Game Forty-Six: Cubs (20-25) vs. Mets (22-24)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Ryan Dempster (2-4, 6.91/1.57) vs. Jon Niese (3-4, 4.39/1.41)
Following a difficult road trip (3-4) and a much-needed day off, the Cubs open a nine-game homestand tonight with the first of three against Ron Santo’s favorite team, the New York Mets. The Pirates and Astros will follow with the homestand coming to an end on June 1.
The Mets and Cubs are teams in transition and have a lot in common right now, with the big exception of the ownership drama that continues to make headlines in New York. Fred Wilpon had some sharp words about three of his top players … Jose Reyes, David Wright and Carlos Beltran.
The Cubs announced Sunday night that they had shifted their pitching rotation for the Mets series. Casey Coleman will follow Ryan Dempster and face Dillon Gee in game two. Carlos Zambrano and R.A. Dickey will square off in the finale Thursday afternoon. Doug Davis is scheduled to pitch the opener against the Pirates on Friday afternoon.
The Cubs must figure out how to play better at Wrigley. Q’s squad enters play tonight five games under .500 on the season and four games under .500 at home (9-13). Until the Cubs start winning at home on a regular basis they will remain below the mediocre mark.
The Cubs won three of seven against the Mets last season (two of three at Wrigley). Tonight it all starts with Ryan Dempster … After three solid starts against the Dodgers, Reds and Giants, Ryan Dempster slipped back into his early season form in his last outing against the Marlins. The Cubs needed Dempster to step up after two horrible games in Cincinnati and Dempster could not pitch into the sixth inning.
Dempster gave up five runs on eight hits with two walks and a hit batsman in five innings of work. Dempster struck out three and served up his 11th homer of the season. The bottom line is the Cubs came back and won the game but in order for the Cubs to stick around in the central they will need Dempster to step up his game.
Dempster is 1-3 in five starts at Wrigley this season with a 5.85 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP … and his teammates need him to begin the long nine-game homestand on a positive note.
In his last four starts Dempster is 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP.
Tonight will be Dempster’s 15th career start versus the Metropolitans. Dempster owns a career mark of 9-5 in 25 games, 14 starts, with a 5.58 ERA and a 1.86 WHIP … last season, 0-1 in one start with a 5.79 ERA and a 2.79 WHIP (seven runs, three earned, on nine hits with four walks and five strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings).
Mets Career Numbers against Ryan Dempster
- Jason Bay – 2-for-13 with 4 walks
- Carlos Beltran – 6-for-9 with a home run and 3 walks
- Scott Hairston – 1-for-5
- Willie Harris – 2-for-4 with a walk
- Daniel Murphy – 1-for-3
- Jon Niese – 2-for-3
- Ronny Paulino – 1-for-5
- Jose Reyes – 2-for-5 with a triple and a walk
- Josh Thole – 1-for-3 with a double
The 24-year old southpaw, Jonathan Niese, is beginning to pitch to expectations. The former seventh round pick of the Mets (2005) has been solid over his first nine starts … and is coming off a seven-inning shutout of the Nationals.
Niese tied a season-high in strikeouts (7) in his last outing and walked only one batter (third time this season). Niese has won his last two starts and the Mets are 4-1 in his last five.
After a so-so April (1-4 in six starts with a 4.71 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP), Niese is 2-0 in his last three starts with a 3.79 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP … on the road this season, 1-2 in four starts with a 5.70 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP.
The Cubs will face Jon Niese for the fourth time. The Mets’ southpaw is 1-1 in three starts versus the Cubs with a 6.75 ERA and a 2.11 WHIP. Niese posted a win in one of his two starts against the Cubs last season (1-0) with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.89 WHIP. Niese is 1-0 at Wrigley Field in his brief big league career with a 7.50 ERA and a 1.83 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Jon Niese
- Jeff Baker – 4-for-6
- Starlin Castro – 0-for-3
- Ryan Dempster – 0-for-2
- Reed Johnson – 2-for-2
- Aramis Ramirez – 2-for-8 with a home run
- Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-7 with a double and a walk
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