Because of the unusual circumstances of tonight’s game – is Ryan Dempster going to start, is he not? – and because the family and I are going to be on the road, driving tonight, I’m throwing up the Pre-Gamin’ a lot earlier than usual. Fear not: I’ll be following things closely, and will alert you as soon as something breaks with respect to Dempster’s start (or a trade). So don’t take his inclusion here as a certainty that he’ll actually be starting – but he’s still scheduled to start as of this moment.

Game Info

Chicago Cubs (38-53) at St. Louis Cardinals (47-45), 7:15pm CT on WGN.

Game Thread and Series Preview

The Game Thread lives here. You should participate in the madness. And, of course, for those who aren’t into message board-style game threads, please feel free to use the comments on this post for your in-game commentary/outbursts.

The Series Preview for this series lives here.

Starting Pitchers

Ryan Dempster (5-3, 1.86 ERA, 3.00 K/BB)


Kyle Lohse (9-2, 2.80 ERA, 3.33 K/BB)

St. Louis Cardinals Lineup

(This is a guess, because the Cards haven’t released their lineup yet.)

1. Rafael Furcal, SS

2. Jon Jay, CF

3. Carlos Beltran, RF

4. Matt Holliday, LF

5. Lance Berkman, 1B

6. David Freese, 3B

7. Yadier Molina, C

8. Skip Schumaker, 2B

9. Kyle Lohse, P

Chicago Cubs Lineup

1. David JeJesus, CF

2. Starlin Castro, SS

3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B

4. Alfonso Soriano, LF

5. Bryan LaHair, RF

6. Steve Clevenger, C

7. Darwin Barney, 2B

8. Luis Valbuena, 3B

9. Ryan Dempster, P

  • Jason “Thundermug”

    Well Theo and Jed you Screwed up I mean Screwd up now we will be lucky to get a Sewer Crap Prospect with a 1-10 record and a 7.89 ERA in return for Dempster

    • Tim

      eassssssssssssy jason

  • gutshot5820

    Well, lets put it this way. The Cubs CERTAINLY will NOT be getting any better offers that what was on the table and at worst, some of the GM’s will rethink his value. It is hard to justify to your fans in trading a top prospect for a guy who just got shelled.

    • Shawn H

      Or GMs will look at the total body of work this season and see it as an off night. What if he goes seven innings and allows just the 3 runs?

      • Wester

        And also look at the body of the last 5+ years. This is th second time Dempster has gone 30+ scoless innings in a row. Once in the pen…and I want to say the last time was 33 as well. Everyone gets hit once in a while by a good offense.

    • Carew

      Did you think he was gonna net the cubs a Grienke, Hamels, or even Garza return? Demp’s been great but he would be a pure rental anyways

    • stillmisskennyhubbs

      The logical consequence of that kind of thinking would net us Josh Hamilton if Dempster pitched a shutout, and the 1927 Yankees if he broke Hershiser’s record.

    • Luke

      Nonsense. Say the GM for the Nationals has identified Dempster as the guy he wants and he knows that if throws in his 35th ranked prospect he’ll have the best offer and will steal Dempster from the Dodgers, you really think that GM will say “Well… one of the best offenses in baseball just scored some runs on him, I think I better walk away and do something else.”

      Of course not. If Dempster is the guy he wants, he’ll make his best effort to land him while giving up as little as possible, just like every other good GM in the game. Those GMs already know how much they are willing to give up, and they are not going to tell the Cubs what that limit is. The Cubs are going to continue working the phones, playing teams off each other, and trying to extract all the value they can out of one of those teams. So long as Dempster does not hurt himself, this start is all but meaningless from a trade value standpoint.

      • gutshot5820

        Nonsense. So you are saying that no matter how Dempster pitches it will have no bearing on his trade value? I agree that depending on the GM the degree of impact on his trade value will vary. But if Dempster gets shelled for 8 runs and doesn’t make it out of the 5th inning, to say that that won’t make any GM hesitate or re-think is nonsense. They may ultimately make the same offer, but certainly not a BETTER one and maybe even lose interest.

        • baldtaxguy

          If a poor start does diminish his trade value, it will be an immaterial decrease, and one that will not be measurable anyway. This is certainly nothing to get worked up over.

        • Luke

          GMs are not going to make a decision on a guy based on a single start, good or bad. They are not that reactionary.

          The best pitchers in the game have bad games. And the most mediocre pitchers can pitch great games. You cannot become a GM without being around baseball long enough to realize that.

          If a team wants him, they will try to outbid other teams while offering as little as possible. If that means they have to raise their offer despite Demster giving up 17 consecutive home runs, they’ll do it. Dempster’s body of work, the individual team scouting reports, and the trade market set his market. Not whether or not he happens to have a bad night tonight.

          • baldtaxguy

            I agree entirely with what you are saying.

    • AB


  • calicubsfan007

    I am really confused about Demp starting. Maybe they know something we don’t?

