Game Twenty-Three: Cubs (15-7) vs. Nationals (7-16)
Game Time – 6:35pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 185
Location – Nationals Park, Washington D.C.
Ryan Dempster (3-0, 3.00/1.04) vs. Odalis Perez (0-3, 3.38/1.54)
Lou Piniella’s crew opens their first series tonight behind Ryan Dempster at new Nationals Park. The Cubs are coming off their worst offensive game in a week and must get the bats going tonight against Odalis Perez. The Nationals own the worst record in the National League after starting the season 3-0….but the Cubs must not take this team lightly. Piniella’s top 3 pitchers are scheduled to start the weekend series and a 4-1 road trip would be a great way to spend Monday’s off day. Ryan Dempster is coming off a decent start against the Pirates last Sunday. Dempster was in cruise control until the 5th inning and barely escaped with the win. Piniella showed a lot of confidence in Dempster by leaving him in and letting him pitch his way of the jam. The Cubs won the game 13-6.
Dempster needs to put together a quality start tonight. The Cubs bullpen has been over worked in the first month of the season and Dempster has pitched past the 6th inning only once this year. Dempster has been better than most expected in his return to the rotation….and hopefully the 5th inning last Sunday was just a blip.
While Dempster’s results have been very good (3-0, Cubs 4-0 in games he’s started) he must cut down on the walks and improve his strikeout to walk ratio. In 24 innings this season….11 walks and 16 strikeouts.
Dempster is 6-0 in 18 career games, 10 starts, with 2 saves against the Nationals’ franchise….a 3.40 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP.
- Austin Kearns – 2-for-12 with a double
- Johnny Estrada – 3-for-7
- Ryan Zimmerman – 1-for-4
- Ronnie Belliard – 4-for-18 with a double and 5 walks
- Felipe Lopez – 3-for-14 with a double and a home run
- Rob Mackowiak – 3-for-10 with 4 walks
Odalis Perez has pitched much better than his record indicates. He has allowed more than 2 earned runs once in 4 starts and is coming off a very good outing against the Florida Marlins. Perez held the high-flying Marlins’ offense to 1 run, unearned, on 5 hits in 6 innings with 7 strikeouts and 3 walks. Take away his horrible start against the Cardinals on April 4th (5 runs on 8 hits in 4 innings) and it could be said Perez has been just about spectacular for a not-so-good team.
Perez has lost only once in 4 career starts against the Cubs (3-1) with a 3.54 ERA and a remarkable 0.93 WHIP….while holding them to a .208 batting average. The last time he faced the Cubs was 2004 when he pitched for the Dodgers.
- Mark DeRosa – 2-for-5 with a double
- Reed Johnson – 5-for-8
- Derrek Lee – 2-for-8 with a double
- Aramis Ramirez – 4-for-9 with 2 home runs
From the History Book….
On this date in 1876, the Chicago National League Ball Club played and won their first game 4-0 over Louisville. Albert Spalding tossed the first shutout in National League history to earn the win.
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