Game Twenty-Five: Cubs (13-11) vs. Giants (12-10)
Game Time – 7:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WCIU – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Ryan Dempster (1-1, 5.40/1.43) vs. Jonathan Sanchez (1-1, 2.60/1.27)
Updated – 5:05pm C.T. – Carlos Zambrano placed on the 15-day DL…Bobby Scales called up from Iowa to take his spot
After showing signs of life over the last three games of the Marlins series, the Cubs offense has a very challenging two days ahead of them. First up, southpaw Jonathan Sanchez and the Cubs are 0-2 against lefty starters this year…hopefully Lou Piniella will run out a balanced lineup tonight against Sanchez and not just a bunch of right-handers because that is what he thinks he supposed to do…lefties are hitting .250 against Sanchez this season while righties are hitting only .137. Then on Tuesday afternoon, they face Tim Lincecum.
With Aramis Ramirez expected to return to the starting lineup tonight, Lou Piniella mentioned a possible shakeup with his batting order. A report in the Sun-Times mentioned Piniella could use a lineup tonight of Soriano, Theriot, Fukudome, Ramirez, Lee or Bradley, Fontenot and Soto…so ‘Lou’s Lineup Tinkering‘ will be in full swing over the next few days with a healthy roster for the first time since the second game of the year.
The Cubs should face at some point over the next two games a familiar face. Bobby Howry is 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.92 WHIP with a blown save in 11 games in his return to the Giants organization. Ryan Dempster will make his second start of the season at Wrigley tonight in search of his second victory of the year. Dempster has not pitched well this year and is performing close to the way many thought he would a year ago when he returned to the starting rotation.
Dempster’s biggest problem is he is not throwing strikes and is having at least one bad inning in each outing (14 walks and 29 hits in 30 innings). Dempster has yet to complete seven innings of work, which a year ago it seemed as if that was a given every time he took the mound.
Dempster is coming off his first loss of the year but the Cubs have not won a game he started since April 18. Dempster gave up five runs on six hits in six innings in the embarrassing 10-0 loss to the Diamondbacks last Wednesday. Dempster gave up three in the first inning and the struggling Cubs’ offense never stood a chance.
Ryan Dempster and his confidence must return soon, especially if Carlos Zambrano misses any time with his strained left hamstring.
Tonight will be Dempster’s tenth career start against the Giants. He is 2-7 with four saves in 19 games with a 4.45 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP…last year, 0-1 in two starts with a 4.26 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP (six runs on 12 hits in 12 2/3 innings with five walks and 13 strikeouts).
- Rich Aurilia – 9-for-25 with a double and 5 walks
- Fred Lewis – 1-for-9 with a triple and a walk
- Bengie Molina – 0-for-4
- Edgar Renteria – 6-for-19 with 2 home runs and 4 walks
- Aaron Rowand – 0-for-7 with a walk
- Randy Winn – 2-for-19
As has been the theme over the past week, the Cubs offense will not catch a break today. The Giants have one of the best rotations in the National League from top to bottom and tonight the Cubs will face one of the best young southpaws in the game…despite his 9-12 record in 2008 with a 5.01 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP in 29 starts.
Jonathan Sanchez has an electric arm and has not allowed an earned run in his last two starts. Sanchez struggles with his command like most young pitchers and will issue his fare share of walks. Sanchez has walked 12 batters in 17 1/3 innings and of his 92 pitches in his last start, just over half (57) went for strikes. If the Cubs can make him work they will be able to get into their questionable bullpen. Sanchez has pitched past the fifth inning once in his three starts.
On the road this season, Sanchez is 0-1 in two games, one start (Padres), with a 7.94 ERA and a 1.76 WHIP (five runs on five hits with five walks and eight strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings).
Sanchez has pitched only one inning in his young career against the Cubs and did not allow a run. He surrendered one hit, one walk and struck out one.
- Mike Fontenot – no official at bat, one walk
- Aaron Miles – 0-for-3
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….