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Dempster, Duke Masterful In Showdown

Tonight's Cubs versus Pirates game was very exciting if you favor pitching over hitting. Two struggling pitchers in recent years were masterful, both throwing seven innings of one hit ball. Let's start with Zack Duke, who struck out seven and walked one. The run support wasn't there for him until they pulled him, but he was moving his stuff all over the plate- really fooling some hitters. Duke is definitely the pitcher they hope can follow up behind Tom Gorzelanny, but the Pirates should consider saving his arm before he cannot pitch anymore. For the second game in a row, he threw over 115 pitches, a sign that their pitching coach is not paying attention to his pitch count. Duke would be a solid pick up in your Fantasy League if you lose a pitcher, but I would watch him in his next start to make sure his arm doesn't start to wear off.

Who would have thought that the struggling closer would be off to such a great start? Dempster was an above average starter, but closing always seemed to be a challenge. In retrospect, maybe it was just about how comfortable he was. Dempster was 'Maddux-esque' once again and it is possible we could see him return to 2000 or 2001 form when he put up 15 wins. That would be huge for the Cubs considering it looks like Ted Lilly will struggle this year, something many think is because of his performance in the Diamondbacks playoff game last season. Dempster is going undrafted in most drafts, mostly because he is still considered a reliever, but he would be a solid pick up in an NL-only league. However, I would take someone like Carlos Silva before Dempster in a normal league.