Game Ninety-Five: Cubs (57-37) vs. Giants (39-54)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 189
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Ryan Dempster (10-3, 3.13/1.16) vs. Tim Lincecum (10-2, 2.66/1.27)
Lou Piniella’s crew will try to finish the first half of the season with a series sweep of the Giants today behind Ryan Dempster. Here are the facts….the Cubs own the best record in all of baseball and the biggest lead of all the other divisional leaders. It figures to be a wild second half of the season on the North Side of Chicago and the Cubs have a long way to go to reach their goal. The Cardinals and Brewers will be in the race for the remainder of the season and until the Reds, Pirates and Astros decide to be sellers they will continue to make the Central Division of the National League the strongest in the Senor Circuit.
The Cubs offense will have the tough task of scoring runs today against Tim Lincecum. Lou Piniella said, once again following Saturday’s game, that Geovany Soto would receive today off and with Carlos Marmol and Kerry Wood unavailable out of the pen, it will likely be up to Bobby Howry to close it out in the 9th.
This has been a tremendous first half of the season and a win today would be a great way to top it off.
In other news…. XM Radio’s All-Star Futures Game will be played today at 11:30am C.T. at Yankee Stadium. For those interested in seeing one of the top Cubs’ prospects in action turn on ESPN 2 or listen to the game on XM Channel 175. Geovany Soto participated in the game last year and this year’s contest will feature Welington Castillo. The Double-A catcher has been making a name for himself over the past season and a half in the Cubs’ farm system and has drawn comparisons to Yadier Molina and Ivan Rodriguez.
Alfonso Soriano will resume taking batting practice in Houston on Friday. A report in the Tribune indicated if everything goes as planned next weekend that Soriano would go on a rehab assignment while the Cubs are in Arizona, July 21-23, and would rejoin his teammates at Wrigley on July 24 to face the Florida Marlins.
The baseball world lost one of the true greats in the game on Saturday. Former Cub and lifelong Yankee, Bobby Murcer passed away at the age of 62 due to complications from brain cancer. Murcer played with the Cubs from 1977-1979 but was best known as a player and broadcaster with the New York Yankees.
Dempster pitched a good game in his last outing against the Reds and allowed only 1 run on 2 hits in 7 innings. Dempster struggled with his command early on and the only run he allowed came on a walk with the bases loaded.
Dempster should have earned his first road win of the year the last time he faced the Giants, but…. Dempster held the Giants to 2 runs on 5 hits in 6 innings and will need a similar performance today in order to beat Tim Lincecum.
Dempster is 10-0 in 11 starts at Wrigley with a 2.58 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. In his career against the Giants, 2-6 in 8 starts, 18 games, with 4 saves, a 4.34 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP. If Dempster can throw strikes, he could benefit from ‘getaway day‘ but the Giants have lost the first 6 of their road trip and will not want to make the long flight back to the left coast 0-7.
- Rich Aurilia – 8-for-22 with a home run
- John Bowker – 2-for-3 with a home run
- Jose Castillo – 3-for-7
- Ray Durham – 3-for-5 with 2 doubles
- Aaron Rowand – 0-for-4
- Fred Lewis – 0-for-3
- Omar Vizquel – 2-for-8
- Randy Winn – 2-for-19
The Cubs offense will get their second look in just over a week at Tim Lincecum. The SI Coverboy was very good last week in San Francisco against the Cubs but is coming off a loss, his second of the year, to the Mets. Lincecum was named to the All-Star team and then went out and gave up 4 runs on 9 hits in 6 innings with only 2 walks and 4 strikeouts. Lincecum also served up 2 home runs for the third game this season (Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado) but before his last start had given up only 5 long balls all year. The Cubs could be catching Lincecum at the right time today.
Lincecum struck out 8 and walked only 1 in 6 innings in San Francisco against the Cubs on July 3rd. The Cubs managed 3 runs on 7 hits….
Lincecum is 7-1 in 10 road starts, 11 games, this season with a 2.23 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP.
- Mark DeRosa – 2-for-7 with a double
- Jim Edmonds – 1-for-7
- Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-3
- Reed Johnson – 1-for-3 with a double
- Derrek Lee – 3-for-9 with a double
- Aramis Ramirez – 0-for-9
- Geovany Soto – 0-for-3
- Ryan Theriot – 2-for-10 with a double
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….