Game Thirty-Two: Cubs (18-13) vs. Reds (12-20)
Game Time – 6:10pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WCIU – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati
Ryan Dempster (4-0, 3.16/1.11) vs. Johnny Cueto (1-3, 5.40/1.09)
The Cubs open a 3-game series tonight in Cincinnati against a Reds’ team that has lost 5 in row. Lou Piniella’s crew has not won a series in almost two weeks and has lost 4 of their last 6….so something’s gotta give tonight.
Lou Piniella will send his top two pitchers to the mound to begin the series with Jon Lieber taking the hill in the finale on Wednesday. As the old cliche goes, just one game at a time and tonight the offense will have the tall task of figuring out Johnny Cueto while Ryan Dempster attempts to win his first career game at Great American Ball Park.
Stay Classy tonight Cubs fans as Marty Brennaman tries to do the same…. Ryan Dempster was Lou Piniella’s second best starter during the first month of the season and his team is 5-1 in his first 6 starts. Piniella recently stated Dempster’s performance has been one of the team’s biggest surprises thus far. Dempster, no doubt, has pitched beyond expectations and must continue tonight against one of his former teams.
Dempster beat the Reds at Wrigley on April 15th and allowed 4 runs on 5 hits in 6 innings with 5 walks and 3 strikeouts. Dempster has been struggling with his command of late and must throw strikes tonight. The Reds offense is struggling right now and giving them free base runners is a quick way to get an explosive offense back on track.
Dempster is coming off a win against the Brewers his last time out. He surrendered 3 runs on 4 hits in 6 innings but walked 5 (tied a season high) and struck out only 1 (a season low). Dempster has walked a lot of batters of late (15 in his last 4 starts, 24 innings) and his strikeout totals have fallen (12 in his last 4 starts, 24 innings). Dempster must improve on his strikeout to walk ratio (22 strikeouts and 19 walks in 37 innings) in order to keep winning ballgames.
Dempster has never posted a win at Great American Ball Park….0-5 in 9 starts, 22 games, with 3 saves, a robust 7.13 ERA and a 1.98 WHIP. The Reds have hit 9 home runs in 65 2/3 innings with a batting average of .303.
- Paul Bako – 3-for-8 with 2 doubles and 4 walks
- Adam Dunn – 3-for-6 with a double and 9 walks
- Ryan Freel – 1-for-5 with a double
- Ken Griffey, Jr. – 7-for-22 with a double, a home run and 3 walks
- Scott Hatteberg – 2-for-7 with 2 walks
- Jeff Keppinger – 3-for-6 with a double
- Corey Patterson – 5-for-17 with 2 doubles
- Brandon Phillips – 1-for-6
- Joey Votto – 1-for-4
The Cubs will get their first look at Johnny Cueto tonight. Cueto was the flavor of the month at the beginning of the season after a tremendous start to his big league career. Cueto allowed only 3 earned runs in his first 13 1/3 innings of the year without a walk and 18 strikeouts. Since his third start of the year against the Pirates on April 13th, Cueto has struggled.
In his last 4 starts, Cueto has allowed 20 runs, 18 earned, on 26 hits with 15 strikeouts and 6 walks in 21 2/3 innings (8.31 ERA), The Cardinals knocked him out of his last outing in the 2nd inning, Cueto lasted just an inning and two-thirds in St. Louis and gave up 7 runs, 6 earned, on 8 hits with a walk and 2 strikeouts. Cueto is much better at home than on the road, as most young pitchers are….he is 1-1 in 3 starts with a 3.43 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP. But in his last two starts at home….0-1 with a 4.50 ERA.
The Cubs typically struggle against pitchers that have never faced before but if they can remain patient, Cueto will make mistakes.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….