Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Marlins – 04/17/12

Game Eleven: Cubs (3-7) vs. Marlins (4-6)
Game Time – 6:10pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187/903
Location – Marlins Park, Miami

Ryan Dempster (0-1, 1.88/0.91) vs. Josh Johnson (0-2, 8.38/2.48)

The Chicago Cubs get back to work tonight with the first of three at the Marlins’ new park in Miami. Following Thursday morning’s finale, the Cubs return home to open a three-game weekend series with the Reds.

The Cubs split the six games (3-3) they played against the ‘old‘ Florida Marlins last season. But that was then and a lot is expected of the new-look Miami Marlins this season. They spent quite a bit of money on free agents Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle in the off-season, plus they brought Ozzie Guillen back to the organization. The Marlins also worked a deal with the Cubs in the off-season to add depth to their starting staff. The Cubs will not face Carlos Zambrano during this series … the Fish make their annual trip to Wrigley in mid-July (July 17-19).

Dale Sveum is sending his top three pitchers to the hill during the series in Miami. After tonight’s match-up of Opening Day starters, Matt Garza faces Mark Buehrle on Wednesday night with Jeff Samardzija squaring off against Ricky Nolasco on Thursday morning in the finale.

Tonight all begins with Ryan Dempster

Ryan Dempster will make his first start of the season tonight outside of Wrigley Field. Dempster has put together two solid outings to begin the year and could easily be 2-0 going into tonight’s start. Dempster held the Brewers to two runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings with three walks and five strikeouts in his last outing. Dempster made one mistake and George Kottaras made him pay for it. Dempster must work on limiting his walks tonight and maintaining a 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio.

Dempster was horrible on the road last season. In 16 starts Dempster was 4-6 with a 6.08 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP, teams hit nearly .300 against him (.295) outside of Wrigley.

Ryan Dempster will face the organization he broke into the bigs with back in 1998 for the first time outside of the converted football stadium. Dempster is 4-1 in 16 career games, six starts, against the Fish with a 2.11 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP.

Marlins Career Numbers against Ryan Dempster

  • Emilio Bonifacio – 1-for-14 with a walk
  • John Buck – 2-for-6
  • Chris Coghlan – 2-for-6 with a double
  • Greg Dobbs – 4-for-8 with a double
  • Omar Infante – 2-for-10 with a double
  • Josh Johnson – 0-for-2
  • Austin Kearns – 3-for-15 with two doubles and a walk
  • Logan Morrison – 1-for-7 with a double and two walks
  • Hanley Ramirez – 4-for-14 with a double, a home run and two walks
  • Jose Reyes – 4-for-9 with a triple and a walk
  • Gaby Sanchez – 1-for-9
  • Giancarlo (Mike) Stanton – 2-for-7 with a walk
  • Carlos Zambrano – 1-for-2 with a double and a walk

The Cubs will get their first look at Josh Johnson since the 2008 season. The oft-injured but incredibly talented right hander is coming off an injury shortened 2011 campaign and is off to a bad start this year.

The Cardinals pounded out 10 hits against Johnson on Opening Night but managed just three runs in six innings, still a quality start. The Phillies knocked Johnson out of the game in the fourth inning of his last outing. Philadelphia scored six runs, all earned, on 11 hits in 3 2/3 innings. Johnson struck out one and walked one … and there are rumblings that he could already be hurt again.

The Marlins need the Josh Johnson who posted an 11-6 record in 28 starts in 2010 with a 2.30 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP in order to compete in the NL East this season.

Josh Johnson makes his third career start against the Cubs tonight. In three games, two starts, Johnson is 0-1 with a 6.57 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Josh Johnson

  • Marlon Byrd – 0-for-3 with a walk
  • Ryan Dempster – 0-for-2
  • Blake DeWitt – 1-for-8 with a walk
  • Reed Johnson – 2-for-5 with a home run
  • Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-13 with a double
  • Geovany Soto – 2-for-5 with a home run and a walk
  • Ian Stewart – 1-for-9 with a home run

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