Game Ninety-Five: Cubs (42-52) vs. Astros (38-55)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Ryan Dempster (8-7, 3.57/1.20) vs. Wesley Wright (0-0, 5.59/1.55)
Updated – 5:08pm CDT – Lou Piniella announced he will retire at the end of the season Tuesday afternoon. During Piniella’s press conference, Tom Ricketts anounced Jim Hendry will return as the team’s GM going into next season.
Updated – 3:07pm CDT – Jeff Stevens Recalled from Triple-A Iowa – Mitch Atkins Optioned to Triple-A Iowa
How will the Cubs respond to the pounding they received Monday night? Lou Piniella will need a long outing from Ryan Dempster tonight … and they should make a roster move, or two, before the game. The pen has been taxed and Sean Marshall must only be used if the Cubs are ahead in the game.
The Cubs are 2-5 versus the Astros and 3-9 against the Bucs … that is a combined 5-14 record against two teams that enter play tonight a combined 45 games under .500. To put it simply, the Central Division has figured out how to the beat the Cubs on a regular basis. Lou Piniella’s crew is 15-26 versus the Central this season … 6-3 against the Brewers, so the Cubs are 9-23 against the Pirates, Astros, Cardinals and Reds.
Wesley Wright will be recalled from Triple-A Round Rock to make the start tonight. The 25-year old southpaw will take Felipe Paulino’s spot in the rotation … Paulino was placed on the DL with right shoulder tendonitis and suffered a setback during a throwing session on Friday. Paulino has been on the DL since June 21.
Wesley Wright posted a 4-0 record in 13 starts with a 4.18 ERA for the Round Rock Express.
Tonight it all begins with Ryan Dempster … and just winning a ballgame. Ryan Dempster is 3-1 in his last four starts and his coming off back-to-back wins against the Diamondbacks and Phillies. Dempster pitched a good game in the first of four versus the Phillies and made only one mistake. Dempster served up a first inning homer to Ryan Howard, a two-run shot, but those were the only runs the Phillies managed in 6 2/3 innings.
Dempster gave up six hits, walked three and struck out nine in route to his eighth win of the season.
Ryan Dempster must keep the ball in the park tonight. The longball has really been Dempster’s undoing this season. After allowing 22 home runs all last season in 200 innings, teams have already knocked 17 out of the park this year in 128 2/3 innings.
Nine of Dempster’s 17 home runs have been hit in his last nine starts dating back to May 30.
Ryan Dempster is 4-4 in nine starts at Wrigley this season with a 3.41 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP.
Tonight will be Dempster’s third start of the year versus Houston … 1-0 in two games with a 2.57 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP.
Astros Career Numbers against Ryan Dempster
- Lance Berkman – 14-for-54 with a double, 4 home runs and 12 walks
- Michael Bourn – 7-for-19 with a double and 4 walks
- Pedro Feliz – 3-for-12 with a home run and 2 walks
- Jeff Keppinger – 11-for-24 with 2 doubles and a home run
- Carlos Lee – 9-for-30 with 2 doubles, a home run and a walk
- Hunter Pence – 9-for-28 with a double, 2 home runs and a walk
- Humberto Quintero – 2-for-10 with a home run and a walk
- Wesley Wright – 1-for-2
Wesley Wright will make his first big league start tonight. Wright has been in the Astros’ system since 2008 when they selected him in the Rule 5 Draft from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Wright has 126 big league games on his resume, all in relief, and has had success against the Chicago Cubs.
Wright has not pitched in the Majors since a relief stint versus the Rangers on June 18. Wright gave up a pair of runs on two hits in two innings.
Tonight will be Wesley Wright’s 14th career appearance against the Cubs. Wright is 2-0 in 13 games (10 2/3 innings) with a 5.06 ERA and a 1.64 WHIP. At Wrigley, Wright is 2-0 in six appearances (5 1/3 innings) with an 8.44 ERA and a 2.25 WHIP.
The Cubs must be patient tonight with Wesley Wright. He has a very good arm but can be quite wild. Lou’s crew must not allow him to get comfortable and gain confidence early on.
Cubs Career Numbers against Wesley Wright
- Marlon Byrd – 0-for-2
- Tyler Colvin – 0-for-1
- Ryan Dempster – 0-for-2
- Mike Fontenot – 0-for-3
- Kosuke Fukudome – 2-for-4 with a double and a walk
- Koyie Hill – 0-for-2 with a walk
- Derrek Lee – 0-for-2 with 2 walks
- Aramis Ramirez – 2-for-2 with 2 walks
- Alfonso Soriano – 0-for-3 with a walk
- Geovany Soto – 0-for-2
- Ryan Theriot – 0-for-2 with 3 walks
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 …