Game Fifty-Seven: Cubs (29-27) vs. Astros (26-31)
Game Time – 1:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast Sports Net – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 185
Location – Minute Maid Park, Houston
Ryan Dempster (4-3, 4.12/1.28) vs. Russ Ortiz (3-2, 3.96/1.71)
The Chicago Cubs put the finishing touches on a very long road trip today with the last game of the year in Houston. The Cubs are 4-3 in what turned out to be an eight-game trek after the rainout last Thursday in Atlanta. But after four extra inning games and three different cities in ten games, the Cubs must be ready to play a few games at Wrigley Field.
Roy Oswalt was originally scheduled to start today’s game, then the Astros penciled in Mike Hampton earlier in the week…as of this writing it will be Ryan Dempster against Russ Ortiz in the finale of the three-game series.
Milton Bradley may or may not play today. After hearing Lou Piniella’s attitude so many times this season when asked about Bradley’s status, he is probably unsure as well. Bradley appeared to tweak something on Wednesday night and will likely be held out of the lineup. Micah Hoffpauir could use a little playing time and the Cubs’ offense needs a little production from right field.
Speaking of hitting, Lou Piniella was apparently unaware that Jake Fox was 5-for-6 as a pinch-hitter. According to the Sun-Times Piniella’s response, “My. God, don’t tell me that. Really? Five-for-six pinch-hitting? Oh, well.”
Look for Koyie Hill to get the start behind the plate today. While Geovany Soto appears to be on the verge of turning his season around, Piniella likes to give his catcher a day off following a night game.
But today, it all starts with Ryan Dempster… Ryan Dempster is coming off an unearned no decision against the Reds. Dempster gave up three runs, all in the first inning, after an error by Mike Fontenot, a double by Chris Dickerson and a two-run shot by Ramon Hernandez. Dempster struggled with his command but ended up going six innings and turning in a quality start.
Ryan Dempster’s personal struggles were finally made pubic over the weekend and the CCO sends out our best to Ryan Dempster and his family (link).
After a lot of inconsistency to start the year, Dempster has pitched much better of late. Since May 9 (six starts) he has allowed 14 earned runs in 37 1/3 innings (3.38 ERA) and has not surrendered an earned run since his horrible start against the Pirates on May 25 (six runs on seven hits in four innings).
This afternoon will be Dempster’s second start of the year against the Astros. Dempster received a no decision in the second game of the season and gave up two runs on six hits in six innings…the Cubs lost the game, 3-2.
Today will be Dempster’s thirteenth start of the year … the Cubs are 5-7 in his first twelve.
- Lance Berkman – 12-for-48 with 4 home runs and 12 walks
- Geoff Blum – 12-for-42 with a double and 5 walks
- Michael Bourn – 3-for-9 with a walk
- Darin Erstad – 0-for-6
- Matt Kata – 0-for-3
- Jeff Keppinger – 5-for-12 with a double
- Carlos Lee – 7-for-20 with 2 doubles, a home run and a walk
- Russ Ortiz – 1-for-3 with a walk
- Hunter Pence – 8-for-17 with a double and 2 home runs
- Ivan Rodriguez – 0-for-2 with a walk
- Miguel Tejada – 5-for-15 with a double and a walk
The Cubs will face Russ Ortiz for the third time this season. Ortiz replaced Brian Moehler on April 8 and tossed three innings of relief. The Cubs managed three runs on four hits with four walks and a home run off the veteran right-hander. Ortiz started the game against the Cubs on May 7 and allowed three more runs on six hits in 2 1/3 innings. For the year, Ortiz is 0-1 in two games with a 10.13 ERA and a 3.19 WHIP (six runs on 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings with seven walks and seven strikeouts) … the Cubs have hit .400 against him.
Ortiz has done a better job of late and is 1-0 in his last three games without an earned run and a 0.95 ERA … his last start came against the Cubs.
The Cubs must make him work this afternoon and not swing at a lot of pitches early in the at bats … just because it is getaway day.
- Milton Bradley – 6-for-16 with a double and 3 walks
- Ryan Dempster – 0-for-3
- Mike Fontenot – 1-for-3 with a home run
- Kosuke Fukudome – 2-for-2 with a double and 2 walks
- Koyie Hill – 4-for-5
- Micah Hoffpauir – 1-for-2
- Reed Johnson – 4-for-4 with 2 doubles and a home run
- Derrek Lee – 3-for-32 with a double, a home run and 5 walks
- Aaron Miles – 1-for-3
- Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-7 with a walk
- Ryan Theriot – 2-for-2 with 2 walks
Over the next two days the CCO will post a reminder of the upcoming premiere of a movie for the Faithful…We Believe. The premiere is Friday, June 12 at 10:30pm at the Chicago Theater (175 N. State Street).
This feature film documentary is a celebration of hope, loyalty, faith and the extraordinary love affair between a great city and its baseball team. We Believe explores the relationship between Chicago, the Cubs and their loyal fans.
Tickets run from $6 to $25 per person and are available for purchase at www.TheChicagoTheatre.com (a portion of all proceeds will go to six select charities)
‘We Believe’ Trailer
Fans can come early to watch their favorite players and celebrities walk the red carpet prior to the 7:15 VIP screening. The official pre-party will take place at The Wit Hotel from 8-10pm and tickets are available at WeBelieveParty.eventbrite.com
For more information please visit www.WeBelieveTheMovie.com
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball…