Dempster Dumps the D-Backs – Cubs 4, Diamondbacks 1

Game Eighty-Seven – Cubs 4, Diamondbacks 1
WP – Ryan Dempster (5-3) LP – Joe Saunders (4-6) Save – Carlos Marmol (9)

wflag.jpgIt took Reed Johnson crashing into the ivy in the ninth and the third double play of the game to end it as the Cubs were able to hang on and post their 11th win in the last 15 games. Dale Sveum’s team improved to 21-20 on the season at Wrigley behind another solid effort from Ryan Dempster.

Ryan Dempster pitched six shutout innings on Saturday afternoon and ran his scoreless innings streak to 33 in what could have been his final game in a Cubs’ uniform. On a day he clearly did not have his best stuff, Dempster was able to pitch out of jams with help from his defense. Dempster allowed only four hits with three walks and five strikeouts on 89 pitches, 56 for strikes, in route to his fifth straight win.

Ryan Dempster’s streak off 33 scoreless frames is the longest in the majors this season (R.A. Dickey, 33 2/3) and Dempster became just the fourth Cubs’ pitcher in the last 95 years to notch a scoreless innings streak of at least 33 innings (Ken Holtzman, 33 in 1969 and Bill Lee in 1938, 35 innings and 37 innings).

After Dempster departed, the Diamondbacks got on the board in the seventh inning. Chris Young hit a solo homer off James Russell and broke up the shutout. Shawn Camp pitched a scoreless eighth then it was time to fasten the seat belts in the ninth.

Carlos Marmol was not good for the second straight outing. Marmol could not find the strike zone (17 pitches, eight strikes) and was bailed out by his defense. Marmol gave up a leadoff double to Stephen Drew before issuing a five-pitch walk to Chris Young. Geoff Blum stepped in representing the tying run with two on and no outs. Blum pulled a 3-2 pitch to deep right that Reed Johnson caught as he hit the bricks. Johnson held on for the first out. Kirk Gibson sent Jason Kubel in to hit for David Hernandez and Kubel pulled Marmol’s first pitch toward first. Anthony Rizzo fielded the ball and started a 3-6-1 game ending double play.

Saturday’s win was truly a team effort. Starlin Castro (0-for-3 with a RBI and a walk) drove in Luis Valbuena (2-for-3 with a RBI and a run scored) with the game’s first run in the second inning. Darwin Barney (1-for-3 with a double, a RBI and a run scored) and Luis Valbuena delivered back-to-back run scoring hits with two outs in the fourth that put the Cubs up 3-0. Reed Johnson (2-for-4 with a double) added a pair of hits, made a game saving catch in the ninth and his bunt single in the third led to the Cubs’ first run. The Cubs ran the bases well and the defense stepped up again.

Alfonso Soriano (1-for-4 with a run scored) was solid in left field while the infield turned three double plays. The Cubs have turned at least one double play in each of the last nine games … the longest streak for a Cubs’ team since 1994.

With Saturday’s win, the Cubs are 13-8 in the last 21 games (4-0-1 in last five series) and improved to 35-52 on the season …

Ryan Dempster ran his scoreless innings streak to 28 in the first inning of Saturday’s game. Other than a two-out walk by Justin Upton, the D-Backs did nothing against Dempster in the first (21 pitches, 12 strikes).

The Cubs went down in order quickly in the first. Joe Saunders threw 14 pitches, 10 for strikes.

Ryan Dempster ended up facing the minimum in the second after giving up a leadoff single to Paul Goldschmidt. Stephen Drew put together an eight-pitch at bat that ended with a fly out to left. Chris Young helped out Dempster by grounding into a 6-4-3 double play on the first pitch. Dempster ran his streak to 29 innings … 32 pitches for Dempster after two, 21 for strikes.

Joe Saunders struck out Alfonso Soriano to start the second then retired Jeff Baker on a grounder to short. Geovany Soto lined a 2-0 pitch into left for the Cubs’ first hit but Darwin Barney chopped a 0-1 pitch to Aaron Hill to end the inning.

