Game Ninety: Cubs (53-36) vs. Reds (43-47)
Game Time – 7:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN. XM Radio Channel 189
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Ryan Dempster (9-3, 3.24/1.18) vs. Aaron Harang (3-10, 4.47/1.35)
Lou Piniella’s crew returns to action tonight after a much-needed day off. The Cubs open the final week before the All-Star break with the first of three against the Reds….it’s Lou versus Dusty, round two at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs spent most of the month of June on the road and will play their first game at the Friendly Confines since June 26th….and will face the Reds for the first time since May 7th in Cincinnati. Joey Votto hit 3 home runs, became the newest Cub Killer (6 of Votto’s 16 career home runs have come against Cubs’ pitching, .302/.333/.814/1.147), and the Reds handed the Cubs one of their worst losses of the season, 9-0.
The Cubs will get their first look at Jay Bruce (.273/.342/.448/.789 with 7 doubles and 6 home runs in his first 38 big league games) tonight while the Reds will face the Cubs for the first time with Jim Edmonds (.280/.358/.573/.931 with 17 doubles and 31 home runs in 109 career games versus the Reds) patrolling centerfield. The Cubs and Reds have split the first 6 games of the season with the home team winning each series, 2-1. Cincinnati is coming off a 4-game sweep of the Nationals and are only 4 games under .500 going into the last week before the break. With six games against the Cubs and Brewers, Dusty Baker’s team feels they are right in the mix for the Central Division and a good week will get them right back into the race. Ryan Dempster is coming off a solid start against the Giants and should have picked up his first road win of the year. Instead, Ray Durham went deep on the first pitch from Carlos Marmol and Dempster received a no decision. The Cubs won the game on Mike Fontenot’s home run in the 8th but the now 2-time All-Star is still winless on the road.
The Cubs are winning games when Dempster takes the bump and that is the most important stat….13-5 in his 18 starts.
Dempster will get another shot against his former team tonight. The last time he faced the Reds at Great American on May 5th, the Cubs’ defense committed two errors that led to 5 unearned runs and the Cubs lost the game 5-3. Dempster for his part did serve up a home run to Adam Dunn but allowed only 3 other hits, struck out 7 and walked 1.
The Reds always play their best ball against the Cubs, especially now with Dusty Baker and so many former Cubs on Cincinnati’s roster. Ryan Dempster must throw strikes and keep the ball down if he wants to become the first Cubs’ starter to post his 10th win of the year.
The Cubs former closer is 4-4 in 9 career starts, 33 games, versus the Reds with a 4.69 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP.
Dempster could arguably be the Cubs’ first half MVP (more on that during the break) and has posted a 9-0 record in his first 10 starts at Wrigley with a 2.71 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP.
Dempster is 1-1 in 2 games against the Reds this season with 3.00 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP.
- Paul Bako – 3-for-10 with 2 doubles and 4 walks
- Adam Dunn – 4-for-9 with a double, a home run and 9 walks
- Edwin Encarnacion – 1-for-11
- Ken Griffey, Jr. – 8-for-25 with a double and a home run
- Jeff Keppinger – 4-for-9 with a double
- Corey Patterson – 5-for-17 with 2 doubles
- Brandon Phillips – 2-for-9
- Joey Votto – 1-for-7 with a home run
Aaron Harang is having an “off” season but like the rest of his teammates, typically has his better outings of the season against the Cubs. A report in the Dayton Daily News by Hal McCoy over the past weekend stated Harang was suffering from tightness in his forearm. Dusty Baker told the Hall of Fame writer that it was nothing serious and he would make his start on Tuesday against the Cubs.
Harang has received little to no run support this season and has not pitched the same since May 25th. Harang threw 4 innings in relief during the 18-inning marathon in San Diego. Harang dominated, struck out 9, gave up only 1 walk and surrendered just 2 hits. Harang pitched four days later against the Pirates and gave up 6 runs on 10 hits in 4 innings….and has won just once since.
- June Record - 1-3 in 6 starts with a 6.00 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP, 28 strikeouts and 8 walks in 36 innings but 48 hits allowed with 7 home runs.
Harang last pitched on June 30th and recorded his best outing since May. Harang received a no decision but the Reds won 4-3 and he allowed 3 runs on 7 hits in 7 innings with 8 strikeouts and a walk.
The Reds’ ace is 0-2 in 2 starts against the Cubs this season with a 5.54 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP. For his career, 8-5 in 17 starts with 2 complete games, a 4.57 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP.
- Ryan Dempster – 1-for-4
- Mark DeRosa – 4-for-12 with a home run
- Jim Edmonds – 6-for-32 with 2 doubles and 3 home runs
- Kosuke Fukudome – 2-for-5
- Derrek Lee – 13-for-41 with 2 doubles and 5 home runs
- Matt Murton – 8-for-23 with a double and 3 home runs
- Aramis Ramirez – 9-for-35 with 3 home runs
- Geovany Soto – 4-for-9 with 2 doubles
- Ryan Theriot – 7-for-22 with a double
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….