Cubs 2 @ Pirates 3
Apologies to Dustin, he had the unenviable posting time of 4pm EST on a day where the Cubs played at 12:35pm EST. Definitely give his article The Plight of the Unwanted a look.
Dempster On The Mound:
A ‘quality start’ today, but just barely. 6 IPs, 5 hits, 3 ERs, but 2 costly HRs. Each of Pittsburgh’s solo shots tied the game, and eventually the Pirates took the lead on Garrett Jones’ 6th inning double. Kevin Correia was better today, and I hear he’d be open to pitching for the Braves.
Dempster Off The Mound:
I realize this will be a point of contention, but nonetheless I’m going to go there. Dempster’s public behavior the last few days belies all those stories you hear about him being the consummate professional. A quick reminder of the facts and reported suspicions:
1. FACT: The Cubs worked for days, perhaps even weeks, to get Dempster traded to the Dodgers. This was Dempster’s first wish – if traded, he preferred LAD.
2. FACT: The Cubs and Dodgers could not agree on players.
3. FACT: The Cubs shifted their attention to the second team on Dempster’s wish list, the Braves.
4. FACT: Sometime on Monday the Cubs and Braves reached an agreement on the players involved in a trade centered around Dempster.
5. FACT: Someone leaked specifics of this potential CHC/ATL deal to the media; Dempster balked – his approval is inexplicably still pending.
6. FACT: Dempster spent the vast majority of two straight days reiterating, in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, that his preference is for the Dodgers.
7. FACT: Two days later, the Braves have said they’ve moved on. That deal is dead. REPORTEDLY: The Dodgers have zero incentive to boost their offer since Dempster has removed most of the Cubs’ leverage. There is no LAD deal in sight.
8. REPORTEDLY: The Cubs are now 1) waiting for Dempster to change his mind about ATL, 2) waiting for the Dodgers to up their offer, and/or 3) resigned to the fact that if neither of those things occurs they’ll make Dempster a qualifying offer after the season ends and gain a compensatory pick when he signs elsewhere in free agency.
9. REPORTEDLY: At no point in this process has there been any requirement for Dempster to sign an extension with either the Dodgers or the Braves – every report to that effect has been pure speculation. Even ATL GM Frank Wren has suggested that wasn’t a condition. This disagreement is quite literally about where Dempster will pitch in August and September.
10. REPORTEDLY: Multiple reports have the Cubs front office understandably frustrated that everything unraveled so quickly and needlessly. If it was the Braves who leaked the info that led to Dempster’s decisive indecision, the Cubs are just about the only party here that hasn’t actively launched a grenade on this process.
I’ll sum up my problem with Dempster in a word – duplicitous. You don’t give your employer a short list of teams to which you’d be willing to be traded, and then renege when an agreement is reached with the second team on that list. Presumably if there was a good reason for Dempster to balk at the ATL deal, he would’ve blurted it out in 140 characters already. While Dempster has rushed to Twitter and the media to be sure his message is understood, the Cubs front office has been very professional.
Back To The Game:
The Cubs lost today in large part because only Anthony Rizzo and David DeJesus were able to hit the ball hard. In a familiar storyline, the Cubs didn’t see an overwhelming amount of pitches, and only managed two walks to go with their five hits. That’s not a lot of scoring opportunities. Barney was the only other Cub to get a hit.
In the 3rd, DeJesus hit a ball that found the seats in RF. It didn’t bounce, but second base umpire Country Joe West ‘saw’ that some fans in RF had interfered and he determined it to be a ground-rule double. Watch the replay, even if that the case (and I don’t think it is), there’s no way any infield umpire could’ve possibly seen that. The closest position player to the ball (Pirates’ CF, Andrew McCutchen) didn’t voice even the slightest of complaints upon viewing the play live from about 20 feet away. West is famous for being stubbornly wrong – a good rule of thumb with Country Joe, the more stubborn he is, the more wrong he is. The video evidence was deemed to be inconclusive. In the end, it didn’t really matter, DeJesus came around to score on Rizzo’s single two batters later.
The Cubs have an off day tomorrow, they’ll resurface on Friday at Wrigley against the Cardinals. That is Ron Santo Day at the park, and one can only hope that the Dempster saga doesn’t drag on until then.