Game Thirty-Five: Cubs (14-20) vs. Cardinals (20-14)
Game Time – 6:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WCIU, ESPN Monday Night Baseball – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187/914
Location – Busch Stadium, St. Louis
Ryan Dempster (0-1, 1.02/0.85) vs. Jake Westbrook (4-2, 1.76/1.07)
The Cubs open a quick two-game series tonight in St. Louis. The brief series between the two long-time rivals ends Tuesday afternoon with Paul Maholm scheduled to take on Kyle Lohse.
Dale Sveum’s Cubs have split the first six games against the Cardinals this season (3-3) and after tomorrow they will not see St. Louis again until after the All-Star break (July 20 – July 22)
The Cubs might not be catching the defending World Champions at the right time. The Cardinals are coming off a weekend sweep at the hands of the Atlanta Braves. Carlos Beltran is red hot (.298/.406/.653/1.058) and hit his 13th homer of the season Sunday. The Cardinals also received a boost when Lance Berkman returned from the DL for Sunday’s finale against the Braves.
Alfonso Soriano is still looking for his first home run of the season and the Cubs are looking for some power from the fifth hitter in the lineup. Dale Sveum finally got him to swing a lighter bat (32 1/4 ounce from 33 1/2 ounce bat) but with the way he was moving Sunday will Soriano be part of Sveum’s starting nine for tonight’s game?
Tonight all starts with Ryan Dempster … It is safe to say Ryan Dempster is the best winless starting pitcher in baseball. While a pitcher’s win-loss record is no longer the best way to evaluate a pitcher’s effectiveness, it is the first stat many still look to and it would be nice to see Dempster with a number in the left-hand column. The last time Dempster posted a win was August 11 of last season and the Cubs are 2-12 in his last 14 starts.
Dempster held the Braves to one run over seven innings in which he did not have his best stuff. Dempster surrendered six hits and struck out seven with only one walk. Dempster has no record in his last two starts with a 0.60 ERA and a 0.73 WHIP.
Ryan Dempster will make his first start against the Cardinals this season. Dempster owns an 8-8 career mark in 47 games, 21 starts, with a 4.52 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP … at new Busch Stadium, 3-2 in 15 games, eight starts, with a 3.73 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP.
Cardinals Career Numbers against Ryan Dempster
- Carlos Beltran – 6-for-12 with a home run and three walks
- Lance Berkman – 17-for-62 with a double, six home runs and 16 walks
- Allen Craig – 0-for-3
- Daniel Descalso – 2-for-4 with a walk
- David Freese – 2-for-8 with a double and a walk
- Rafael Furcal – 6-for-38 with three doubles and seven walks
- Matt Holliday – 6-for-21 with two walks
- Jon Jay – 3-for-15 with a triple and two walks
- Mark McGwire – 3-for-9 with two home runs and five walks
- Yadier Molina – 13-for-37 with two doubles and five walks
- Skip Schumaker – 20-for-48 with four doubles and two walks
- Jake Westbrook – 0-for-2
Jake Westbrook is one of the many reasons the Cardinals are in first place in the central despite all of the changes in the off-season. Westbrook has allowed more than two earned runs only once in his first six starts of the year and is coming off a very good outing against the D-Backs in Arizona.
Westbrook tossed seven scoreless innings in Arizona, allowed four hits with a pair of walks and eight strikeouts. Westbrook is 1-1 in his last two starts with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP.
The Cubs allowed Jake Westbrook to shut them down on April 15 (two runs, one earned, on four hits with a walk and two strikeouts in seven innings) and Westbrook is 4-2 in six career starts against the Cubs with a 4.54 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Jake Westbrook
- Jeff Baker – 1-for-3
- Darwin Barney – 2-for-11
- Welington Castillo – 1-for-2 with a double
- Starlin Castro – 4-for-16 with a double and a walk
- David DeJesus – 7-for-26 with a home run and four walks
- Ryan Dempster – 0-for-1
- Reed Johnson – 5-for-16
- Joe Mather – 0-for-3
- Alfonso Soriano – 3-for-25 with a walk
- Geovany Soto – 2-for-6 with a double
- Ian Stewart – 0-for-2 with a walk
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …
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