Braves 3 @ Cubs 1

Box Score / Highlights / Condensed Game

I finished the night a little frustrated and decided to go to bed before I wrote this. I woke up still frustrated, but have three thoughts and a question for each.

Ryan Dempster – He still continues to pitch like a man not only possessed, but a man in a contract year. A seven inning, one run performance actually raised his ERA up to 1.02. He looked better last night than Randall Delgado so it’s a shame he didn’t get the offensive support needed to get a win. He remains winless on the season, which to me is amazing. While I don’t value pitcher wins, you can’t deny that he should have at least one to this point. It’s got to continue to be frustrating to him, especially given the fact that his last win was back on August 11.

QuestionDoes the continued success by Dempster in any way change your mind or the Cubs mind on moving him before the end of the year considering he’s in the last year of his deal?

Bryan LaHair – On the surface, there really isn’t any logical reason why he should be a part of the discussion from last night, but he is. In the box score you’ll see an 0-for-3 night. What you’ll also see is a walk, which runs his streak for reaching base to 26 games. It’s important to stop and really take a look at the numbers he’s put up and put them in perspective. Here are his numbers with MLB rankings for first baseman in parenthesis

Average – .373 (1st)
On Base % – .470 (1st)
Slugging – .771 (1st)
Homeruns – 8 (2nd)
RBI – 17 (6th)

Stop for a minute and just look at those numbers. Then look at the most important number, in my mind: $482,500. That’s his salary for 2012. Top production for bargain prices. LaHair is Costco.

Question – We’ll continue to hear all about how Anthony Rizzo needs to be called up to pair as a dynamic duo with LaHair, but will a shift to the outfield mess with LaHair and cause him to stop hitting as well?

Kerry Wood – He gave up the lead and looked bad doing it in the 8th. You kind of knew it was going to happen after watching a few batters. It’s like that moment where you know someone is starting to fall and it all goes in slow motion. What makes it all the more painful is the fact that a) he’s my favorite Cub of all time, and b) he’s fairly beloved by the organization. It’s tough because you don’t want the option of him to decline to the point where fans that love him begin to turn on him. You kind of just want him to ride off into the sunset and take a job in the front office like he’s expressed interest in. Going forward, I still believe he can be a profital part of this pen, but high leverage situations have to be ruled out right now for him and for Carlos “donkey kong” Marmol.

Question – How do you handle the Kerry Wood situation from a PR standpoint so as to not sour the way he’s perceived by the fans?

We’re at a 1-1 split so it’s going to come down to Maholm today to get a really big series win. That’s all it takes and I believe it’s do able. The key is going to be putting some runs on the board to begin to support the pitching staff early.

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Joe Aiello is the founder of View From the Bleachers and one of the lead writers as well as host of VFTB Radio. Growing up in Chicago, he fondly remembers attending games in the bleachers before that was the popular thing to do. Currently Joe resides in North Carolina with his wife and three kids. Connect with Joe via Twitter / Facebook / E-mail