Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Astros – 04/18/10

Game Twelve: Cubs (5-6) vs. Astros (2-9)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 184
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Ryan Dempster (1-0, 4.38/1.30) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (0-2, 6.10/1.94)

Following a 2-4 first week of the season, the Cubs won three of the first four of the homestand before losing on Saturday. A victory this afternoon would not only give them a 4-2 homestand against the Brewers and Astros but it would be the first time since 2003 the Cubs won the first two series at home to begin a season (two of three from the Montreal Expos and Pittsburgh Pirates).

Lou Piniella’s offense has performed a lot better over the last five games but is still lacking consistency, especially against good pitching. Runs should be at a premium this afternoon if Wandy Rodriguez is back at the top of his game. Not only does Ryan Dempster need to bring his A-game, the Cubs defense must not give the Astros extra outs.

The Cubs depart on a seven-game road trip following Sunday’s game with four against the Mets and three in Milwaukee. The offense must make Wandy Rodriguez work … and not swing early and often on getaway day.

A 4-2 homestand sounds much better than 3-3 and two games under .500 …

After a tremendous first start of the year against the Braves, Ryan Dempster put together a decent outing versus the Brewers the last time out. Dempster gave up five runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings with four walks and five strikeouts … a rare win for Dempster when he does not maintain a 3:1 walk ratio.

The offense jumped on Doug Davis early in the Cubs’ home opener and reportedly Dempster threw to contact. He admitted after the game that his inability to throw first pitch strikes led to his less than stellar outing. With Wandy Rodriguez on the hill for Houston, Dempster will have to be on top of his game this afternoon.

Ryan Dempster has beaten the Astros just four times in 44 career games, 18 starts. Dempster is 4-10 (16 saves) with a 4.44 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP.

Last season Dempster did not receive a decision in three starts against Houston. He allowed nine runs, eight earned, on 22 hits in 18 innings with three walks and 12 strikeouts (4.00 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP) … in 2008, 1-3 in four starts with a 3.12 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP.

Astros’ Career Numbers against Ryan Dempster

  • Geoff Blum – 14-for-48 with a double and 5 walks
  • Michael Bourn – 6-for-15 with a double and a walk
  • Pedro Feliz – 2-for-6 with a home run and 2 walks
  • Jeff Keppinger – 9-for-18 with 2 doubles
  • Carlos Lee – 8-for-24 with 2 doubles, a home run and a walk
  • Kaz Matsui – 2-for-13 with a triple and 2 walks
  • Hunter Pence – 8-for-23 with a double and 2 home runs
  • Humberto Quintero – 1-for-4 with 2 walks
  • Wandy Rodriguez – 0-for-2
  • Cory Sullivan – 0-for-4 with a walk
  • J.R. Towles – 0-for-5 with a walk

Wandy Rodriguez has gotten off to a rough start this season after appearing to turn the corner on his career the past two seasons. Rodriguez was 9-7 in 25 starts in 2008 with a 3.54 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP. He followed up his breakout season by posting a 14-12 record in 2009 with a 3.02 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. In 33 starts, 205 2/3 innings Rodriguez struck out 193 batters and walked only 63.

In his first two outings against the Giants and Cardinals, Rodriguez has walked six with only four strikeouts (seven runs on 14 hits in 10 1/3 innings).

The Cubs owned Wandy Rodriguez early in the southpaw’s career but the past two seasons Rodriguez has owned the Chicago Cubs.

Rodriguez is 4-4 in 13 career starts versus the Cubs with a 3.84 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP … at Wrigley Field, 1-3 in six starts with a 6.68 ERA and a 1.74 WHIP. Two seasons ago, Rodriguez was 1-0 in two starts against the Cubs with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP … in 2009, three no decisions in three starts with a 1.35 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP. Rodriguez struck out 17 Cubs and walked only seven in 20 innings.

Cubs’ Career Numbers against Wandy Rodriguez

  • Jeff Baker – 1-for-3 with a double
  • Marlon Byrd – 2-for-13 with a double and a walk
  • Mike Fontenot – 0-for-5
  • Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-6
  • Koyie Hill – 1-for-4 with a walk
  • Derrek Lee – 14-for-29 with 3 doubles, 3 home runs and 7 walks
  • Xavier Nady – 2-for-10 with a home run and a walk
  • Aramis Ramirez – 7-for-29 with a double and a walk
  • Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-17 with 3 walks
  • Geovany Soto – 2-for-8 with a home run and a walk
  • Ryan Theriot – 10-for-24 with 4 doubles and a home run
  • Chad Tracy – 0-for-3

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