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Chicago Cubs vs. Pittsburgh, 9 April 2008

It's Ryan Dempster and Zach Duke at PNC, 7:05. Dempster was terrific in his first start this year, but he's been a reliever for the last several years, and not a very good one. This looks like an opportunity for the PIrates to continue their high-scoring ways. The best-case scenario with Dempster is that he becomes the next Braden Looper. Looper was a low-wattage closer for the Marlins and Mets before the Cardinals moved him to the rotation last year. He posted a 4.94 ERA there. If I were the Cubs, I'd keep Dempster in the 'pen and go with someone like Sean Marshall. But that's just me.

Anyway, here's the box. Brian Bixler starts at shortstop; we'll see whether that can possibly be any worse than Luis Rivas, who finds himself on the bench after beginning the season as a huge liability on defense.

-P- The Pirates' AAA squad will stay in Indianapolis through at least 2012. A few weeks ago John Perrotto reported that they might move it to Buffalo, but apparently that won't happen.

-P- ESPN observes that the Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez-led Tigers are dead last in the majors in runs scored. The Pirates are fifth. Also, the Orioles are in first place and the Mets are in last. Nothing all that weird about any of that, but it's funny.