Ryan Dempster retired Geoff Blum (pop out to Castro in shallow right) and Joe Saunders (groundout to second) to begin the third. Gerardo Parra dumped a 0-1 pitch into left just in front of Soriano for a single. Aaron Hill ripped a 2-1 pitch into left and the Diamondbacks had two on for the first time. Dempster jumped ahead of Upton 0-2 then induced a grounder to first on his third pitch. Anthony Rizzo fielded the ball cleanly and took it to the bag to end the inning … 30 straight without a run for Ryan Dempster (49 pitches after three, 34 for strikes).

Luis Valbuena led off the Cubs’ third with a single to center (2-2 pitch). Ryan Dempster laid down a perfect bunt back toward the mound. Valbuena advanced to second on the play. Reed Johnson saw Geoff Blum playing back and dropped a bunt up the third baseline. Saunders fielded the ball but had no play. Valbuena slid in safe at third with one out.

Starlin Castro broke his bat on Saunders’ first pitch and hit a slow roller toward second. Hill fielded the ball and tossed to Drew with Johnson barreling down on him. Johnson was forced at second but Castro was able to beat Drew’s throw to first. Valbuena scored on the play and the Cubs’ took a 1-0 lead. Anthony Rizzo flied out to center for the third out.

After three, the Cubs led 1-0.

Alfonso Soriano made a nice catch in the well in left to take a hit away from Miguel Montero to start the fourth. Paul Goldschmidt pulled a 0-1 pitch into the corner in left. Soriano nearly caught up to the ball but came up short and Goldschmidt ended up at second with a double. Dempster was able to get Stephen Drew to chase on a 3-2 pitch in the dirt and struck him out swinging for the second out. Dempster walked Chris Young on four pitches. With runners on first and second with two down, Dempster struck out Geoff Blum swinging on three pitches to end the inning … 31 scoreless for Dempster (66 pitches, 43 for strikes).

Alfonso Soriano led off the fourth with a single to left, his fifth hit in six at bats in the series. For some reason Jeff Baker tried to bunt on the first pitch, missed and gave Saunders a strike. Baker ended up striking out (3-2 pitch) for the first out. Soriano made a good read on a 1-2 pitch to Soto that ended up in the dirt. Soriano advanced to second on the wild pitch. Soto flied out to center for the second out.

Darwin Barney pulled Saunders’ first pitch down the third baseline. Soriano scored and the Cubs took a 2-0 lead on Barney’s 18th double of the season. Kirk Gibson decided to pitch to Luis Valbuena with Barney on second, two down and Dempster on deck. Valbuena made him pay with a single to center that plated Barney with the Cubs’ third run. Dempster grounded out to third to end the inning.

After four, the Cubs led 3-0.

Ryan Dempster started the fifth by walking Joe Saunders on five pitches. An obviously irritated Dempster threw a first pitch fastball by Gerardo Parra then jammed him and induced a 3-6-3 double play. Aaron Hill flied out to left (3-2 pitch) to end the inning. Dempster threw 79 pitches over five innings, 49 for strikes, and ran his scoreless innings streak to 32.

Reed Johnson pulled Saunders’ first pitch down the left field line. Johnson ended up at second with a double. Starlin Castro put together a solid at bat that ended with a fly to deep center (sixth pitch). Johnson tagged and advanced to third with one out. With the infield in, Anthony Rizzo hit a grounder to the hole between first and second. Paul Goldschmidt made an excellent diving stop. Saunders did not break for first. Goldschmidt got to his feet then dove headlong toward first and touched the bag with his glove just ahead of a Rizzo for the second out. Saunders struck out Soriano swinging (1-2 pitch) to end the inning.

After five, the Cubs had a 3-0 lead.

Ryan Dempster retired the side in order in the sixth. Dempster struck out Upton and Montero swinging before Goldschmidt popped out to Barney on the first pitch … 33 scoreless for Ryan Dempster.

