Game Sixty-Five: Cubs (28-36) vs. A’s (33-33)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Ryan Dempster (4-5, 3.74/1.16) vs. Gio Gonzalez (6-4, 3.79/1.30)
Can Lou Piniella’s crew put one in the win column tonight? For the second time in three games the Cubs will try to avoid going nine games under .500 for the first time since June 2, 2007 (22-31) … the Cubs lowest mark under Lou Piniella.
Geovany Soto is expected to start behind the plate the next two games. The Cubs face back-to-back lefties to finish up the series against the A’s. The Cubs actually face southpaws in four of the next five games.
Jeff Baker will be at third and Lou Piniella must resist the urge to start Xavier Nady in right. The Cubs need Nady to hit in order to maximize his value but Tyler Colvin should play as much as possible, especially against lefties, so the next Cubs’ manager will know how to use him … instead of assuming he cannot hit southpaws.
If Piniella wants to get Nady some playing time he should sit Alfonso Soriano.
Kosuke Fukudome is receiving a little time off. His hitting coach, Kyosuke Sasaki, is in town from Japan working with Kosuke to try and get him on track.
Conor Jackson should be in the starting lineup tonight for the Athletics. Jackson was traded from Arizona to Oakland Tuesday and showed up to the park 15 minutes before game time. Jackson loves hitting Cubs pitching … .338/.443/.568/1.011 (seven doubles, two triples, two home runs in 23 games, 25-for-74).
From the concerning stat department … The Cubs are 9-15 in one-run games. The 24 one-run games is tied for most in the majors with Reds. Chicago’s 15 loses is the most in big leagues
Tonight it all begins with Ryan Dempster … Ryan Dempster struggled with his command in his last outing and received a no-decision against the Brewers. Dempster left after 5 1/3 innings with the lead despite walking five batters (tied a season-high). Dempster gave up three runs, two earned, on five hits … and for the first time this season, Dempster struck out less (3) than he walked (5).
The Cubs need a solid start from Dempster tonight but most importantly they need him to keep the ball in the yard.
Dempster is making a bad habit of serving up longballs. In his last eight starts teams have hit ten dingers in 53 1/3 innings … all ten were hit in eight games, the Dodgers (May 25) and Pirates (May 15) did not take Dempster deep.
Tonight will be Dempster’s seventh start of the season at Wrigley. He is 2-3 in the first six with a 3.71 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP.
Dempster has never faced the Oakland Athletics.
A’s Career Numbers against Ryan Dempster
- Rajai Davis – 0-for-1
- Gabe Gross – 1-for-5 with a walks
- Connor Jackson – 1-for-3 with 2 walks
- Kevin Kouzmanoff – 4-for-8
- Ryan Sweeney – 0-for-1
The Cubs will get their first look (in the regular season) at Gio Gonzalez tonight. The former White Sox farm hand is having a good season for the Oakland A’s.
The 24-year old southpaw is coming off a loss to the Giants (four runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings with four walks and four strikeouts) but is 4-3 in his last nine starts with a 3.83 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP.
Gio Gonzalez is 2-2 in seven road starts this season with a 4.74 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP … teams are hitting nearly 120 points higher against Gonzalez on the road (.283) than at home (.165).
Gonzalez will face the Cubs for the first time in his career tonight.
Marlon Byrd is the only player on the Cubs active roster that has faced Gio Gonzalez … Byrd is 1-for-3.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …