By Matt Abbatacola–
CHICAGO (WSCR) Ryan Dempster hadn’t won a game at Wrigley Field since August 4, 2010. His season comtinues to improve as he posted a home victory and his second win on the season. It was his third consecutive quality start.
Why the improvement in his game? “I think probably, you know, a lot more aggressive.” Dempster said after the game. “For some reason it felt like before I was trying not to lose the game rather than trying to win it.”
Facing a left-handed pitcher for the second consecutive day and Aramis Ramirez being gone from the team for personal reasons (he’ll return tomorrow), Mike Quade inserted Jeff Baker and Reed Johnson into the starting lineup.
Baker had an RBI and a run scored. Johnson went 3-for-5 with a run scored and 4 RBI. His bases loaded triple opened the game up for the Cubs who scored eight runs in two innings on nine hits against the Giants bullpen. In their previous eight games (18 innings pitched) the San Francisco bullpen hadn’t allowed a single earned run. Johnson made a fantastic catch against the right-field wall in the second inning off the bat of former teammate, Mike Fontenot.
It may drive fans crazy seeing Quade’s lineup change on a daily basis, but he has players on the bench that are showing that they deserve to play. Before the victory, he said “I’ll do anything” with regards to trying different lineups. After the game, Quade said “It’s two out of three where you’ve been able to relax sometime before the end of the game.” The Cubs won two days ago 11-4 over the Cardinals.
The top of the order seems to be in “order” once again. Starlin Castro went 3-for-5 with 2 runs scored and 2 rbi. Darwin Barney in the 2 hole was 3-for-5 as well with 3 RBI.
Castro is 10-for-17 (.588) in his last four games. At Wrigley he is hitting .333 with 14 runs, five doubles, three triples, and 12 RBI in 20 games.
Barney has hit safely in 25 of his 30 starts … he is hitting .343 in his last eight games.
Marlon Byrd extended his hitting streak to a season-high 14 games with an infield-single in the first inning.
The Cubs offense also took advantage of the opportunities provided by the Giants pitchers. They drove in runs with timely hit singles and scored four runs from players who walked (3) or were hit by a pitch (Byrd).
Game two of the series features the season debut for Cubs pitcher, Doug Davis. He will start on three days rest (he was pulled early from his start on Tuesday in Colorado Springs pitching for the Iowa Cubs). He’ll oppose Ryan Vogelsong (2-0 3.05) in a Saturday night game – the first at Wrigley since June 20, 1998.