Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Astros – 04/07/09

Game Two: Cubs (1-0) vs. Astros (0-1)
Game Time – 7:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 185
Location – Minute Maid Park, Houston

Ryan Dempster (0-0, -.–/-.–) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (0-0, -.–/-.–)

After beginning last year 0-2, can Lou Piniella’s crew start the new season 2-0? It all starts with Ryan Dempster.

The Cubs could be without Milton Bradley tonight after he twisted his ankle in the seventh inning on Monday. Bradley remained in the game but it will be interesting to see how he responds today. Reed Johnson should make the start in center tonight against the Astros’ southpaw.

After a poor first game of the year it would be good for Kosuke Fukudome to get the start tonight but against Wandy Rodriguez, as long as Milton Bradley can play, Fukudome should be relegated to a late-inning defensive replacement.

No one predicted the season Ryan Dempster put together a year ago. Dempster became the most reliable starter for Lou Piniella and now he is being asked to repeat his performance from last season.

Dempster posted a career high 17 wins (17-6 in 33 starts with a 2.96 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP) and hit free agency. Dempster was not on the market long before he re-signed with the Cubs for 4 years and $52 million (that includes a $14 million player option in the fourth year). Not too long after Dempster agreed to remain on the North Side the free-agent market collapsed, but many still feel that Dempster took less to remain with the Cubs than he would have received from another team.

Dempster was unbelievable at Wrigley (14-3 in 20 starts with a 2.86 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP) and was solid on the road (3-3 in 13 starts with a 3.13 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP) despite the record. Dempster received either little to no run support or was the victim of a bad defensive effort.

He was 1-3 in 4 starts against the Astros last season with a 3.12 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP (1-1 at Minute Maid with a 2.57 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP). For his career, 4-10 in 41 games, 15 starts, with 16 saves and a 4.50 ERA with a 1.45 WHIP.

  • Lance Berkman – 12-for-45 with 4 home runs and 12 walks
  • Geoff Blum – 11-for-39 with a double and 5 walks
  • Darin Erstad – 0-for-6
  • Jeff Keppinger – 5-for-12 with a double
  • Carlos Lee – 7-for-17 with 2 doubles and a home run
  • Kaz Matsui – 1-for-11
  • Hunter Pence – 6-for-14 with a double and a home run
  • Miguel Tejada – 4-for-13 with a double

The Cubs will face one of the most talented young southpaws in the game tonight…but one that has yet to put it all together. Wandy Rodriguez is a different pitcher at home than on the road and his career splits tell the story.

At home Rodriguez is 22-18 in 57 games, 55 starts, with a 4.12 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP while holding hitters to a .253 average (in 2008, 5-5 with a 2.99 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP, a .244 opponents batting average). On the road he is 15-22 in 54 games, 47 starts, with a 5.61 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP while opponents have hit .284 against him (in 2008, 4-2 in 11 starts with a 4.34 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP, a .274 opponents batting average).

Rodriguez dealt with injuries last season and was 9-7 in 25 starts with a 3.54 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP…and many think he has started to put it together.

Last season, Wandy Rodriguez was 1-0 in 2 starts against the Cubs with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP…they hit .353 against him. In 10 career games he is 4-4 with a 4.68 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP.

  • Milton Bradley – 1-for-6
  • Mike Fontenot – 0-for-3
  • Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-6
  • Koyie Hill – 1-for-2
  • Reed Johnson – 1-for-7
  • Derrek Lee – 11-for-22 with 3 doubles, 2 home runs and 5 walks
  • Aaron Miles – 1-for-8
  • Aramis Ramirez – 5-for-23 with a walk
  • Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-9 with 2 walks
  • Geovany Soto – 1-for-5
  • Ryan Theriot – 8-for-16 with 3 doubles, a home run and a walk

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball…

Quote of the Day

"When you play, play hard; when you work, don’t play at all." – Theodore Roosevelt