Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Pirates – 05/25/12

Game Forty-Five: Cubs (15-29) vs. Pirates (20-24)
Game Time – 6:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet Plus – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183/914
Location – PNC Park, Pittsburgh

Ryan Dempster (0-2, 2.28/1.06) vs. A.J. Burnett (3-4, 2.24/1.33)

After a much needed day off, the Cubs return to the field tonight for the first of three against the Pirates. Pittsburgh has been quite the challenge for the Cubs in recent years (8-8 in 2011, 5-10 in 2010) and it figures to be of the same this season.

Dale Sveum will be back with the team tonight after missing Wednesday’s finale in Houston. The Cubs are struggling in just about every aspect of the game right now. The offense has scored runs in only four of the last 47 innings and it has been a long time since they played a complete game.

The Cubs offense will not get a break in this series. After tonight and facing A.J. Burnett, the Cubs will see Kevin Correia on Saturday and lefty Erik Bedard on Sunday afternoon. Sveum will counter with Paul Maholm on Saturday night with Matt Garza taking the hill in the finale on Sunday.

Reports last weekend suggested Steve Clevenger could be activated from the DL for this series. Clevenger is on a rehab stint with the Iowa Cubs. Clevenger served as the team’s DH on Tuesday and started Wednesday’s game behind the plate. Clevenger did not play Thursday and appears now to be on target to return Monday for the start of the series against the Padres at Wrigley. Carlos Marmol is also with the I-Cubs and is expected to see his first Triple-A action tonight.

Not only are the Cubs looking to get off the snide but so is Ryan Dempster. Dempster has not posted a win since August 11 (16 starts) and the Cubs are 3-13 over that span.

Updated 2:51pm CDT - Ian Stewart was in the original starting lineup for tonight’s game but was scratched due to soreness in his left wrist. According to reports, this is the same soreness he has been dealing with throughout the season. The Sun-Times is reporting that tonight’s scratch is more of a maintenance issue and not a re-injury or aggravation to the wrist.

Tonight all starts with Ryan Dempster

Ryan Dempster was very, very good over his first five starts of the season. Dempster did not allow more than two earned runs in any of his first five outings and in two of those games he did not allow an earned run. Dempster took advantage of his surroundings early, kept the ball down and threw strikes … but that has changed the last two times he’s taken the mound.

In order for Ryan Dempster to keep his team in games, he must maintain a 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio. Dempster accomplished the task in his first five outings but not in his last two, Dempster has struck out eight batters and walked four in 12 innings (five strikeouts, one walk in St. Louis, three walks and three strikeouts against the Sox). If Dempster struggles with his command again tonight, the Cubs will lose for the tenth time in a row.

Dempster does not have a record in three road starts this season and has allowed only four earned runs on 16 hits with four walks and 19 strikeouts in 20 innings (1.80 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP) … and even with his recent issues (rumors have suggested that Dempster’s back has been bothering him) he is 0-1 in his last four starts with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP.

Tonight marks the 25th time that Ryan Dempster has started a game against the Pirates. Dempster is 8-12 in 49 games, 24 starts, with a 5.57 WHIP. Dempster does not match up well with the Battlin’ Bucs and must bring his A-game tonight. Dempster was 2-2 in four starts versus the Pirates last season with a 5.25 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP. Dempster is 3-5 in 21 games, eight starts, at PNC Park with a 5.25 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP.

Pirates Career Numbers against Ryan Dempster

  • Pedro Alvarez – 1-for-5 with a double
  • Rod Barajas – 2-for-6 with a home run
  • Clint Barmes – 3-for-9 with a home run and a walk
  • A.J. Burnett – 0-for-2
  • Josh Harrison – 2-for-5 with a double
  • Garrett Jones – 3-for-23 with a double, a home run and four walks
  • Andrew McCutchen – 6-for-20 with a double, a home run and four walks
  • Casey McGehee – 10-for-27 with two doubles, a triple, a home run and three walks
  • Michael McKenry – 2-for-5 with a double
  • Jose Tabata – 2-for-10 with a triple and two walks
  • Neil Walker – 7-for-15 with two doubles, a home run and two walks

A.J. Burnett missed the first three weeks of the season and other than a miserable start against the Cardinals on May 2 in which he allowed 12 runs on 12 hits with a walk and two strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings, he has been very good for Clint Hurdle.

