Game Thirty-Three: Cubs (15-17) vs. Reds (17-16)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Ryan Dempster (1-3, 8.05/1.74) vs. Johnny Cueto (0-0, -.–/-.–)
Happy Mother’s Day from the CCO!
For the sixth time this season the Cubs will go into play on a Sunday with a chance to win a series. The Cubs have not been able to close out a series with a victory on Sunday (0-5) yet this year … and until Q’s squad is able to do so they will continue to flirt with the mediocre mark.
Starlin Castro should be back in the starting lineup this afternoon following a much-needed day off. Darwin Barney might be the odd man out today. Barney could probably use a day and Quade might want to stick with Blake DeWitt for another day. DeWitt is coming off a big game and has a 3-for-10 mark in his career against Johnny Cueto.
The Reds will activate Johnny Cueto prior to this afternoon’s game. The very talented young right-hander has been on the DL since March 22 with mild inflammation in his right shoulder.
This afternoon’s game is very similar to the one that took place a year ago in Cincinnati.
On Sunday May 9, 2010, the Cubs were 14-17 and the Reds owned a 15-15 record. Ryan Dempster and the Cubs took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the seventh. Dempster put two on ahead of Joey Votto. After a meeting on the mound, Lou Piniella left Dempster into face the Reds’ first baseman. Votto hit a three-run blast on Dempster’s first pitch and the Reds went onto post a 5-3 win. The Cubs went the wrong direction following Votto’s homer and the Reds went onto win the division.
The Cubs are 7-9 at Wrigley Field in 2011 and today it all starts with Ryan Dempster … Ryan Dempster’s season began on his seventh outing of the year. Dempster is coming off an excellent start against the Dodgers in which he allowed one run on six hits in seven innings. Dempster walked two (both in the first inning) and struck out five (three in his final inning of work). Dempster received a no decision and appeared to right the proverbial ship but will face a huge test this afternoon.
With all due respect to the Dodgers they are not the Cincinnati Reds. Dempster has struggled with the likes of the Rockies, Pirates and D’Backs and will face his biggest challenge today. Not only will Dempster have to keep the Reds off the board but he will also have to pitch better than he has at Wrigley in nearly a full season.
Ryan Dempster has not posted a win at Wrigley since August 4 of last year (Cubs are 1-6 in those seven games) … since May 9, 2010 (vs. Reds) Ryan Dempster has posted just four wins in his home park.
Dempster is 5-6 in 37 career games, 13 starts, versus the Reds with a 4.20 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP … last season Dempster was 0-2 against the Reds in two starts with a 4.73 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. Ryan Dempster has not beaten Cincinnati since 2008 (2-1 in three starts with a 2.37 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP.
Reds Career Numbers against Ryan Dempster
- Jay Bruce – 1-for-8 with a double and 3 walks
- Miguel Cairo – 1-for-8
- Johnny Cueto – 0-for-2
- Jonny Gomes – 1-for-4 with a double and 2 walks
- Ryan Hanigan – 1-for-4
- Ramon Hernandez – 6-for-12 with a double and 2 walks
- Brandon Phillips – 3-for-21 with a home run and 2 walks
- Edgar Renteria – 8-for-24 with 2 home runs and 4 walks
- Drew Stubbs – 1-for-6
- Joey Votto – 3-for-15 with 2 home runs and 2 walks
Johnny Cueto will make his first start of the season. Cueto has been on the 15-day DL since March 22 with right biceps irritation. Cueto is one of the best young pitchers in the league and the Cubs must make his work this afternoon.
Cueto can get wild from time to time. If Q’s offense can force him to throw a lot of pitches early it could pay dividends … that is if the Cubs can hit with runners in scoring position.
Johnny Cueto was 12-7 in 31 starts in 2010 with a 3.64 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP.
This afternoon will be Cueto’s 11th career start against the Cubs. He is 3-5 in the first 10 with a 3.77 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP … at Wrigley, 1-3 in six starts with a 2.92 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP. Cueto was a spectacular 1-0 in two starts versus the Cubs last season with a 0.69 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Johnny Cueto
- Marlon Byrd – 4-for-5 with a double and a walk
- Starlin Castro – 1-for-5 with 2 walks
- Tyler Colvin – 2-for-6 with a double
- Ryan Dempster – 0-for-2
- Blake DeWitt – 3-for-10
- Kosuke Fukudome – 5-for-21 with a double, a home run and a walk
- Koyie Hill – 2-for-5 with 2 doubles and a walk
- Reed Johnson – 3-for-8 with a double
- Aramis Ramirez – 5-for-19 with a double, 2 home runs and 4 walks
- Alfonso Soriano – 8-for-23 with 3 home runs and a walk
- Geovany Soto – 6-for-22 with 3 doubles, a triple, a home run and 2 walks
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