Game Fifty-Three: Cubs (27-25) vs. Reds (28-26)
Game Time – 6:10pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 188
Location – Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati
Ryan Dempster (4-3, 4.48/1.27) vs. Matt Maloney (0-0, -.–/-.–)
Can the Cubs make it three road wins in a row? Lou Piniella’s crew will face a rarity tonight in Cincinnati. With Edinson Volquez placed on the 15-day DL Tuesday with right elbow tendonitis, the Reds will call-up lefty Matt Maloney to take his place in the rotation. Maloney will be the first left-handed starter used by the Reds this season…and only the second in the Reds last 236 games.
Maloney was 4-3 in 10 starts for Triple-A Louisville with a 2.00 ERA…in 67 1/3 innings he has recorded 58 strikeouts. The Cubs offense must make him work tonight. The scouting report indicates Maloney is always around the strike zone but they must be patient with the rookie in his big league debut.
Sean Marshall was originally slated to start tonight but was sent to the bullpen instead for the weekend…and more than likely beyond. With the rainout on Thursday night in Atlanta, Lou Piniella was able to push Ryan Dempster back and give him an extra day…and in turn put Sean Marshall in the pen for the foreseeable future.
Look for Geovany Soto to be back in the starting lineup tonight. Reports indicated Soto would likely return despite his struggles and the Cubs 9-5 record in games started by Koyie Hill.
Reports on Friday night indicated Jake Fox could get the start in right field tonight. With the southpaw on the Hill for the Reds, the Cubs outfield should consist of Alfonso Soriano, Reed Johnson and Jake Fox.
On the injury front, Aaron Miles is expected to make a rehab start tonight for the Iowa Cubs…and Rich Harden is slated to make a rehab start with Iowa on Sunday. Miles is eligible to return from the DL on June 10 in Houston.
But tonight all starts with Ryan Dempster… Ryan Dempster is coming off his best start of the season. Dempster tossed seven innings of three-hit shutout ball against the Dodgers…while battling a blister. Dempster recovered from his worst start of the season against the Pirates (six runs on seven hits in four innings) and showed why the Cubs front office paid him so much in the off-season to stay in Chicago.
Dempster has been inconsistent and has won just two of his last four starts…and on the road this season Dempster is just 1-3 in six starts with a 4.82 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP.
Ryan Dempster spent half of 2002 and all of the 2003 season with the Reds and struggled to an 8-12 record in 35 starts. For his career, Dempster is 5-4 with five saves in 34 career games, 10 starts, against the Reds with a 4.41 ERA and a 1.63 WHIP. At Great American, he has never posted a win. Dempster is 0-6 in 23 games, 10 starts, with a 6.53 ERA and a 1.88 WHIP.
Tonight will be Ryan Dempster’s first start of the season against the Reds. Against Dusty Baker’s team a year ago, Dempster was 2-1 in three starts with a 2.37 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP.
- Jay Bruce – 0-for-2
- Jerry Hairston, Jr. – 0-for-3
- Ryan Hanigan – 1-for-1
- Brandon Phillips – 2-for-12 with a walk
- Willy Taveras – 1-for-7
Matt Maloney was acquired in the trade that sent Kyle Lohse to the Phillies in July of 2007. Baseball America tabbed Maloney the 18th best prospect in the Reds’ system before the season. Maloney was fourth in the International League (Triple-A) in strikeouts last season with 132.
If Maloney pitches to his scouting report, it could be a long night for the Cubs offense.
Matt Maloney throws four pitches: a fastball in the 88-91 MPH range with a natural sink. Baseball America described his changeup as a plus pitch and his curveball and slider as average. Maloney relies on his command and is always around the plate. Maloney is known as a fly ball pitcher that gives up a lot of home runs…in 25 starts last season at the Triple-A level Maloney served up 18.
If the Cubs swing early and often and allow him to get comfortable, it will be another frustrating night for the offense.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball…