Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Red Sox – 06/15/12

Game Sixty-Four: Cubs (21-42) vs. Red Sox (31-32)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet, MLB Network – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 177/914
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Ryan Dempster (2-3, 2.31/1.03) vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-1, 7.20/1.20)

The Chicago Cubs open a three-game series this afternoon with the Boston Red Sox in what could be Ryan Dempster’s final start at Wrigley in a Cubs’ uniform. Ryan Dempster is winless at the old ballpark this season and it would be nice, for more than one reason, for Dempster to post a win this afternoon.

With Dempster being in demand (10 teams rumored to be interested), Epstein and Hoyer figure to get more in return if they deal Dempster sooner rather than later. Ryan Dempster is pitching on regular rest this afternoon. Jeff Samardzija was pushed back a day in order to give him a little more time in between starts.

Theo Epstein will face the team he grew up rooting for and the organization he led to two World Championships for the first time this weekend. There figures to be a lot of good sound bites from both sides this weekend.

The Red Sox took two of three from the Cubs at Fenway last year … and the Cubs took two of three from the Sox at Wrigley in 2005. After Ryan Dempster this afternoon, Dale Sveum will send Jeff Samardzija and Paul Maholm to the hill in game two and three while Bobby Valentine will counter with Jon Lester and Josh Beckett.

Today it all begins with Ryan Dempster …

Ryan Dempster has posted wins in each of his last two starts. Dempster has not allowed a run of any kind his last 15 innings while the Cubs have scored 18 runs in Dempster’s last two starts.

Dempster tossed eight innings of shutout ball in his last start in Minnesota. Dempster allowed only four hits, all singles, with one walk and six strikeouts (maintained 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio). While many said it was “just” the Twins, basically the same lineup recorded 32 hits (16 in each game) in the first two games of that series.

Ryan Dempster is 0-2 in five starts at Wrigley this year with a 3.98 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP.

Today will be Dempster’s fourth career start and fifth appearance against the Red Sox. Dempster owns a 1-1 record with a 7.13 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP. Dempster has not faced Boston since June 11, 2005 … and he picked up the save in a 7-6 Cubs win. Todd Wellemeyer beat Wade Miller in a game started by Carlos Zambrano. Jeremy Burnitz, Aramis Ramirez, Todd Walker and Todd Hollandsworth had multi-hit nights for Dusty Baker.

Red Sox Career Numbers against Ryan Dempster

  • Adrian Gonzalez – 2-for-14 with two home runs and three walks
  • David Ortiz – 1-for-3
  • Scott Podsednik – 7-for-18 with two doubles, a triple, a home run and four walks
  • Nick Punto – 0-for-4 with a walk
  • Jarrod Saltalamacchia – 1-for-1 with a double
  • Ryan Sweeney – 1-for-3

After spending a majority of last season on the shelf (3-3 in eight games, seven starts with a 5.30 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP), Daisuke Matsuzaka made his 2012 debut six days ago against the Washington Nationals. Bryce Harper and company scored four runs on five hits off Matsuzaka in five innings. Dice-K walked one and struck out eight.

Matsuzaka has not been the same pitcher that broke onto the big league scene in 2007 since he participated in the World Baseball Classic in 2009. Matsuzaka has struggled with his health and his command.

Daisuke Matsuzaka has never faced the Cubs and will pitch at Wrigley for the first time this afternoon. Dale Sveum’s offense must be patient and make Dice-K work today.

Cubs Career Numbers against Daisuke Matsuzaka

  • David DeJesus – 4-for-9 with a home run and a walk
  • Reed Johnson – 1-for-3
  • Bryan LaHair – 1-for-3
  • Luis Valbuena – 3-for-9 with a double

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Quote of the Day

"Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points." – Knute Rockne