Game One Hundred Thirty-Seven: Cubs (69-67) vs. Pirates (54-82)
Game Time – 6:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – PNC Park, Pittsburgh
Ryan Dempster (8-8, 3.96/1.37) vs. Zach Duke (10-13, 3.71/1.30)
The Cubs are 2-2 on their current six-game road trip and a win tonight behind Ryan Dempster would guarantee the Cubs spending Thursday’s off day above the .500 mark. With the playoffs out of their reach, the Cubs must turn to finishing over .500 for the third year in a row, a feat the organization has not accomplished since posting six consecutive winning seasons under Leo Durocher from 1967 through 1972.
Alfonso Soriano will miss the remainder of the Pirates series. The Cubs have not decided when Soriano will have his left knee scoped that will end his 2009 season. Soriano could play against the Reds when the Cubs open a three-game series against Cincinnati at Wrigley on Friday. Soriano received more treatment on his knee Monday.
Jeff Samardzija is expected to re-join the Cubs today. The Cubs are toying with the idea of giving both Samardzija and Esmailin Caridad a spot start or two before the end of the year. The Cubs are looking for a way to limit Randy Wells’ innings over the final month of the season in preparation for next year.
Tonight it all begins with Ryan Dempster and not mailing in the remainder of the season. Ryan Dempster is coming off an unearned loss to the White Sox last Thursday. The Cubs defense was horrible and the offense was worse. The Cubs were shutout by Carlos Torres … another shutout at the hands of a mediocre, at best, starting pitcher. Dempster allowed three unearned runs on nine hits in seven-plus innings with a walk and seven strikeouts.
Like Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster needs a strong finish to an inconsistent season. The Cubs signed him to a long-term deal in the off-season and have gotten very little in return due to various reasons both on and off the field.
Ryan Dempster has pitched better on the road this season than at Wrigley, the exact opposite of a year ago. Dempster is 3-5 in 14 road starts with a 3.48 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP … at Wrigley, 5-3 in 11 games with a 4.59 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP.
Tonight will be Dempster’s second start of the year against the Bucs. He received a no-decision back on May 25 against a different Pirates’ team. Dempster left after just four innings in one of his worst starts of the year. Pittsburgh plated six runs, all earned, on seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
Dempster is 4-7 in 15 career starts (40 games) versus the Pirates with a 5.90 ERA and a 1.68 WHIP … at PNC, 1-4 in five starts (18 games) with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP.
- Ryan Doumit – 2-for-9
- Zach Duke – 0-for-3
- Jason Jaramillo – 2-for-2 with a double
- Andy LaRoche – 0-for-2
- Lastings Milledge – 2-for-4 with a walk
- Brandon Moss – 0-for-1 with a walk
- Ramon Vazquez – 5-for-8 with 2 walks
The Cubs will get another look at a very familiar face in Zach Duke tonight. Duke has given the Cubs ‘fits‘ his entire career and it has been more of the same this year. The Cubs always get their hits against Duke … but seldom score against the talented southpaw.
Tonight will be Zach Duke’s fourth start of the year against the Cubs. He is 0-2 in the first three and has allowed just eight runs in 21 1/3 innings. The Cubs have managed 24 hits and four walks in three starts but not many runs, a repeating theme for the 2009 version of the Chicago Cubs. Duke owns a 3.38 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP against Lou Piniella’s crew this season.
Duke has been very good at PNC this season. He is 7-5 in 13 home starts with a 3.25 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. In nine starts since the break Duke is 2-5 with a 4.66 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP, teams are hitting a very high .328 against him.
- Jeff Baker – 4-for-9 with 2 home runs
- Andres Blanco – 1-for-6
- Milton Bradley – 6-for-14 with 3 doubles, a triple and a walk
- Ryan Dempster – 0-for-2
- Mike Fontenot – 1-for-1
- Jake Fox – 2-for-6
- Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-6
- Sam Fuld – 0-for-3
- Micah Hoffpauir – 0-for-1
- Derrek Lee – 11-for-43 with 2 doubles, a home run and 4 walks
- Aaron Miles – 5-for-14 with a walk
- Aramis Ramirez – 12-for-36 with 6 doubles, a home run and 2 walks
- Alfonso Soriano – 15-for-36 with 4 doubles, 2 home runs and 2 walks
- Geovany Soto – 6-for-20 with 2 doubles and 3 walks
- Ryan Theriot – 13-for-36 with 3 doubles, a home run and 2 walks
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….