The Cubs were able to add on in the bottom of the sixth. Jeff Baker hit a routine grounder to short. Stephen Drew fielded the ball but airmailed his throw to first. Baker reached on E6 to start the inning. Geovany Soto ripped a 2-2 pitch into center. Baker was able to advance to third with no outs. Kirk Gibson left his infield back down 3-0. Darwin Barney hit into a 6-4-3 double play, Baker scored and the Cubs took a 4-0 lead. Valbuena tapped back to Joe Saunders to end the inning.

After six, the Cubs led 4-0.

James Russell caught Stephen Drew looking at a 2-2 pitch to begin the seventh. Chris Young launched a 1-2 pitch into the bleachers in left center and cut the Cubs’ lead to 4-1. Russell retired Blum on flyout to right. Gibson went to his bench and sent up Ryan Roberts to hit for Saunders. Roberts worked the count full before blooping a single into center. Gerardo Parra hit a weak liner toward the hole at short that Castro caught to end the inning.

Bryan Shaw took over in the seventh … and the Cubs threatened but were not able to tack on. Shaw made quick work of pinch-hitter David DeJesus (flyout to right center) and Reed Johnson (flyout to right center) but he could not put Castro away. Starlin Castro worked a walk then took second on the first pitch to Rizzo. Shaw’s first offering got past Montero and Castro advanced into scoring position with two down. Anthony Rizzo drove Shaw’s next pitch into left. Parra charged and threw a one-hop strike toward the plateand cut down Castro to end the inning.

Shawn Camp issued a one-out walk to Justin Upton in the eighth … but that was all. Camp caught Montero looking for the second out then retired Goldschmidt on a grounder to short (first pitch) to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing against David Hernandez in the eighth … and the game went to the ninth with the Cubs up 4-1.

Carlos Marmol took the hill in the ninth and fell behind Stephen Drew 2-0. Drew pulled a 2-1 pitch into the gap in right and ended up at second with a leadoff double. Marmol then walked Chris Young on five pitches. With runners on first and second with no outs, Manny Corpas and Scott Maine started warming in the pen.

Marmol jumped ahead of Geoff Blum 1-2 before Blum launched a 3-2 pitch to deep right. Reed Johnson caught the ball as he hit the bricks. Johnson fell to the ground as the runners retreated. Jason Kubel was called on to hit for David Hernandez. Kubel hit a grounder to Rizzo on the first pitch of the at bat … 3-6-1 double play, game over.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Matt Garza is scheduled to face Trevor Cahill in the series finale on Sunday afternoon.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Show me a guy who’s afraid to look bad, and I’ll show you a guy you can beat every time." – Lou Brock

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  • Mike Simala

    Instead of sending Smyly to the DL, Detroit should have just sent him, Casey Crosby, Rob Brantly and Eugenio Suarez here for Dempster, Barney and Reed and save everyone the trouble.

    I wish!

    • J Daniel

      Send him anyways.

  • cubtex

    Cubs need to tell 10 teams interested in Dempster to submit their best offer and then make a decision. No sense in risking him getting another start and possibly getting hurt. He has proved he can be a valuable piece to help a team make the playoffs. Submit best offer and deal him before his next start.

    • J Daniel

      Absolutely agree with you! I would take it a step further, narrow it to 2 and then get them to ask again if that is their best.

  • P. Hertz

    Marmol was BRILLIANT! Do you know just how difficult it is to set up a save like that? Really. He had to walk 2 fellas to give then a false sense of hope before unleashing his master stroke whiz bang 2 pitch explosion! He struck a tremendous blow to their collective psyches! I expect they’ve gotten on the plane already and are heading home…:)

  • paulcatanese

    Good solid game, defensively was excellent. I would say Sveum had a lot to do with it because of his alingments, but the real
    key here is the addition of Rizzo over at first base.
    He has the quickest hands and release that I have seen in a long time.
    I would go as far as saying that if he sticks his defense will prove out to be one of the best they have had over there, and thats saying a lot with who the Cubs have had at first base.
    A stellar performer with the glove.
    Then again in the ninth inning, I dont know whether Marmol was
    running away from home plate and just stumbled over to first for the relay or he intended that.

    • cubtex

      Agreed Paul. Rizzo is a huge upgrade defensively at 1st.

      • John_CC

        Over who? LaHair, obviously. Pena?

