Apocalypse

GameCast: August 23rd at Los Angeles -- putting the weep in sweep

GameCastRyan Dempster vs. Chad Billingsley

Story-Lines
The Cubs play today not only to avoid being swept by the Dodgers, but to also stay above .500 on the season.  Ryan Dempster, who has had just about as bad a season as possible for a guy who just signed a ridiculous 4-year extension, will try to be the stopper.

Except -- not to sound like a broken record -- I still don't think Dempster's year has been as bad as it's looked.  At this point, due to time missed Dempster is on pace to pitch 182 innings, to surrender 185 hits, 71 walks, and to strike out 157.  Last year in 206.2 innings he surrendered 174 hits, 71 walks, and struck out 187.  Obviously there's a difference there -- but per 9 innings he's still striking out 7.71 to last year's 8.14 along with 3.3 walks to last year's 3.5, and his K/BB ratio is still 2.21 compared to last year's 2.46.  The one difference has been the amount of hits he's given up -- in '08 it was 7.6 per 9, this year it's 9.1  Question is ... should that be enough for a guy's ERA to go from 2.96 to 4.28? 

I think it's a bit of bad luck.  Teams have a batting average of balls in play (BABIP) of .309 this season on Dempster, compared with .288 last season.  Just a thought -- maybe he'll turn things around next year.

Who's hot
Maybe some of the girls watching the games?

Who's not
Aaron Miles.  Why not just make him the scapegoat, eh?

Conclusions
The Cubs will have a tough road ahead of them today against a very successful Dodgers pitcher in Billingsley.  Still, they can't lose all their games ...

...can they?

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