Game Ninety: Cubs (39-50) vs. Phillies (47-40)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WCIU – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 184
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Ryan Dempster (7-7, 3.61/1.20) vs. Jamie Moyer (9-8, 4.51/1.08)
It’s the unofficial start to the second half of the season and while the Cubs’ post-season aspirations are over, maybe Lou’s crew can just play better ball over the last 73 games.
The Cubs dug themselves such a big hole in the first 89 games, and it is a shame. The NL Central is so weak if they could have done a better job against the Pirates, the Northsiders would be in the thick of the race. Over the final 10 games leading into the All-Star break, the Cubs at 5-5 had the best mark in the division … along with the Houston Astros.
The Cubs enter play tonight 11 games under .500 and in fourth place in the division. A march at mediocrity would be a welcome change to the way the Cubs have played ball this season.
Marlon Byrd provided one of the few highlights for the Cubs this season during the All-Star game Tuesday night … and outside of Starlin Castro’s debut and Ted Lilly’s one-hit wonder the Cubs’ best on-field moment of the first half.
The Cubs’ offense will not get a break to start the second half. After Jamie Moyer, the Cubs will face Joe Blanton, Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay before the four-game set with the Phillies wraps up on Sunday night baseball.
The rumors are still flying but Jim Hendry has yet to make a deal. Players like Ted Lilly, Xavier Nady, Derrek Lee, Ryan Theriot, Jeff Baker, Kosuke Fukudome and even Carlos Zambrano continue to make the rounds in the mill.
Speaking of Carlos Zambrano. When Jim Hendry placed Zambrano on the restricted list, reports suggested Zambrano would return after the break. Zambrano has reported to Arizona to prepare for his return … at this point the earliest Z figures to return is the first week in August.
Tonight it all begins with Ryan Dempster … and just playing better ball. Ryan Dempster is coming off a win versus the D’Backs on July 7. Dempster gave up three runs on eight hits in five innings but struggled mightily with his command. The five-inning start marked the first time all season Dempster did not pitch into the sixth inning.
It was clear to all that watched the game that Dempster was pitching on fumes. His velocity was down and just about everything else was up. Dempster needed the break and hopefully the eight days off recharged his batteries.
Dempster is 1-1 in his last two starts with a 3.97 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP. Dempster has walked six in his last 11 1/3 innings with just 15 strikeouts. The key to Dempster posting a win is a 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio … and he has issued a lot of free passes, not to mention home runs, of late.
Ryan Dempster struggled against the Phillies when he faced them on May 20. The Phillies plated four runs on five hits in six innings. But it was home runs by Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins that led to Dempster receiving a no-decision.
The Cubs’ number one right-hander is 3-4 in eight starts at Wrigley this year with a 3.49 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP.
Phillies Career Numbers against Ryan Dempster
- Greg Dobbs – 0-for-1
- Ben Francisco – 0-for-3
- Ryan Howard – 2-for-9 with a double, a home run and 4 walks
- Raul Ibanez – 1-for-7
- Jimmy Rollins – 10-for-37 with 2 doubles, a home run and 6 walks
- Carlos Ruiz – 1-for-3 with a walk
- Brian Schneider – 2-for-12 with a double and 2 walks
- Shane Victorino – 3-for-11 with a double
- Jayson Werth – 2-for-7 with 2 doubles and a walk
The 47-year old southpaw is having another solid season for the Phillies. Jamie Moyer is still pitching and getting batters out. And it does not hurt that Moyer has the Phillies offense to pick him up from time to time.
Moyer has two complete games this year, more than the Cubs entire staff, but is coming off back-to-back losses.
The Braves beat up Mr. Moyer in his last outing and scored seven runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. Moyer is 0-2 in his last two starts with a 6.35 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP … he posted a 4-1 record in five starts in June with a 4.36 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP.
The Cubs beat Moyer for only the second time when they faced him back on May 19. Lou’s offense scored just two runs on four hits in seven innings and struck out seven times. The Cubs scored a pair in the ninth thanks to a single by Xavier Nady that turned a 2-1 lead into a 4-1 victory.
Moyer is 3-2 in eight career starts (4.27 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP) versus the organization that drafted him in the sixth round back in 1984.
Cubs Career Numbers against Jamie Moyer
- Jeff Baker – 3-for-9 with a double
- Marlon Byrd – 2-for-11 with a triple
- Starlin Castro – 1-for-3
- Mike Fontenot – 0-for-3
- Kosuke Fukudome – 2-for-6
- Koyie Hill – 0-for-2
- Derrek Lee – 5-for-13 with 3 doubles and 2 walks
- Xavier Nady – 2-for-6
- Aramis Ramirez – 1-for-14 with 4 walks
- Alfonso Soriano – 13-for-56 with 2 doubles, 4 home runs and a walk
- Geovany Soto – 2-for-9
- Ryan Theriot – 5-for-15
Ryan Theriot and Randy Wells are hosting a benefit for the Children’s Memorial Hospital on Wednesday, August 4 at Joe’s Bar. The CCO was asked to pass along the info on the event. For those interested, click on this link to Ticketmaster.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …