Game One Hundred Twenty-Eight: Cubs (56-71) vs. Braves (76-52)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Ryan Dempster (10-8, 3.80/1.37) vs. Jair Jurrjens (12-5, 2.84/1.17)
After winning two of three over the weekend from the Cardinals, the Cubs open a four-game series tonight against the Atlanta Braves. The Cubs took two of three from the Braves last week in Atlanta and played pretty good ball for the most part … especially after what took place in game one.
The Braves are coming off a weekend sweep of the Diamondbacks and Fredi Gonzalez has his team back on track. The Braves enter play tonight 6 1/2 games behind the Phillies in the east and eight games up on the Giants for the NL Wild Card.
With Ryan Dempster on the hill tonight, look for Koyie Hill to get the start behind the plate. Hill has caught Dempster’s last four starts and tonight is expected to be the fifth.
In other news … One-year ago today Lou Piniella managed his last game for the Chicago Cubs … and ironically enough it was against the Atlanta Braves. The Cubs finished last season on a positive note but overall the play on the field that began under Piniella’s watch back in 2009 has continued this year.
According to a report from the Tribune, the Cubs have tried but have been unsuccessful in contacting Greg Maddux since Friday. The Cubs would like to keep Maddux in the organization but Maddux is very close with Jim Hendry.
The list of candidates to become the next Cubs’ GM continues to grow. Various outlets have thrown out names such as Rick Hahn, Brian Cashman, Mike Rizzo (Nationals), Ned Colletti, Ben Cherington (Red Sox), Theo Epstein, Andrew Friedman and Josh Byrnes.
Andrew Cashner will begin a rehab stint with the Tennessee Smokies (Double-A) on Tuesday. Cashner is expected to make three-five appearances with the Smokies then move up to Iowa. Cashner is hoping to return to the bigs as a reliever shortly after the rosters expand on September 1 (Casher targeting early September).
Dave Eanet will call the game tonight along side of Keith Moreland on WGN Radio. Pat Hughes has a scheduled night off and will return on Tuesday. Tonight is the third game Pat Hughes has missed this season.
Tonight it all starts with Ryan Dempster … Ryan Dempster is coming off what should have been his fourth win in a row. Dempster left after seven innings with a 5-2 lead. Dempster allowed two runs (one in the first six innings) on four hits with three walks and seven strikeouts to the Astros … but Carlos Marmol served up a slam to Brian Bogusevic in the bottom of the ninth.
After just a horrible beginning to the season, Dempster is 4-2 in seven starts since the break with a 3.56 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP … in the last three, 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP.
The Cubs need a long, quality start out of Ryan Dempster tonight. Again, winning is always the goal but the starters need to finish strong to keep Mike Quade from over using pitchers like Sean Marshall, Jeff Samardzija, James Russell and Carlos Marmol over the last six weeks of the season.
Dempster did not face the Braves last week in Atlanta and is 2-11 in 28 career games, 17 starts, against the Braves with a 4.76 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP.
Braves Career Numbers against Ryan Dempster
- Michael Bourn – 9-for-26 with 2 doubles and 5 walks
- Brooks Conrad – 0-for-1
- Alex Gonzalez – 3-for-6 with a double
- Eric Hinske – 0-for-4
- Chipper Jones – 11-for-43 with 3 doubles, a home run and 7 walks
- Jair Jurrjens – 0-for-4
- Julio Lugo – 4-for-16 with 2 home runs and 3 walks
- Brian McCann – 0-for-10 with 3 walks
- Martin Prado – 2-for-6 with a walk
- Dan Uggla – 1-for-10 with a walk
Jair Jurrjens is one of the best young pitchers in the majors and despite a rough stretch that included a trip to the DL, he’s had an outstanding season. Jurrjens is coming off back-to-back losses … one on August 17 and the other way back on August 1.
The Giants pounded Jurrjens in his first start back from the DL. Jurrjens allowed five runs on eight hits with two walks and a strikeout in six innings of work. Jurrjens is 0-2 in his last two starts with an 8.18 ERA and a 1.73 WHIP … look for him to return to form tonight.
Jurrjens is just as good on the road (5-3 in 10 starts with a 2.86 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP) as he has been at Turner Field (7-2 in 11 starts with a 2.81 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP) this season.
The Cubs missed Jurrjens during the trip to Atlanta. Jurrjens is 0-1 in three career starts against the Cubs with a 3.50 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP … at Wrigley, 0-1 in two starts with a 4.85 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Jair Jurrjens
- Jeff Baker – 1-for-4
- Marlon Byrd – 1-for-5 with a triple and a walk
- Starlin Castro – 0-for-4
- Ryan Dempster – 1-for-5
- Blake DeWitt – 3-for-6 with 2 walks
- Koyie Hill – 2-for-3
- Aramis Ramirez – 2-for-8 with a double and a home run
- Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-8 with 2 doubles
- Geovany Soto – 0-for-3 with 2 walks
Follow the CCO on Twitter: @TheCCO
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …