Cubs starter Ryan Dempster (left) didn't give up a hit until Manny Ramirez beat out an infield single to load the bases in the third inning of tonight's Division Series opener against the Dodgers at Wrigley Field, but Dempster had walked four batters to that point and seemed to go to a full-count to just about everyone. He finally struck out Andre Ethier on a full-count pitch (out of the strike zone) to get out of a fatiquing third-inning that required 32 pitches.
He walked three more batters in the fifth inning to run his pitch count over 100 and fire up the Cubs bullpen, but manager Lou Piniella couldn't get him out of there before he gave up that grand slam to James Loney.
Dempster is a close friend of Orioles first baseman Kevin Millar, so I couldn't help but wonder if he was auditioning for a place in the Orioles rotation.
No, I'm not serious. Dempster is eligible for free agency, but everybody seems to agree he will remain with the Cubs. The O's would love to talk him into coming to Baltimore, but that's not likely. It might help if he knew they were going to bring Millar back, but they don't even know that yet.