    • gutshot5820

      Maybe the other teams are not offering nearly as much as what is being reported. Most GM’s are publicly saying that they are not willing to trade top prospects for a rental player. This probly goes double for someone without TOR stuff such as Dempster, regardless of his ERA.

      • nkniacc13

        I wonder if a bit of the hesitency is the fact tha most Gm’s seem to think that Dempster will be resignig with the Cubs so they don’t want to give up a bunch when they have no chance to resign him

  • Jason “Thundermug”

    Ok I calmed down still 3 runs over last 34 innings pretty good. Hopefully Dempster can battle his way thru the rest of the game and gives some quality innings

  • cubs1967

    he never should of started.

    • AB

      Maybe he never should HAVE started, not sure about never should of.

  • Jason “Thundermug”

    This New CBA stuff some good and some bad but one of the bad things is that it definetely hurts teams trying to rebuild when they have free agent players because the return won’t be as high as it was before

  • MikeCubs23

    Why wouldnt they push his start back 1 day to get a deal done? Pushing a start back 1 day is done all the time. I dont care what anyone says this start doesnt help at all.

    • Luke

      This I agree with. I really don’t understand the decision to start Dempster tonight. All it accomplishes is the risk of injury. There really is no apparent upside.

  • nkniacc13

    It doesn’t hurt either as log as he comes out of it healthy.and what happens if they can’t get a deal done by tomorrow?

    • Luke

      That’s the only thing I can figure, that the Cubs do not expect a deal to be finished until early next week.

  • Brett

    In case it wasn’t obvious, the EBS will be delayed due to being on the road.

  • Dustin S

    I don’t pretend to know more than the front office…but I have to join the others in saying having him start was not a smart move. They basically put him on the DL a few weeks ago to protect his value, so turning around and starting him tonight doesn’t make a lot of sense. I know Dempster is uber-competitive and probably pushed to start. But if that’s why they did, it’s a little crazy to let the player make the call on those types of decisions.

    The Chicago press will have a hayday with this, so I’ll be interested to hear Theo’s explanation. Honestly, about the only valid reason I could think of would be if all of the rumors were highly exaggerated about how close a trade is. I suppose if a deal was no where beyond even the early stages then I could understand not holding their best starter out. But that’s a big stretch to think all of the rumors could be that far off, especially with bringing in Coleman and Germano just in case.

    • someday…2015?

      My opinion is the only reason he’s out their is because GM(s) want to see him throw a certain amount of pitches. Remember this is only his 3rd start since coming off the DL. I can’t think of any other reason.

      • nkniacc13

        I can think of a reason because the cubs aren’t getting the kind of offers they want for him

        • baldtaxguy

          And at the same time weighing offers they have received….”according to MLB sources”

          • nkniacc13

            maybe they didn’t really like any of them or they were given a list of players and had to choose x number of players from the list and they are having trouble deciding

    • baldtaxguy

      I also agree about the risk of injury concern with this start. On the other hand, demonstrating further that Demp is past his latest injury with another healthy start is also a consideration.

  • Dylan

    I agree with Brett and a few others who said that Dempster’s three-run inning shouldn’t affect his trade value at all.

    If the GM are rethinking about Dempster, they probably want to see HOW he reacts after giving up all of the runs. If he stays calm and cool, then it should be just fine. I’m not too worried myself.

  • Matty

    I think the only reasonable explanation for Dempster starting tonight is that a deal is not really close. Otherwise, it is pure stupidity.

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    hmmm. The reason he’s out there is simply because it is his start. You don’t put him on ice that raises more questions than answer. Now it is also clear they seem to want more. More than what is the question. More than Jacob Turner? If that’s the case than yeah they are gambling and that wouldn’t make sense. More than Gould and Withrow? Well then I don’t fault them. All we know is that Cubs are said to be asking a lot and teams have made offers and some teams are grousing. All the Dempster will resign with the Cubs and every start is so significant is the real nonsense. Anyone who thought Dempster is the best pitcher in baseball is kidding themselves. He’s not even the best pitcher on the Cub’s. He has a lot of value and I believe the FO is trying to get all they can.

  • Oswego chris

    Part of the leverage the Cubs must maintain is that they are willing to keep him…it is b s, but these guys are holding out for the best they can get…not starting him tonight would be ridiculous…if anything a subpar effort might bring in more buyers who think they can get him on the cheap…and maybe their cheap is better than the Dodgers top guys…

  • Kevin

    Lots of things to consider on the decision to start Dempster tonight. We can all 2nd guess the Cubs thought process but realistically we don’t know all the things being said behind closed doors. As Cubs fans we want to get the most in return on any trade. Maybe Theo & Jed are asking too much in return and didnt feel comfortable pulling the trigger. Maybe the other clubs want Dempster to sign a contract extension and Ryan doesn’t want any part of that. It could be a combination of both but we will most likely never know. Based on information known by the FO they decided to let him start. Yes it’s not his best start but overall he’s not getting killed and this start will not Impact his trade value. Remember, teams are not offering great package in return anyway.

