Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Cardinals – 07/20/12

Game Ninety-Two: Cubs (38-53) vs. Cardinals (47-45)
Game Time – 7:15pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 186/914
Location – Busch Stadium, St. Louis

Ryan Dempster (5-3, 1.86/1.02) vs. Kyle Lohse (9-2, 2.80/1.10)

After another successful homestand, the Cubs begin a difficult six-game road trip tonight with the first of three against the Cardinals. The trip concludes Wednesday in Pittsburgh. Dale Sveum’s team is 4-4 against the Redbirds and this weekend is the Cubs final series in St. Louis this season. The Cubs will face the Cardinals and Pirates exclusively over the next 12 games. After three in St. Louis and Pittsburgh, the Cubs host the Cardinals and Pirates for a six-game stint at Wrigley … 26 of the Cubs next 32 games are against teams in the central.

After tonight’s matchup of Ryan Dempster and Kyle Lohse, Matt Garza and Jake Westbrook are penciled in to start game two with Travis Wood facing Lance Lynn in the finale Sunday afternoon.

The Cubs are playing their best ball of the season (14-5 in last 19, 5-0-1 in last six series) in the midst of all of the trade rumors and pending change to the roster and clubhouse.

Ryan Dempster may or may not take the ball for Dale Sveum tonight. Dempster is in the middle of the longest scoreless innings streak in the majors this season (33 innings) and is drawing a lot of interest. Casey Coleman will reportedly meet up with the team but will not be activated unless Dempster is traded … or if the newly acquire Justin Germano cannot make it to the park on time.

Bryan LaHair must be glad the Cubs will face Cardinals pitching in six of their next 12 games. LaHair is in a slump (.229/.289/.314/.604, one home run in last 12 games) and five of his 14 home runs this season have come against the Redbirds. LaHair owns a .343/.410/.771/1.182 slash line in 10 career games against the Cardinals.

Pat Hughes will be in Cooperstown this weekend for the enshrinement of Ron Santo.

Tonight it all starts with Ryan Dempster

Ryan Dempster is in the middle of his best stretch in a Cubs’ uniform. Dempster has not allowed an earned run since the fifth inning of a game against the Padres on May 30 … Carlos Quentin took him deep, a two-run shot. After three excellent starts against the Brewers, Twins and Red Sox, Dempster spent three weeks on the shelf but has not skipped a beat since he returned from the DL.

Dempster pitched five innings of shutout ball against the Mets in the final game before the break then added six more scoreless innings to his streak the last time out against the Diamondbacks. Dempster was not sharp, struggled with his command, but seemed to improve as the game went on. Dempster is 5-0 in his last five games with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.69 WHIP (20 hits, six walks and 21 strikeouts in his last 33 innings).

Ryan Dempster is 3-1 in seven road starts with a 0.95 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP.

Tonight will be Dempster’s second start of the season against the Cardinals. Ryan Dempster received a no decision on May 14 in St. Louis after allowing four runs on nine hits with a walk and five strikeouts in six innings. Dempster owns a career mark of 8-8 in 48 games, 22 starts, against the Redbirds with a 4.57 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP.

Cardinals Career Numbers against Ryan Dempster

  • Carlos Beltran – 6-for-12 with a home run and three walks
  • Lance Berkman – 19-for-65 with two double, six home runs and 16 walks
  • Matt Carpenter – 0-for-1
  • Allen Craig – 1-for-6
  • Daniel Descalso – 2-for-5 with a walk
  • Jim Edmonds – 9-for-32 with three doubles, two home runs and seven walks
  • David Freese – 2-for-10 with a double and two walks
  • Rafael Furcal – 6-for-41 with three doubles and seven walks
  • Matt Holliday – 7-for-24
  • Jon Jay – 4-for-18 with a triple and two walks
  • Kyle Lohse – 0-for-5
  • Yadier Molina – 15-for-40 with three doubles and five walks
  • Skip Schumaker – 22-for-51 with four doubles and two walks

Kyle Lohse has been very good for the Cardinals this season. Lohse has struggled with consistency throughout his career but not this year. After posting a 4-0 record in his first five starts with a 1.62 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP, Lohse stumbled a little in May (1-1 in six starts with a 5.08 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP) but was able to get back on track in June (2-1 in five starts with a 1.80 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP).

Lohse took a no decision in his last outing against the Reds (two runs on eight hits with a walk and three strikeouts in six innings) and is 2-0 in his last three starts with a 2.66 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP.

Kyle Lohse is 4-1 in eight home starts this season with a 2.78 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP.

Tonight will be Lohse’s second start of the year against the Cubs. Lohse took a no decision on May 15 in St. Louis after surrendering five runs on nine hits with no walks and five strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. Lohse is 2-4 in 14 career starts against the organization that selected him in the 29th round of the 1996 draft with a 5.59 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Kyle Lohse

  • Jeff Baker – 1-for-5
  • Darwin Barney – 4-for-11 with a double
  • Tony Campana – 3-for-6
  • Starlin Castro – 3-for-14
  • David DeJesus – 9-for-19 with a triple, a home run and a walk
  • Ryan Dempster – 2-for-6
  • Reed Johnson – 4-for-10 with a walk
  • Bryan LaHair – 3-for-6 with a home run
  • Alfonso Soriano – 18-for-47 with four doubles, three home runs and two walks
  • Geovany Soto – 6-for-18 with three double and a walk

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