Burnett has not lost a game since the debacle in St. Louis and the Pirates are 4-2 in his six starts (3-0 in last three). Burnett picked up his second win in his last start in Detroit. Burnett held the Tigers to two runs on seven hits with three walks and two strikeouts in six innings.

A.J. Burnett has been nails at PNC this season. In three starts he is 1-0 with a 1.57 ERA and a 0.78 WHIP.

The Cubs have never beaten A.J. Burnett. The right-hander is a perfect 4-0 in five starts with a 4.06 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. Burnett topped Ryan Dempster at Wrigley last season while wearing Yankee pinstripes.

  • Starlin Castro – 2-for-3
  • David DeJesus – 3-for-17 with a double and two walks
  • Ryan Dempster – 0-for-2
  • Koyie Hill – 0-for-3
  • Reed Johnson – 0-for-3
  • Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-12

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

    DeJesus – RF
    Castro – SS
    Mather – CF
    LaHair – 1B
    Soriano – LF
    Cardenas – 3B
    Barney – 2B
    Hill – C
    Dempster – P

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Starlin Castro is hitting second with Joe Mather behind him in the third spot

    • Tony_Hall

      Good to see Castro in the 2 hole.  Not that Mather is a 3 hitter, but I would rather see our building blocks, hitting where they belong, versus hitting where the rest of the lineup dictates thye bat this year.

      • cubtex

        agreed. Hopefully Rizzo comes up and hits like he has in AAA. Castro and Rizzo hitting #2 and #3 would be a nice building block!

        • Tony_Hall

          That would be nice, I wouldn’t expect the Ruthian  type numbers…but, glad to see you with an optimistic thought :)  …especially when there hasn’t been much good going on for over a week.

          • cubtex

            Now they just need to figure out 6 other positions for next year :)

          • Tony_Hall

            Sad but true…

            We do know some, but there are question marks all over.

            C – Soto back?? Clevenger/Castillo combo
            1B – Rizzo
            2B – ???? Barney is fall back
            SS – Castro
            3B – Stewart???  not unless he gets healthy and his power comes back…nice glove, but….
            LF – Lahair (just had to list him for you)
            CF- BJAX???  Where’s the guy from ST and April?
            RF – DeJesus??? very likely if not traded this year.

            We need some guys to have good second halfs in Tennessee and Iowa,.

          • cubtex

            I think DeJesus will be back too and that is why I can’t see LaHair in LF after this year….especially if BJax is given CF. They really need a RH hitter with thump badly!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Updated 2:51pm CDT – Ian Stewart was in the original starting lineup for tonight’s game but was scratched due to soreness in his left wrist. According to reports, this is the same soreness he has been dealing with throughout the season. The Sun-Times is reporting that tonight’s scratch is more of a maintenance issue and not a re-injury or aggravation to the wrist.

  • Tony_Hall

    This losing streak needs to be stopped, and here’s hoping Dempster shows his veteran leadership with a very good outing.

  • Tom U

    Tonight’s minor league starters:

    Peoria – Starling Peralta (0-0, 0.00)
    Daytona – Austin Kirk (2-1, 2.68)
    Tennessee – Eric Jokisch (0-0, 0.00)
    Iowa – Rodrigo Lopez (1-0, 1.35)

    Notes:

    RHP Felix Pena and OF Yasiel Balaguert were promoted to Peoria from EXT; IF Kenny Socorro reinstated from the 7-day DL; C Rafael Lopez placed on the 7-day DL

    LHP Jeffrey Lorick and C Taylor Davis were promoted to Daytona. RHP Robert Whitenack assigned to Daytona from EXT

    RHP Ty’Relle Harris was promoted to Tennessee from Daytona

  • CubsTalk

    I am seeing 10 in a row…….

  • cubtex

    The free agent outfield market for next year is pretty slim and it is mostly all lefthanded. Josh Hamilton,Andre Eithier, Nick Swisher are the lh bats along with Shane Victorino and BJ Upton. The Cubs are too lefthanded and they need a big righthanded bat to compliment Rizzo. I can’t see it coming from here so they need to make a deal somehow for next year. Yes Soriano is aging but they better find some thump to take his place if they get rid of him.

    • paulcatanese

      As you can imagine I am disappointed that Campana is not playing and maybe this is the handwriting on the wall that he may be gone. But if he is not to play I am very pleased that it’s Mather out there and not Johnson.
      I have felt all along that Mather could be a sleeper and I like the way he plays.
      It just may be that he could be the right handed hitter to provide that “thump”. He should in my opinion get as much playing time as possible to find that out.
      When or I should say if Rizzo comes up it’s a no-brainer for him at first base, but am really not sure about LaHair moving to left field.
      Based on the range he has shown at first base, I actually prefer Soriono’s glove out there even with the bad knees.
      All I can say is what I had posted earlier that “Confusion Reigns”.

      • BosephHeyden

        Does Campana actually have any value by himself?  It just seems to me that he’d be a guy you trade for a fairly average veteran or two mediocre prospects, not one or two good prospect.

        • paulcatanese

          Any value by himself? Campana’s value is only in the eye’s of the beholder. He can’t hit for power, won’t throw too many runners out.
          What he does bring to the table is 200% effort.
          It’s too bad that he dosen’t have much more than his legs, and one bruise and he’s done.

          I realize that about him and that he is definatly on the fringe, just holding on. If he were to be traded he would have to go to a team that can afford the luxury of what he brings, speed, and the team would have to hit around him.

          His tenure in the Majors is probably one or two more years if that long. But while he’s here and with the Cubs, I like to see him play, it’s the only enjoyment I get out of this bunch.

          I do like Mathers, he always has a dirty uniform by the third inning, and he also gives a tremdous effort when he is out there, but watching only two guys is pretty slim pickins.
          Although Barney also gives effort and DeJesus, but also have their problems. come to think of it problems are rampant wih this team. But as a Cub fan I still watch each and every chance I get.

          • BosephHeyden

             Oh, don’t get me wrong:  Campana, ideally, should have pretty good value.  He doesn’t have power, but he has a lot of speed and covers a lot of ground, and is only going to get better with his bat.  However, the fact he doesn’t have any power right now is the part that gets me questioning what you can get for him.

            At this point, I get the feeling that, if you wanted something good to come out of a trade for Tony Campana (one very good prospect or multiple above average prospects), chances are you’re giving up one or two other guys (for the multiple above averages, it’s likely Campana and Barney, and you’re probably adding Soto for one very good prospect).

          • paulcatanese

            No,No, I didn’t take it as a downer, I just answered what I believe to be true. If he dosent hit for a little more power all he can bring is his speed.
            Believe me I think he could be sought after in a trade, other teams value what he brings, and I dont think he would not be taken right up.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Update on Carlos Marmol: Carlos Marmol scheduled to pitch in game tonight for Iowa and Sunday as well. Marmol could be back with the Cubs by Monday.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Update on Steve Clevenger: Steve Clevenger scheduled to play 9 innings Monday and Wednesday, and then be re-evaluated.

  • Duas

    Let’s end this losing streak with a blowout today! I’ve got a good feeling…

    • CubsTalk

       that good feeling you thought you had was bad gas.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Good at bats by DeJesus (7) and Castro (10) to start the game … saw 17 pitches.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Dempster can’t turn two … cost him a run.

  • BosephHeyden

    You start to realize how good Stewart is and how bad Ramirez was when you look at the efforts of the other guys at third.  Cardenas makes a great stop that Ramirez wouldn’t have made, then throws an ugly bouncer to LaHair which is a throw Stewart would have made.  Thankfully it didn’t hurt any.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs give Pirates a fifth out. LaHair should have scooped the low throw from Cardenas.

  • BosephHeyden

    That had the potential to be ugly.  Good thing that Castro only seems to swing when guys are on the move, because if DeJesus wasn’t running, that’s an out with zero purpose.

