Game Eighteen: Cubs (11-6) vs. Pirates (7-10)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Ryan Dempster (2-0, 2.37/0.95) vs. Zach Duke (0-0, 2.89/1.61)
After an inconsistent start to the season, the Cubs enter play today 5 games above .500 and just a half game back of the St. Louis Cardinals in the division. While it is too early to be looking at the standings, it is good to see the Cubs putting wins on the board….and that is all that really matters, right?
The Cubs will shoot for their second sweep of the year today behind Ryan Dempster in a rematch from the game on April 9th in Pittsburgh that the Cubs won 6-4 in 15 innings. The win on Saturday gave the Cubs their fourth series win of the young season but with games against the Mets, Rockies, Nationals, Brewers and Cardinals on the horizon, a victory today would be a good way to finish the third week of the year. Ryan Dempster is coming off his second win of the season and if not for a mistake by Kerry Wood to Jason Bay, the Cubs former closer would be 3-0. Dempster has pitched better than anyone expected in his return to the starting rotation. He was not as effective in his last outing against the Reds, but he still picked up the win. Dempster allowed 4 runs on 5 hits with 5 walks (3 to Adam Dunn) and 3 strikeouts in 6 innings. The walks ran up his pitch count and caused his him to leave the game earlier than planned.
Dempster threw 7 shutout innings and allowed just 1 hit, struck out 5 and walked 2 the last time he faced the Pirates. For his career Dempster is 3-7 with 9 saves in 38 games, 13 starts, with a 5.62 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP.
- Jason Bay – 2-for-11
- Ryan Doumit – 2-for-7
- Chris Duffy – 2-for-4 with a double
- Chris Gomez – 5-for-13 with a double and a triple
- Nate McLouth – 2-for-7 with a home run
- Xavier Nady – 4-for-11 with 2 home runs
Jason Bay was the only Pirate to reach base with a hit back on April 9th against Dempster.
The Cubs will face Zach Duke for the second time this season. Duke’s performance against the Cubs on April 9th was lost in the 15-inning marathon and with the way Ryan Dempster pitched. It appears Duke is back to his 2006 form and he shut the Cubs offense down just 11 days ago….1 run on 8 hits in 7 innings with 6 strikeouts and a walk.
Duke has dominated the Cubs in his brief career. He is 4-2 in 9 starts with a 2.01 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. The Cubs always get their hits off Duke, but rarely score runs. The Cubs are hitting .308 against him….but he has a remarkable 2.01 ERA in 62 2/3 innings.
- Ronny Cedeno – 8-for-18
- Mark DeRosa – 1-for-9
- Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-3
- Reed Johnson – 2-for-3
- Derrek Lee – 8-for-24 with 2 doubles and a home run
- Matt Murton – 10-for-22 with 2 doubles, a home run and 2 walks
- Aramis Ramirez – 8-for-24 with 5 doubles and a home run
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….