Game Fifty-Five: Cubs (23-31) vs. Cardinals (33-25)
Game Time – 7:15pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV, MLB Network – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 89
Location – Busch Stadium, St. Louis
Ryan Dempster (4-4, 6.00/1.49) vs. Jaime Garcia (5-1, 3.28/1.19)
After a much-needed day off, the Cubs begin a very difficult stretch of 38 games in 38 days with the first of three against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cubs play 10 straight on the road before returning to Wrigley. Following the weekend in St. Louis, the Cubs travel to Cincinnati for three then to Philly for a four-game series. The Cubs have only one more day off before the All-Star break (June 23) and their next 17 games are against teams with winning records (Cardinals, Reds, Phillies, Brewers, Yankees).
While just about everything is going wrong for the Cubs right now, Tony LaRussa’s team is in first place and have played extremely well through all of their adversity. The Cardinals placed Matt Holliday on the DL on Thursday night with a left quad strain.
Aramis Ramirez is not expected to play tonight after taking one for the team Wednesday and receiving stitches in his lip. Reports have suggested D.J. LeMahieu could get his first big league start tonight.
Mike Quade shifted his rotation slightly and will send Ryan Dempster, Randy Wells and Carlos Zambrano to the hill this weekend … and LaRussa will go with Jamie Garcia, Kyle Lohse and Chris Carpenter. With the way the offense struggled during the nine-game homestand (3-6), unless something changes the next three games figure to be just as frustrating for the Cubs.
The Redbirds took two of three from the Cubs at Wrigley last month (May 10-May 12) and tonight it all begins with Ryan Dempster … Ryan Dempster has posted a win in his last three decisions … but more importantly, his team is 4-0 in his last four starts. Dempster is coming off a solid outing against the Mighty Pirates. Dempster allowed two runs, both in the first inning, on four hits in six innings. Dempster walked three and struck out five … one of the few times Dempster has posted less than a 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio and still won a game.
Dempster finished May with a 3-1 record in six starts with a 3.08 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP … in his last two starts, 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP.
Tonight will be Dempster’s sixth road start of the season. He is 1-1 in the first five with an 8.37 ERA and a 1.86 WHIP. Dempster last road win came back on April 11 in Houston.
Dempster missed the Cardinals when they were at Wrigley (May 10 – May 12) and is 7-7 in 44 career games, 18 starts, with a 4.43 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP … at the new Busch Stadium, 2-1 in 12 games, five starts, with a 3.12 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP.
Cardinals Career Numbers against Ryan Dempster
- Lance Berkman – 14-for-55 with a double, 4 home runs and 14 walks
- Allen Craig – 0-for-3
- Jon Jay – 1-for-9 with a triple
- Mark McGwire – 2-for-9 with 2 home runs and 5 walks
- Yadier Molina – 8-for-29 with a double and 4 walks
- Albert Pujols – 15-for-47 with 2 doubles, 6 home runs and 10 walks
- Colby Rasmus – 1-for-8 with a double and a walk
- Skip Schumaker – 18-for-40 with 3 doubles and a walk
Jamie Garcia is coming off the worst outing of his career. The Rockies pounded the Cardinals’ southpaw to the tune of 12 runs, 11 earned, on 11 hits with four walks and six strikeouts in just 3 1/3 innings. Garcia picked up his first loss of the season … and it was just the fourth time the Redbirds lost a game that Garcia started (7-4).
Garcia finished May with a 2-1 record in six starts with a 4.23 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP after a spectacular April (3-0 in five starts with a 2.08 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP). One of Garcia’s two wins last month came against the Cubs back on May 12 at Wrigley. Garcia held the Cubs to one run on nine hits in seven innings. The Cubs struck out four times and walked just once.
Jamie Garcia is 1-1 in three career games, two starts, against the Cubs with a 1.93 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Jamie Garcia
- Darwin Barney – 1-for-7
- Starlin Castro – 1-for-4 with a double
- Tyler Colvin – 0-for-2
- Kosuke Fukudome – 0-for-1
- Carlos Pena – 0-for-2 with a walk
- Aramis Ramirez – 2-for-7 with a double
- Geovany Soto – 2-for-2
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