The last two times Ryan Dempster has pitched for his team, the Cubs fell into last place. Despite this, manager Dusty Baker still insists Dempster will be his closer for the rest of this season and next, adding to the list of reasons that 94 percent of rational human beings hope Baker will be fired seconds after the final out of the 2006 campaign.

To be fair, Dempster had some help blowing the game this time. He and Scott Eyre each gave up solo homers in the ninth, allowing the Pirates to take their third game of the four-game series, this time by a score of 7-5.

Reliever Carlos Marmol smacked his first homer and 40th newcomer of the season Scott Moore went 2-3 with an RBI double and game-tying home run in the sixth, but the bullpen seemed destined to blow the lead.

“I was surprised we waited so long to give them the game,” Dusty said. “Did you see the other pitchers I used?”

Baker was referring to his use of the funniest and most pathetic succession of pitchers in the history of baseball: Sean Marshall, Carlos Marmol, Les Walrond, David Aardsma and Roberto Novoa.

He added that, like Dempster, the other bad pitchers will also figure into his plans for next season.

Number of the Day: 3
Days until football season.

heckler editorial staff