Game Fifty-One: Cubs (24-26) vs. Cardinals (28-22)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet, TBS Sunday Baseball – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Ryan Dempster (3-4, 3.31/1.03) vs. Adam Wainwright (6-3, 2.38/0.99)
Can the Chicago Cubs win two games in a row? The Cubs have won 9 of their last 13 and have beaten some pretty good teams over that span. But today they will face arguably the best starting pitcher they have seen so far this season. Simply put Adam Wainwright is one of the best in the game right now. The Cubs will have to put together one of, if not the best effort of the season this afternoon in order to win the rubber game of the series.
Lou Piniella is expected to announce this afternoon that Carlos Zambrano will start the finale Wednesday night in Pittsburgh. Ted Lilly is slated to pitch Tuesday, which means Tom Gorzelanny would begin the series in Pittsburgh on Memorial Day. It appears Zambrano will be slotted into Randy Wells’ spot in the rotation.
The Cubs are also expected to bring up Andrew Cashner by Monday. Reports have suggested Cashner would join the big league team soon but Kevin Goldstein (Baseball Prospectus) tweeted Saturday that he is hearing Cashner will join the Cubs in Pittsburgh.
If Andrew Cashner is called up, the Cubs will have to make two roster moves. One, they will have to clear a spot on their 40-man roster … the other move, they will have to send down another pitcher or put one on the DL.
The logical move would be to place John Grabow on the DL with ineffective-itis but it will probably be James Russell or Jeff Stevens that will be sent down to make room on the 25-man roster.
Don’t expect Tyler Colvin in the starting lineup today. Lefties are hitting .196 against Wainwright while righties are managing a .219 batting average. Wainwright has walked only eight left handed batters all season.
Today it all starts with Ryan Dempster … and just winning a ballgame. Ryan Dempster stepped up at the beginning of the homestand and his teammates need a similar performance this afternoon. Dempster put together his best outing of the year against the Dodgers … eight innings of shutout ball and he allowed only three hits. Dempster struggled with his command in the first three innings then settled in and found a groove. Dempster struck out seven, issued just one free pass and for only the second time since April 23 did not allow a home run.
In order for the Cubs to win this afternoon they need a carbon copy of Dempster’s performance against the Dodgers. Usually a game does not depend on one player but with Adam Wainwright on the mound, today’s outcome will come down to Ryan Dempster’s ability to keep the Cardinals off the board.
Today will be Ryan Dempster’s 16th career start versus St. Louis. He is 6-6 in 41 career games, 15 starts, with 15 saves and a 4.35 ERA (1.50 WHIP). Last season Dempster posted a 0-1 mark in four starts against the Redbirds with a 3.33 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP.
Cardinals’ Career Numbers against Ryan Dempster
- Matt Holliday – 3-for-8
- Felipe Lopez – 5-for-29 with 2 doubles, a home run and 2 walks
- Ryan Ludwick – 8-for-19 with 2 doubles and a home run
- Mark McGwire – 3-for-9 with 2 home runs and 5 walks
- Yadier Molina – 7-for-22 with a double and 3 walks
- Albert Pujols – 11-for-40 with 2 doubles, 2 home runs and 6 walks
- Colby Rasmus – 1-for-7 with a double
- Brendan Ryan – 2-for-7 with a home run
- Skip Schumaker – 13-for-31 with 2 doubles
- Adam Wainwright – 0-for-3
Adam Wainwright has quietly become one of the top five pitchers in the National League. Wainwright has out pitched Chris Carpenter this season and if not for Ubaldo Jimenez and Roy Halladay, Wainwright would be labeled the best in the Senior Circuit.
Wainwright has allowed more than two earned runs only twice in nine starts this season. He has completed at least six innings in every outing and has failed to complete at least seven only three times … he averages 7 2/3 innings per start. In 72 innings, Adam Wainwright has struck out 69 batters and walked only 19. In 10 starts he’s served up only three longballs.
To say Adam Wainwright has dominated this season would be an understatement.
The Cubs have found Wainwright just about unhittable over the last two seasons. Wainwright is 4-3 in 20 career games, 11 starts, against the Cubs with a 4.38 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP … but in 2008, he was 1-0 in two starts versus the Cubs with a 2.38 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP; in 2009 …3-0 in five starts with a 2.45 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Adam Wainwright
- Jeff Baker – 1-for-6 with a walk
- Ryan Dempster – 0-for-1
- Mike Fontenot – 6-for-17 with 2 doubles
- Kosuke Fukudome – 4-for-18 with a double, a home run and a walk
- Koyie Hill – 0-for-5
- Derrek Lee – 7-for-30 with a double and 5 walks
- Xavier Nady – 6-for-16 with a walk
- Aramis Ramirez – 12-for-32 with 4 doubles, a home run and 3 walks
- Alfonso Soriano – 4-for-26 with a double, a triple and 4 walks
- Geovany Soto – 4-for-14 with 2 doubles and a walk
- Ryan Theriot – 8-for-31 with 2 doubles and a walk
- Chad Tracy – 1-for-3 with a double
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …