Game Forty-Six: Cubs (28-17) vs. Astros (25-21)
Game Time – 7:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – Minute Maid Park, Houston
Ryan Dempster (5-1, 2.35/1.03) vs. Chris Sampson (2-3, 6.46/1.64)
Tonight’s game could end up being very interesting. Not only will the Astros look to bounce back from Monday night’s loss, there could be a little retaliation for the two brush back pitches Carlos Lee received from Ted Lilly and Carlos Marmol. The Cubs will have the challenge of beating Chris Sampson for the first time, while Ryan Dempster will try to earn his first road victory of the year….likely without the services of Carlos Marmol.
Jim Edmonds is expected to be in the lineup tonight and for the remainder of the series….with the way the lineup performed on Monday, Piniella should run out the same starting eight. Lou Piniella mentioned in his pre-game show on Monday that Derrek Lee would receive his first day off of the season on Wednesday in order to give him two full days before the Cubs begin a string of 17 straight games without a day off. Ryan Dempster is coming off his best start as a Cub. Dempster came within 2 outs of a complete game shutout against the Padres last Thursday. He gave up only 6 hits, walked 1 and recorded 12 strikeouts, a new career high, in 8 1/3 innings. Dempster has pitched extremely well this season but will face a big challenge tonight.
Dempster has been better on the road this year than at Wrigley. Dempster’s only loss came to the Reds in Cincinnati but all 5 runs Dusty Baker’s team scored were unearned. Dempster is 0-1 in 3 starts with a 0.90 ERA and a 0.75 WHIP away from the Friendly Confines.
Dempster is 3-7 with 16 saves in 37 career games, 11 starts, against the Astros with a 4.88 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP….at Minute Maid, 1-5 in 6 starts, 17 games, with 7 saves, a 4.38 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP.
- Brad Ausmus – 6-for-25 with 3 doubles
- Lance Berkman – 10-for-34 with 4 home runs and 10 walks
- Jose Cruz – 4-for-10 with a home run
- Carlos Lee – 3-for-9 with 2 doubles and a home run
- Hunter Pence – 0-for-3
- Ty Wigginton – 1-for-9
Chris Sampson has been both very good and very bad this season for Cecil Cooper. Sampson gave up 7 runs, 5 earned, on 10 hits in 6 innings to the Giants in his last start. Before being knocked around by the Giants offense, he threw 7 innings of shutout ball against the Dodgers in L.A. on May 10th and allowed just 3 hits.
Sampson’s second best start of the season came against the Cubs at Wrigley on April 4th. He allowed 2 runs on 6 hits in 6 2/3 innings without a walk.
The Astros’ very talented right-hander has struggled at Minute Maid this year. Sampson is 0-2 in his first 3 starts with a 15.75 ERA and a 3.25 WHIP….opponents are batting .500 against him (14 runs in 21 hits in 8 innings with 5 walks and 5 strikeouts).
Sampson has shutdown the Cubs offense in the past. He is 2-0 in 3 previous starts, 5 games, against the Cubs with a 1.25 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP. While the rest of the league appears to have figured him out, Sampson is still a mystery to the Cubs.
- Mark DeRosa – 1-for-6
- Jim Edmonds – 1-for-4 with a home run
- Kosuke Fukudome – 2-for-3
- Derrek Lee – 2-for-6 with a home run
- Aramis Ramirez – 3-for-9
- Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-7
- Geovany Soto – 1-for-3
- Ryan Theriot – 0-for-6
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….