Game One Hundred-Thirteen: Cubs (58-54) vs. Phillies (63-48)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 184
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Ryan Dempster (6-5, 4.04/1.39) vs. Cliff Lee (9-9, 2.95/1.26)
The Chicago Cubs are reeling and it will not get any easier for them this afternoon. Lou Piniella’s crew is the middle of a four-game losing streak and will face the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, right now Cliff Lee is on top of his game.
The Cubs must wake-up this afternoon from their weeklong nap and figure out a way to salvage the last game of the series. It will be up to Ryan Dempster to keep the Phillies off the board and give his offense a chance against one of the best in the game.
Don’t be surprised to see the Cubs make a roster move before game time. The bullpen is spent after another poor start on Wednesday and another long relief effort from Sean Marshall.
Aramis Ramirez will likely be out of the starting lineup once again. Ramirez could make the start today but Friday is more realistic after the Cubs’ third baseman received a cortisone injection on Tuesday in his sore left shoulder.
From the rehab front … Ted Lilly had a good outing for the Peoria Chiefs on Wednesday and the Cubs will find out today if ‘The Bulldog’ will be able to return on Monday for the opener in San Diego. Lilly pitched five innings in the 11-1 win over the Burlington Bees … no runs on two his with a walk and two strikeouts. Lilly threw 58 pitches, 45 for strikes with six groundball outs and six fly ball outs.
Jim Hendry mentioned on Wednesday he did not see any waiver claims in the Cubs’ future. The Cubs tried to claim two players, both were pulled back and not traded. The Cardinals are rumored to be interested in adding John Smoltz while the Cubs stand pat …
While the offense must do their job against Cliff Lee, it all begins with Ryan Dempster … and one win at a time. Ryan Dempster is coming off his second road win of the season, and the only win for the Cubs in Colorado. Dempster pitched around several poor defensive plays and picked up the victory on a night he allowed five runs, two earned, on nine hits in six innings. Dempster has pitched a lot better in his last two outings than he did in his first start back from the DL on July 28 against the Astros. Dempster is 1-0 in his last two outings with a 1.50 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP.
Dempster is 4-1 in eight starts this season at Wrigley with a 4.62 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP … and he needs to put an end to the Cubs four-game losing streak.
Today will be Dempster’s first start of the year against the Phillies, He is 4-3 in 20 career games, 13 starts, with a 4.76 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP. Last year, the Phillies’ explosive offense knocked Dempster around but did not beat him. The Cubs won the game on August 28, 6-4. Dempster received a no-decision after giving up four runs on eight hits with four walks and seven strikeouts in six innings.
- Paul Bako – 3-for-12 with 2 doubles and 5 walks
- Eric Bruntlett – 1-for-2 with a home run
- Pedro Feliz – 0-for-3 with 2 walks
- Ryan Howard – 1-for-5 with a double and 2 walks
- Raul Ibanez – 0-for-4
- Jimmy Rollins – 9-for-30 with 2 doubles and 6 walks
- Carlos Ruiz – 1-for-3 with a walk
- Matt Stairs – 4-for-7 with 3 home runs and 3 walks
- Chase Utley – 4-for-6 with a double
- Shane Victorino – 1-for-4
- Jayson Werth – 2-for-4 with 2 doubles and a walk
The Cubs will get their second look of the season at Cliff Lee … and their first at the reigning AL Cy Young Award in a Phillies uniform. Since being traded to the Phillies just before the July 31 deadline, Cliff Lee has been just about unhittable. In his last five starts, including the end of his Indians’ career, Lee has dominated the other team. Here are his lines:
- July 16 against the Mariners – one run on nine hits in nine innings without a walk and six strikeouts
- July 21 against the Blue Jays – one run on seven hits in nine innings without a walk and four strikeouts
- July 26 against the Mariners (last start for the Indians) – two runs on six hits in seven innings without a walk and four strikeouts
- July 31 against the Giants (first start for the Phillies) – one run on four hits in nine innings with two walks and six strikeouts
- August 6 against the Rockies – one run on six hits in seven innings with a walk and nine strikeouts
Cliff Lee has pitched a complete game in three of his last five starts.
The Cubs managed three runs on six hits with three walks and five strikeouts in seven innings against Cliff Lee back on June 19 during Interleague Play.
The Cubs struggling offense must make Lee work today like they did nearly two months ago.
- Milton Bradley – 3-for-13 with a home run and 2 walks
- Jake Fox – 0-for-3
- Derrek Lee – 2-for-3 with a double and a home run
- Aaron Miles – 1-for-4
- Aramis Ramirez – 1-for-3 with a home run and a walk
- Alfonso Soriano – 3-for-11 with a home run and a walk
- Geovany Soto – 0-for-1 with 2 walks
- Ryan Theriot – 0-for-4
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….