Game Twenty: Cubs (10-9) vs. Diamondbacks (8-12)
Game Time – 2:40pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 186
Location – Chase Field, Phoenix
Ryan Dempster (1-0, 4.88/1.42) vs. Doug Davis (1-3, 3.67/1.30)
Lou Piniella’s crew will try to win the rubber game of the series and finish the six-game road trip with a 3-3 record this afternoon behind Ryan Dempster. The Cubs offense had a breakout night on Tuesday but will have their hands full once again this afternoon with Doug Davis.
The Cubs have traditionally struggled against Doug Davis and will be without at least one of their big right-handed bats. Righties have hit .311 against Davis this season while lefties have hit just .208. The Cubs will face a lefty starter for only the second time this season and the first time in 17 games, 22 days…Wandy Rodriguez in the second game of the year.
Geovany Soto will be out of the starting lineup again today. Lou Piniella said Soto is getting a mental break while he tries to “get the cobwebs out.”
Aramis Ramirez will be out of today’s lineup and will be re-evaluated on Thursday. Ramirez was having trouble running in warm-ups on Tuesday and they are going to make sure he is ready before putting him back in the lineup. Monday, Mark O’Neal said losing Ramirez for an extended period would be devastating to the team. They are not going to rush him back.
Derrek Lee should be back in the lineup today after Piniella gave him Tuesday night off…especially with Doug Davis on the mound for Arizona.
A quick show reminder…The CCO Radio will air live tonight at 7:00pm C.T. following the Cubs final game of the road trip against the D’Backs on Blog Talk Radio. To listen to the 60-minute call-in show live, click on this link and go to Blog Talk Radio. The podcast of the show will be available around 9:00pm C.T. and can be accessed through the player on the right side of the CCO or through Blog Talk Radio.
Discuss the Cubs-D’Backs game and everything Cubs with Brian and Shaun. The call-in number to talk Cubs with Brian and Shaun live is 347-237-4020.
Ryan Dempster has not pitched past the sixth inning in four starts this season and the Cubs are 2-2 in games he has started. Dempster cut down on his walks against the Cardinals and allowed only one in six innings to go along with six strikeouts. Dempster must throw strikes this afternoon and continue to limit his walks…the key to his outings.
The Cubs need more than just six innings from Dempster every time he takes the mound and today would be a great time to see the return of the 2008 version of Ryan Dempster.
Dempster did not receive a decision in the only game he faced Arizona last season. He allowed two runs on three hits in six innings with three walks and seven strikeouts on May 10 at Wrigley…the Cubs won the game 7-2 on a Saturday afternoon after Max Scherzer left the game.
For his career Dempster is 1-4 in 10 starts, 14 games, with a save against the D’Backs with a 5.73 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP.
- Eric Byrnes – 0-for-1
- Tony Clark – 1-for-1
- Mark Grace – 2-for-12 with 4 walks
- Conor Jackson – 1-for-3 with 2 walks
- Felipe Lopez – 4-for-23 with 2 doubles, a home run and a walk
- Augie Ojeda – 1-for-2
- Mark Reynolds – 0-for-3 with a walk
- Chris Snyder – 2-for-6
- Chad Tracy – 2-for-3
- Justin Upton – 0-for-3 with a walk
- Chris Young – 0-for-3
Doug Davis is the definition of a crafty lefty…and one the Cubs have never figured out, even in his time in Milwaukee.
Davis is coming off his worst start of the young season. He gave up five runs on nine hits in six innings to the Giants with a walk and five strikeouts. Before his last start Davis tossed an eight-inning shutout against the Giants in San Francisco.
The Cubs must make Davis get the ball up today and not swing at his pitch. Davis typically does not issue that many free passes (seven in 27 innings this season) but the Cubs must work the count and get him to pitch to them…not the other way around.
Davis is 7-6 in 14 career starts against the Cubs with a 3.52 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP…in 2008, 0-1 in one start with a 5.14 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP…in 2007, 1-0 in one start with a 1.29 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP.
- Milton Bradley – 2-for-11 with 2 walks
- Kosuke Fukudome – 0-for-1 with 2 walks
- Joey Gathright – 2-for-3
- Reed Johnson – 2-for-5 with a double
- Derrek Lee – 5-for-25 with a double, 3 home runs and 2 walks
- Aaron Miles – 1-for-8 with 2 walks
- Aramis Ramirez – 5-for-25 with a double, 2 home runs and 2 walks
- Alfonso Soriano – 5-for-18 with a home run and a walk
- Geovany Soto – 0-for-3
- Ryan Theriot – 4-for-9 with a walk
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….