Game Twenty-Four: Cubs (10-13) vs. Diamondbacks (10-13)
Game Time – 8:40pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Chase Field, Phoenix
Ryan Dempster (1-2, 7.63/1.63) vs. Barry Enright (0-2, 6.65/1.70)
Following a well-timed rainout and a long flight to Phoenix, the Cubs return to the field tonight in need of a win. The Cubs have lost three in row for the first time this season and begin a very challenging seven-game West Coast road trip tonight.
The Cubs open a four-game series at Chase Field behind Ryan Dempster. The Cubs took two of three against the D’Backs at Wrigley earlier this month and after Sunday the Cubs will not see D’Backs again until the Cactus League next spring.
Mike Quade shifted his rotation in the wake of Wednesday’s rainout. Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano (Friday) and Matt Garza (Saturday) will pitch on regular rest. Quade decided to push Casey Coleman’s next start to Sunday … and Coleman will be available out of the pen tonight.
Jim Hendry has accompanied the team to Arizona and is expected to meet with Mike Quade and Mark Riggins to discuss the fifth spot in the rotation. The trio will decided whether or not to bring up a pitcher from the minors (Jay Jackson is a strong possibility) or keep using James Russell to begin games. The fifth spot comes back around Sunday but the Cubs will likely use Coleman in the finale in Arizona with Russell or a minor leaguer pitching the first game of the Dodgers’ series.
Kirk Gibson will send all right-handers to the hill against the Cubs for the next four games. Kosuke Fukudome is expected to start all of the games versus the D’Backs and hit in the leadoff spot. Starlin Castro could hit second or third with Fukudome at the top of the lineup.
On the way out of town, the Cubs said they were looking forward to playing in warmer weather. How does the cliché go?
In a battle of two 10-13 teams, tonight it all begins with Ryan Dempster … Ryan Dempster is coming off another poor outing and in a month full of bad starts, Dempster’s last was probably his worst. Dempster gave up a season-high seven earned runs on nine his with three walks to the Dodgers. Dempster struck out a season-low three batters but was taken off the hook by his teammates.
In order for the Cubs to stick around in the division they will need Ryan Dempster to pitch to the back of his baseball card. Dempster has struggled with his command, especially with locating his slider. For all of the problems the D’Backs may or may not have, scoring runs might not be one of them. If Dempster struggles tonight it could end up being an unscheduled ‘Bullpen Day‘.
Dempster has struggled in his two other road starts this season. Outside of Wrigley Dempster is 1-0 with a 7.15 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP. Dempster’s only win came in Houston on the night he allowed four runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Bottom line with Dempster tonight is he must keep the ball in the park. Dempster has already served up eight home runs in 30 2/3 innings this season.
Dempster faced the D’Backs during the series at Wrigley and took the only loss of the three-game series. Dempster allowed five runs, four earned, on 10 hits in seven innings without issuing a walk or a home run.
Tonight will be Dempster’s 15th career start versus Arizona. He is 2-7 in the first 18 games, 14 starts, with a 5.99 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP … at Chase Field, 2-4 in 10 games, nine starts, with a 6.66 ERA and a 1.83 WHIP.
Ryan Dempster has never fared well against the D’Backs or at Chase Field.
Diamondbacks Career Numbers against Ryan Dempster
- Henry Blanco – 0-for-6
- Russell Branyan – 0-for-4 with a walk
- Stephen Drew – 4-for-8 with a double
- Mark Grace – 2-for-12 with 4 walks
- Kelly Johnson – 1-for-11 with 5 walks
- Juan Miranda – 0-for-3
- Miguel Montero – 3-for-8 with a walk
- Xavier Nady – 5-for-13 with 2 home runs
- Justin Upton – 2-for-15 with a walk
- Chris Young – 4-for-14 with a double, a triple, a home run and a walk
Barry Enright is coming off his worst start of the season. The Mets pounded Enright to the tune of five runs on 12 hits (both season highs) with one walk in 5 2/3 innings. Enright struck out only two batters and dropped his second decision of the season.
Enright has struggled all month and has yet to pitch into, or complete, seven innings of work. Enright has decent stuff but struggles with his command. The Cubs must make Enright work like they did back on April 5 at Wrigley … a 6-5 Cubs win and Q’s offense scored four runs on seven hits with three walks (three strikeouts) in six innings.
Enright will make his third career start against the Cubs. He is 0-1 in the first two starts with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Barry Enright
- Darwin Barney – 1-for-3
- Marlon Byrd – 2-for-3
- Starlin Castro – 1-for-5 with a double
- Tyler Colvin – 2-for-6 with a home run
- Kosuke Fukudome – 2-for-5 with a home run and a walk
- Koyie Hill – 0-for-2
- Aramis Ramirez – 1-for-6 with a home run
- Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-3 with 2 walks
- Geovany Soto – 1-for-2 with a double
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