Game Sixty: Cubs (19-40) vs. Twins (24-34)
Game Time – 1:10pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 179/914
Location – Target Field, Minneapolis
Ryan Dempster (1-3, 2.59/1.08) vs. Francisco Liriano (1-6, 6.46/1.74)
Weather permitting … Ryan Dempster will try to end the Cubs’ 10-game road trip on a positive note this afternoon. Dempster posted the win in the Cubs’ lone victory (1-8) on the trip. Every time Dempster takes the hill could be his last in a Cubs’ uniform. The Dodgers, White Sox, Yankees and Red Sox are among the teams rumored to be interested in trading for him. Dempster could net the Cubs a couple of very good players if he waives his no-trade rights and it would give Dempster a chance to pitch for a contending team.
The Cubs have dropped 15 of 16 road games and during their current 4-20 skid, they are averaging just 3.6 runs per game … and without Alfonso Soriano’s 12 homers and 20 RBI over that span, only 2.8 run per game.
With Steve Clevenger struggling at the plate and Francisco Liriano (Cubs 2-13 in games started by lefties this season) on the hill look for Koyie Hill behind the plate in today’s finale. When Clevenger returned from the DL, Dale Sveum said he would give Clevenger a breather every couple of days.
In other news … Geovany Soto told the media Saturday that he would begin a rehab assignment with the Iowa Cubs on Monday.
The Cubs have not won a game in Minnesota since July 2000 and are on pace for a 52-110 season. The Cubs would have to post a 52-51 record the rest of the way in order to match last year’s 71-91 record.
Today it all begins with Ryan Dempster …
Dempster acknowledged after the game he realized he had a perfect game going and mentioned that was the longest he had ever gone at any level without allowing a baserunner.
After just a miserable start against the Padres, Dempster rebounded nicely and has allowed one run combined in two of his last three starts. Dempster is 1-1 on the road this season in five starts with a 1.31 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP.
Ryan Dempster has pitched his way onto a competitive team, whether he chooses to pitch in meaningful games for the rest of the season is his choice.
Today marks Dempster’s third career appearance and second start against the Twins. Ryan Dempster is 0-1 with a 19.80 ERA and a 3.20 WHIP (11 runs on 12 hits with four walks and two strikeouts in five innings).
Jamey Carroll (3-for-8 with a walk), Ryan Doumit (4-for-23 with a walk) and Josh Willingham (1-for-7 with a double and two walks) are the only Twins that have faced Ryan Dempster.
Six years ago Francisco Liriano was considered to be one of the best young pitchers in the game with a very bright future ahead of him. Liriano posted a 12-3 record in 28 games, 16 starts, with a 2.16 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. In 121 innings that season, Liriano struck out 144 batters and walked 32. Injuries have derailed his career and he is struggling again this season.
In 13 games, eight starts, Liriano has walked 29 and given up 51 hits in 46 innings this year.
Liriano is coming off a solid start against the Royals (one run on four hits with a walk and eight strikeouts in six innings) and has allowed only one earned run in his last 12 innings (two starts).
Francisco Liriano has never faced the Cubs and only Reed Johnson (0-for-1) and David DeJesus (2-for-12 with a walk) have faced the southpaw.
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