  • nkniacc13

    You can always drop the asking price its extreamly tough to raise the price

  • Turn Two

    In fairness- it was his worst outing in months and it was still very nearly a quality start! Against a very potent offense. If anything this may have raised his value. He lost his streak, it was amid trade rumors, he didn’t have his good stuff, it was against a great lineup and he still kept us in the game.

    • someday…2015?

      Was just thinking the same thing. Bad start but showed he can rebound against a potent lineup and keep his team in a game. He definitely didn’t lower his value in this game.

  • Jason “Thundermug”

    Yeah Dempster is a Warrior. I was upset early and overreacted but he did a great job in keeping the Cubs in the game and saving the bullpen with 6 innings 4 Runs ( only 1 from 2-6th inning) Cubs should get a decent prospect in return. It has to be a very tough situation for anyone going through trade rumors

    • baldtaxguy

      Darn…and I was so looking forward to “Sewer Crap” (great moniker entry) joining the Daytona Cubs :)

  • Cheryl

    Maybe Dempster wanted to start. It might not have been entirely the FO’s decision or the manager’s. Mike is right. If he hadn’t started it would have raised more questions. I would have liked to have seen the trade go down before tonight, but even if it doesn’t occur in the next few days the cubs still have a good starter

  • someday…2015?

    In other news Jim Thome passed Sammy Sosa on the all time home run list. Congratulations to Thome. Along with Griffy Jr. and a few others in an era full of cheats(Sosa), these guys really did it the right way.

  • Myles

    If we end up trading with the Red Sox, I hope they throw Mark Prior in.

    • Cubbie Blues

      I hadn’t thought about it but that would be swell.

  • João Lucas

    For all the guys who are desperate about Dempster losing all his value tonight and nobody wanting him anymore: even after giving up these 4 runs, his ERA is still the best in the majors.

  • Fastball

    This outing is just another outing for Dempster. If Theo doesnt get what he wants he will resign him to an extension and call the other GM’s bluffs. I would rather keep him for 2 or 3 more years as a back of the rotation starter on a home town discount. What we will gwt in aare going to get is not as good as Dempster. How many more Volstadts and Coleman types do we need

  • IAcubbyfan

    If you were a hotdog would you eat yourself? I would I’d be delicious!

    • Dan Fredrickson

      ……With relish!!

    • someday…2015?

      If im a Jean and Jude’s double dog with relish and mustard I would eat me twice=)

  • http://It'searly Mike F

    Neither extreme is correct. It is not correct to say the Cub’s have to trade Dempster, they don’t they can offer 12 million which he is unlikely to take and get a compensation pick. It really isn’t likely that they would extend him, if they were going to do that it would have occurred and simply doesn’t fit the reality of where they are given his age and what he is likely to demand. It seems to me he will likely be traded and they are more than likely trying to let 6 to 8 teams slug it out. Garza just made some interesting remarks, my guess is the Cub’s demands are pretty high and they already have floor offers. I have to believe they are trying to get the most bang they can and a deal is immanent.

  • Zogie

    It was a rather rough game for the cubs. Dempster got hit hard early, but it won’t hurt his trade value. The bullpen got out of a few tough jams, but the cubs’ offense just could not do anything. The offense did have some opportunities early, but they could not capitalize. DeJesus 2-4 did what he could to get on base for the cubs, but the middle of the order could not bring him in. Castro 1-4. Rizzo 1-4 K. Sori 1-4 1 2B GIDP. That GIDP killed the cubs momentum in this game, and after that inning, they could not generate any offense. LaHair 1-2 BB K still did not look great at the plate. He did get into some good counts, but could not do much with them. The called strike three was a fastball down the middle. He is supposed to look for fastball then adjust. He looks losts. Clevenger 1-4 K has fallen off since the start of the year. Pitchers have adjusted and found his weaknesses and have been challenging him. He needs to work to stay in the show. Valbuena 0-4 K. Baker 0-1 K, Campana 0-1. My shout out goes to David DeJesus. Every other cubs seemed to have a rough spot sometime in this game.

  • IAcubbyfan

    I just want it to stop! I can’t take all this speculation anymore! I heard, I think, and maybes r gettin old. When it all comes down to it none of us will know till something actually happens. Cept for the peeps with an inside source : ) that’s right I went old school smiley face. Take a deep breath. Relax. And disagree when they finally make a decision. Love you trade deadline

  • someday…2015?

    Nice now ESPN is saying the Dodgers “want” Dempster… So we went from offering a deal last night to wanting the guy tonight… Seems like more bs to fill up ESPN’s web page. Im guessing tomorrow some source on ESPN will say the dodgers are “seriously” pursuing Dempster.

  • thejackal