Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Chris De Luca and Gordon Wittenmyer

Cubs pitching carries over

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Lou Piniella said before the game that as he looks to next year he doesn't see much need to bolster the pitching staff.

And Ryan Dempster, last year's Game 1 playoff starter who's signed for three more years, along with Aaron Heilman and Carlos Marmol showed what he meant in a game they kept low-scoring until Jeff Baker had a chance to win it with a homer in the ninth.

Granted, this came against the offensively challenged Giants in a pitcher-friendly ballpark, but the flip side of that is that the Giants are within actual striking distance of a playoff spot, and the Giants' staff wasn't exactly facing an offensive juggernaut itself.

Dempster didn't get the win, but he continued an impressive stretch of pitching since a rough first outing after returning from the disabled list (toe) July 28. After his seven innings with six strikeouts and only two runs allowed, he's 5-3 with a 2.75 ERA in his past 11 starts - 4-1, 2.01 in his past seven.

And with 186 innings pitched and two starts remaining, he has a shot at reaching 200 for the fifth time in his career.

``Dempster's gotten better and better as the season's progressed,'' Piniella said.

As for the bullpen, Carlos Marmol made it interesting with a walk to Travis Ishikawa after a one-out infield single but struck out Aaron Rowand and Fred Lewis to end it - and record his 11th save in as many chances since being named closer last month (15th overall).

``He's done a good job,'' Piniella said, ``and basically he's solidified his job for next year and going to camp it's his job.''

Now if the Cubs can find a way next year to score more than a run in the first eight innings in some of these games...

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Hendry needs to work some G.D. magic this off season. 2009 was hands down his worst year with the organization and he better shape-up. There are multiple players on the Cubs right now with huge contracts and only a handful of these players delivered. I also do not understand how you put a stand-up guy like Reed Johnson in the same clubhouse as professional douchebag Bradley. Come on Hendry, get your stuff together.

I agree with you for a change. The pitching does look fairly well set for next year unless injuries or concentration lapses enter in. Dempster was impressive again last night,and the Cub bats have mostly come to life. Too little too late, but at least cause for optimism.

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This page contains a single entry by Gordon Wittenmyer published on September 25, 2009 12:33 AM.

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