        One morning in Mesa this past spring I watched infield drills and practice. Two guys at every position taking turns and running through every scenario imaginable. Anyway, I’m no scout but the way Rizzo fielded and got rid of the ball when starting double plays impressed me. Also, I remember thinking he had a great arm for a first baseman, quick release and hot.

        This kid is a keeper.

        • paulcatanese

          Agree John, even think he is above Pena, who has been around a lot longer, and Rizzo’s quick release and accuracy is a real bonus.
          I have to keep telling myself that he’s still very young, but man,is he polished.

      • paulcatanese

        Yes, and am wondering how many different results for the Cubs would be if he started out at the beginning?

  • paulcatanese

    I sat and watched my favorite team today win a ballgame against a pretty good team with mixed emotions.
    The guy in right field had a great game, super bunt, came up with a clutch play against the wall and had a great deal to do with the win.
    Guess what, everyone wants him gone, looking for someone to take him off the Cubs hands, why? Is he making too much money? Is he blocking someone? Can they get someone that is going to be better( and I stress going to be) no one knows that for a fact.
    Yes, I feel he is blocking someone as well as LaHair, who is not earthshaking at the moment, I would like them both gone,why?
    I want Campana to play.
    But what I am not missing is the fact that Johnson is playing pretty darn good and deserves to play.
    LaHair is the constant threat to hit the ball out of the park, and true has to be played to bring his value up for a return that may or may not pan out.
    DeJesus is doing what he is supposed to bring when he came over to the Cubs, and he is playing fairly well, but is looked at as a “filler” until he can be replaced.
    None of the four that I mentioned are making a signifigant amount of money, and according to many, will not be missed as long as the Cubs bring back someone that is supposed to be an impact.
    And watching Barney play I think to myself, why does he have to go, is he not performing? Can we not get someone better?
    Why do the Cubs want a player that is heads up, hustles,and
    plays the game the way its supposed to be played. Strange game baseball, and the evaluation process. And by the way, he is not breaking the Cubs finacially either.
    Castro is starting to be exciting with the glove and making plays he just did not make last year and improving daily with the glove.
    Valbuena is also giving what he is supposed to give, not great, but he plays the game. And again. not expensive.
    Soriono, ah he brings a smile to my face as I watch him. He’s having a great year, and I wonder if all of the fans that were booing him the last few years realize that and are cheering him now? Of course he makes the big bucks, but why blame him? In all fairness, every time he hits a home run or hustles on the bases he should turn around and thumb his nose at the fans, as they are fickle and not deserving of what Soriono is doing now, he has had a long career hitting home runs, and who is he blocking? Where can they just move Soriono out of the lineup and traded and bring someone in that will produce just half the numbers? Why would they trade him and pay 85-90% to another team? Insanity, if they have to pay the contract keep him, period.
    I just want to watch a ballgame and its the Cubs I want to watch, and if they win great, but not sit and justify a loss with
    getting a better draft pick, the game was not meant to be played that way.
    Thats what keeps me watching these guys, they are not great, they are not going to the World Series this year, but they hustle, have been entertaining, and are just not as bad as I had thought they were going to be.

    • J Daniel

      Paul, very well done! Sori does not need to go unless he is blocking someone while not producing. Well, he is producing well. No reason at all to get rid of Barney – he is that tough gritty player that teams can win with.

    • John_CC

      Well said Paul. Just remember that the chatter you hear about trading Johnson and Barney is not from the team. Granted they are tight lipped, but it is mostly just fan talk about Johnson, who I have always liked and still think his presence on this team is important for a lot of reasons. And more so once Dempster is gone. He’s vet that just loves to play, and when he get his chance, he always tries to make the most of it. He is what I consider a real leader.

      And I don’t think Epstein will trade Barney. He is underrated but a couple teams have taken notice. Not saying he’s great, but on playoff team, surrounded by some more studs, he would blend in even more. I reckon Epstein and Hoyer appreciate his play more than a lot of fans do.

      • paulcatanese

        Thank you John, one other thing, Johnson laid a perfect bunt, no throw today as well as a few a games ago. It seemed to start something as Baker and Barney tried it also.

