Game Fifty-Five: Cubs (24-30) vs. Astros (21-34)
Game Time – 6:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet, MLB Network – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 184
Location – Minute Maid Park, Houston
Ryan Dempster (3-5, 3.72/1.10) vs. Roy Oswalt (3-7, 2.78/1.08)
Can the Chicago Cubs get back in the win column tonight? It has been a week since the Cubs last won a game and unfortunately Carlos Silva is not starting tonight. The Cubs beat the Cardinals seven days ago and many felt good about the improved play … winning three of five against the Dodgers and Cardinals. But a lot has changed in the last week and the Cubs are back to their underachieving ways.
Ryan Dempster will be faced with trying to keep the Astros off the board while the offense deals with Roy Oswalt. If Lou Piniella’s crew thought Felipe Paulino was tough Friday night, they are in for a treat with Roy Oswalt.
Tyler Colvin is supposed to get the start in right tonight with Koyie Hill stepping in for Geovany Soto.
It all begins with Ryan Dempster … and just winning a ballgame. The Cubs need Ryan Dempster to put together a good outing tonight with Roy Oswalt on the mound. The last time Dempster faced one of the best in the NL, he was horrible and the result was his worst start of the year. The offense figures to score one or two runs, tops, and if Dempster starts serving up the longballs it is going to be another long night.
Albert Pujols and the Cardinals knocked Dempster around in his last start. Pujols hit a pair of home runs, the second after Lou Piniella left Dempster in again. Dempster gave up six runs on nine hits in 6 2/3 innings. Dempster walked three and struck out seven.
Not only is it important for Dempster to keep the ball in the yard tonight … but he also must not give the Astros any help. Dempster has developed a bad habit of serving up longball after longball. After allowing only three in his first five starts, Dempster has given up seven home runs in his last six starts … and all seven have come in four games.
The other key for Ryan Dempster is a 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio. When Dempster maintains it, he wins.
Tonight will be Dempster’s second start of the year versus the Astros. He pitched a great game on April 18 at Wrigley and held the Astros to one run on four hits in 7 2/3 innings. Dempster received a no-decision after Carlos Marmol gave up a double to Geoff Blum in the ninth.
Ryan Dempster is 4-10 in 45 career games, 19 starts, with 16 saves and a 4.27 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP … at Minute Maid, 2-6 in 21 career games, 10 starts, with a 3.66 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP.
Astros’ Career Numbers against Ryan Dempster
- Lance Berkman – 13-for-51 with a double, 4 home runs and 12 walks
- Geoff Blum – 15-for-51 with a double and 3 walks
- Michael Bourn – 6-for-17 with a double and 3 walks
- Pedro Feliz – 2-for-9 with a home run and 2 walks
- Jeff Keppinger – 10-for-21 with 2 doubles
- Carlos Lee – 8-for-27 with 2 doubles, a home run and a walk
- Roy Oswalt – 1-for-10 with a walk
- Hunter Pence – 9-for-26 with a double and 2 home runs
- Humberto Quintero – 1-for-7 with a walk
- Cory Sullivan – 0-for-5 with a walk
Roy Oswalt is not happy in Houston and has asked to be traded … and the Cubs will face an angry Roy Oswalt tonight.
Oswalt was ejected in the third inning of his last start for arguing balls and strikes. Oswalt gave up four runs on four hits in 2 1/3 innings … and that was his worst start of the year. The bottom line with Roy O … he is the best pitcher in baseball with a 3-7 record.
It is going to be a long night for the Chicago Cubs offense unless someone flips on a switch.
Roy Oswalt dominated the Cubs in a seven-inning start on April 17. Piniella’s offense managed only five hits and no walks … and obviously no runs. Oswalt struck out six.
Oswalt is 14-12 in 31 career appearances, 30 starts, versus the Cubs with a 3.67 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Roy Oswalt
- Jeff Baker – 2-for-3
- Marlon Byrd – 4-for-19 with a home run
- Tyler Colvin – 0-for-1
- Ryan Dempster – 0-for-7
- Mike Fontenot – 5-for-18 with a double
- Kosuke Fukudome – 2-for-19
- Koyie Hill – 2-for-5 with a double and a walk
- Derrek Lee – 16-for-61 with 4 doubles, 3 home runs and 6 walks
- Xavier Nady – 3-for-19 with a double
- Aramis Ramirez – 16-for-70 with 3 doubles and 4 home runs
- Alfonso Soriano – 10-for-42 with 3 home runs
- Geovany Soto – 6-for-15 with 2 doubles and a triple
- Ryan Theriot – 7-for-20 with a double and a walk
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …