Game Six: Cubs (3-2) vs. Brewers (2-3)
Game Time – 7:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: ESPN Sunday Night Baseball – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 175, 140
Location – Miller Park, Milwaukee
Ryan Dempster (0-0, 3.00/1.50) vs. Jeff Suppan (0-1, 13.50/1.75)
Lou Piniella’s crew will try to start the 2009 campaign off tonight with a winning road trip…and in the process win the rubber game of the three-game set against the Brewers. Ryan Dempster will make his second start of the year after a solid outing against the Astros last Tuesday. And if the Cubs want to start the year 4-2 they will have to do it against a very familiar face that they’ve struggled against in the past.
If it comes down to it, Kevin Gregg will be on the mound tonight in the ninth inning. Lou Piniella told the media following Carlos Marmol’s save on Saturday night that Gregg is still the team’s closer.
Geovany Soto will try to throw at some point today. The Cubs are hoping to avoid a trip to the DL for Soto but if the soreness in his right shoulder is not better by Monday, the Cubs might be forced to make a move…and bring up Mark Johnson from Iowa to backup Koyie Hill. Ryan Dempster was very good in the second game of the year. He held the Astros to two runs on six hits in six innings with three walks and five strikeouts. Many felt Dempster picked up where he left off at the end of the 2008 regular season…and if he can pitch anywhere near where he did a year ago, the Cubs rotation should be in good shape.
Dempster needs to cut down on the walks. Three in six innings is not bad but one of the aspects of his game he improved on a year ago was throwing strikes and not clogging the bases with walks. In 206 2/3 innings, Dempster walked 76 while striking out 187.
Ryan Dempster was 1-0 in 2 starts last season at Miller Park with a 1.50 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP…for his career he is 8-2 in 35 games, 13 starts, against the Brewers with 10 saves (2.45 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP).
- Ryan Braun – 2-for-15 with a double and a walk
- Mike Cameron – 3-for-18 with 2 walks
- Craig Counsell – 5-for-13 with a walk
- Chris Duffy – 2-for-4 with a double and a walk
- Prince Fielder – 4-for-16 with a double, a home run and 3 walks
- Bill Hall – 3-for-18
- J.J. Hardy – 2-for-18 with a double and a walk
- Corey Hart – 1-for-14 with 3 walks
- Jason Kendall – 16-for-37 with 3 doubles and 5 walks
- Jeff Suppan – 1-for-3
- Rickie Weeks – 2-for-9 with 3 walks
The Giants shelled Jeff Suppan on Opening Day. He allowed six runs on six hits in four innings with a walk and a strikeout. Suppan is not the pitcher he once was but the Cubs have a tendency (or bad habit) of swinging at his pitch. If they wait him out he will eventually have to get the ball up, which makes him a mediocre, at best, pitcher.
Suppan dominated the Cubs in the second game of the 2008 season. The Cubs managed only two runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings…his only win of April and one of 10 on the year. Suppan is on the downside of his career and posted a 10-10 record in 31 starts with a 4.96 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP…opponents hit a robust .298 against him.
After the second game of the season a year ago, the Cubs finally put good numbers on the board against him. In three starts Suppan was 1-1 with a 6.60 ERA and a 1.93 WHIP…the Cubs hit just south of .400 against him, .373.
Suppan is 6-6 in 19 career starts against the Cubs with a 3.60 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP…he was 3-3 in 13 starts in 2008 at Miller Park with a 4.36 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP.
- Milton Bradley – 0-for-6
- Ryan Dempster – 1-for-5
- Mike Fontenot – 3-for-4
- Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-5 with a walk
- Koyie Hill – 0-for-2
- Micah Hoffpauir – 1-for-3
- Reed Johnson – 1-for-5
- Derrek Lee – 21-for-45 with 7 doubles, 4 home runs and 9 walks
- Aaron Miles – 1-for-6 with a walk
- Aramis Ramirez – 10-for-40 with 4 doubles, a home run and 4 walks
- Alfonso Soriano – 7-for-39 with 2 doubles and a walk
- Ryan Theriot – 7-for-16 with a double
While Lou Piniella has talked about getting several of his bench players a start, with the career numbers Derrek Lee has put up against Jeff Suppan tonight might not be the right time.
Also, for those that continue to struggle with MLB.com, their Gameday audio and video…they are working on it according to a report in the Tribune.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….