      • J Daniel

        Johnson is another guy on a team that can help you win and you need guys like him. Excellent 5th outfielder.

    • Gramps

      Have to agree with you Paul. I like baseball and I like it very much when it is played the right way. This team looks well managed and they seem to be a team that gets along very well with each other. I see nothing but great things in the near future. GO CUBS!

    • Theboardrider

      Well put Paul…

    • Tony_Hall

      Great post!

      Paul, I will say, I have enjoyed watching Soriano this year. It is just a shame he didn’t work harder on his defense previously and switch to a lighter bat sooner. But maybe that is on the coaches, and this coaching staff finally showed him why he should do this or that.

      With that said, he still needs to be traded and traded this year. The hardest part about building a team is moving out players that are performing. But, teams need to evaluate their players and decide how long a player should be around (long term 6+years, middle 4-6 years or 2-3 years or short term under 2 years). There is no way Soriano even falls into the 2-3 year range, except for his contract.

      Once you have players that you know you don’t want or need for mid or long term, you need to be patient and trade them when their value is at it’s highest. Sell high!
      Let’s face it, Soriano is as high as it will go, right now. The money is already spent. Don’t think of it as sending it with him, he already has it, he just has to wait for his check from the Cubs to show up. Getting anything in return, that can help the future of this team is good. Now, if no team is willing to give anything more than a token prospect, and not willing to pay much more than league minimum, then by all means let him play LF until he is blocking someone, or his body won’t let him go anymore. He has been fun to watch again.

      • J Daniel

        Could be on coaches or his stubbornness, only they know for sure. Probably some place in the middle.

        I agree that he is not part of long term solution but let me ask this question – who is he really blocking? If they have to pay for him to play for somebody else and is not blocking anyone then wait it out. The moment he is blocking someone he can be released as either way they will be paying his salary.

        • J Daniel

          Either way, they will not be getting anything back in a trade so no rush.

        • Tony_Hall

          Correct. But if a team gets desperate in August (he will clear waivers), someone might be willing to give up a decent prospect, if they need a bat to make the playoffs.

          If we wait until he is blocking someone, he may be on the DL, back to being unproductive, etc. If we traded him, the OF could be:

          LF – Lahair
          CF -Campana
          RF -Dejesus

          In September, I would much prefer to see BJAX or some other young guy called up getting AB’s than keeping Soriano.

          • J Daniel

            The problem to me is I don’t see them getting a decent prospect back. If they do they should make the move. Agree laHair should be lf and they must not think much of Campana.

          • J Daniel

            Don’t think we will see Bjax or Vitters until September

          • Tony_Hall

            Agreed. But that is why Soriano needs to be moved in August, when trades are harder to make, and guys that clear waivers are more valuable.

          • J Daniel

            I think it will be a little different under this management team as their agenda rit now is different. They are not playing to save jobs at this moment and I believe the young guys will play a lot more than in the past with Q-ball.

  • J Daniel

    In all reality what is needed is 3 more guys like Rizzo and 2 younger versions of what Dempster is doing now. The rest can be good hard nosed grinders that play the game right, are good guys, and know how to win.

    As they get close to contending the pressure is going to mount and it will be tough. Need guys that won’t give in!

  • Tom U

    Tonight’s minor league starters:

    Boise – Ian Dickson (1-2, 8.10)
    Peoria – Michael Jensen (8-3, 3.17)
    Daytona – Austin Kirk (4-2, 2.66)
    Tennessee – Dae-Eun Rhee (5-4, 5.30)
    Iowa – Randy Wells (3-2, 6.70)

  • Tony_Hall

    Just an update on Ronald Torreyes. The 19 year old SS/2B had 3 more hits, scored 2 and drove in a run. Torreyes has hit well for the past 6 weeks. Since June 1st, Torreyes line is .318/.392/.481.
    His season average is still just .246 with a .680 OPS. But wouldn’t we rather see a guy who has a 246 average that is going up (developing) rather than one who started hot and is declining. Daytona is still a long ways from Clark and Addison, but this kid may hit his way all the way there.