    • John_CC

       This is so hard to watch. I’m tired and just want to lay on my couch and watch baseball…I might have to watch a different game though…

  • RynoTiger

    unfortunately with all these hits and no runs being scored..it’s starting to become true…the Cubs are clogging the bases!  It’s like a Seinfeld episode.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Rodrigo Lopez throws one pitch and leaves the game. Jay Jackson takes over on the mound.

    • CubsTalk

       Maybe it was Mark Prior in disguise?

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Another good at bat by DeJesus

    • John_CC

       O for a hit with RISP. 

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs are 0-for-7 with RISP, six left on base after 5 innings

    • John_CC

       Little league baserunning by Soriano, what the hell was he doing? 

      Make it 0-10 with RISP

      • Texcubnut

        Make it 0-12 with RISP!

  • John_CC

    I really hope Dempster has a chance to play for a team that can score some runs. He deserves it.

    MLB Trade Rumors claims that he sold their Chicago home and appears ready to waive his 10-5 no trade rights. 

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    0-for-9 with RISP after six, eight left on base

  • Ripsnorter1

    Neil wrote:


    I really question Cardenas’ ability to field any position. I hope I am wrong. He looked better at the plate Monday night, worked the count more than he has. He should really be playing everyday in Iowa … If nothing else but to work on his defense.”
    Two errors tonight at 3B. 

    Guess you are right. 

    Lots of roster moves coming up when the DL gets emptied.

  • John_CC

    Juan Cruz looks like he’s 57 years old.

    • CubsTalk

      Drugs….it is always the drugs that make these people look like s***

  • CubsTalk

    Cubs are playing worst than the Bad News Bears.

  • CubsTalk

    Memo to Dale…pinch run for Mather late in the game.

  • CubsTalk

    At least LaHair hitting problems helps Theo of making it easier for himself to bring up Rizzo in mid June.

  • CubsTalk

    Poll question of the night…..

    Should Ryan Dempster be on the All Star team based on his low ERA?

    A – Yes
    B – No
    C – Only if he is still a Cub

  • Baron_S

    I feel TERRIBLE for Dempster — he has been stellar all season

    This offense is the worst I’ve ever seen

    • John_CC

       16 game … er, now 17 game winless streak for Demp.

    • CubsTalk

      Yeah….I feel sorry for anyone who is making $16 million a year and I have to pay $80 a ticket to see him lose.

  • Baron_S

    LaHair should be #1 trade bait if he heats up again..

    • CubsTalk

       too late……should have listen to me a few weeks ago.

  • CubsTalk

    Looks like that bunting competition we had in Spring Training is still not paying off.

  • CubsTalk

    That was a ball!

  • CubsTalk

    This ending has Neil writing up two different recaps.

  • John_CC

    What am I doing?

  • CubsTalk

    The way Dempster walked into the clubhouse, it looks like he is pissed off……he will waive his no trade clause now.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs lost 1-0 to Pirates Friday night

    Ryan Dempster: 1R, 7H, BB, 6K, 7.1 IP;
    Starlin Castro: 2-for-5; Joe Mather: 2-for-4

    Cubs: 10 hits (all singles), 0-for-12 RISP, 11 LOB
     

  • CubsTalk

    I believe Theo is looking for a new manager right now.  Players are not responding to Dale.

    Dale better kick some a** before his a** s kicked out of the door by Theo.

    • cubsron10

      So far i like Dale, i just dont think its his fault the team sucks.  Just look at who they have.  If you put out Joe Madden out there i dont see the Cubs doing much better.  Its not Dale’s fault the team just cant hit with runners in scoring position.

  • BosephHeyden

    So…plus side:  I don’t think it’ll take too much to convince Dempster to waive the “no trade” clause after this one.  Any other team likely wins this game.

    • CubsTalk

      yes…29 other teams could have won this game.

  • matthew8510

    when is enough enough get rid of soriano get rid of dumpster get rid of johnson get rid of baker get rid of stewart.enough is enough this is beyond ridiculious my sons 12 year old team plays better fundamentals than this team it is sickening

  • CubsTalk

    Talk going around with local sports radio is that Cubs will make major moves…….I don’t think Theo & Jed will wait for the end of the July. 

    I predict the winless streak ends on Saturday.

    • John_CC

       Wow, sports talk radio thinks that the Cubs will make major moves?  No kidding?