Game Sixty-Six: Cubs (41-24) vs. Braves (32-33)
Game Time – 7:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: ESPN, Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 185
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Ryan Dempster (7-2, 2.90/1.13) vs. Jeff Bennett (0-3, 3.47/1.28)
The Cubs will try to keep their home winning streak going tonight behind Ryan Dempster. The Braves were scheduled to send rookie Jair Jurrjens to the mound tonight but he twisted his ankle walking down the dugout stairs at Wrigley following Tuesday night’s game. Jurrjens will be replaced by Jeff Bennett, could be heading to the DL, and the Braves’ lineup will feature Chipper Jones. Ryan Dempster received a no decision in his last start against the Dodgers. Dempster threw the ball extremely well for the first 4 innings, the wheels came off a little in the 5th and he could not find the strike zone in the 6th….Dempster left after 5 1/3 innings. He allowed 3 runs on 5 hits with 2 walks and only 1 strikeout. Dempster was in line for the win but Bobby Howry served up a long ball to Jeff Kent in the 8th….Kosuke Fukudome drove in Ryan Theriot with the winning run in the 9th.
Dempster’s innings per start have fallen over his last 2 outings. He completed at least 6 innings in every start from April 25th to May 26th (7 starts) but since his near complete game gem on May 15th against the Padres (0 runs on 6 hits in 8 1/3 innings with 12 strikeouts and 1 walk), his walk to strikeout ratio has tightened (11 walks and 16 strikeouts) and he has not been as sharp. Dempster must cut down on the walks and give his skipper innings tonight.
Dempster has been very good at Wrigley this year….a 7-0 record with a 3.10 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP.
Against the Braves, Dempster is 1-10 with 2 saves in 24 games, 13 starts, with a 5.65 ERA and a 1.63 WHIP.
- Yunel Escobar – 0-for-2
- Jeff Francoeur – 0-for-3
- Chipper Jones – 9-for-35 with 2 doubles, a home run and 6 walks
Jeff Bennett will make his 4th start of the season tonight and his first away from Turner Field. Bennett is 0-2 in 13 road outings, all out of the pen, with a 4.24 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP.
Bennett faced the Cubs six times back in 2004 as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers’ bullpen. Bennett did not post a record with a 1.17 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP.
Only a handful of Cubs have faced Bennett in his brief big league career.
- Derrek Lee – 3-for-4 with a double and a home run
- Mark DeRosa – 0-for-3
Bennett has very good stuff and the Cubs have struggled in the past against pitchers they had little to no history against….let’s hope the advanced scouts have done their job.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….