Dempster was excellent allowed just three hits and no runs and walked only one and struck out six batters during eight innings pitched.
|Ryan Dempster pitched an excellent game on his birthday today, but his efforts were wasted by Carlos Marmol (photo from cubs.com)|
Starlin Castro, Bryan LaHair, and Geovany Soto each hit solo home runs during today's game.
Today was the first time in major league history two opposing pitchers have shared the same birthday, according to the Elias Sports Bureau (Dempster turns 35 today and Homer Bailey turns 26 today). Dempster also pitched well on his birthday last season but ended up with a no-decision. The last Cubs pitcher to record a victory on his birthday was Randy Wells on August 28, 2010.
Since the Cubs activated Dempster and reliever Kerry Wood off the disabled list today, they also made corresponding moves and optioned Scott Maine and Wells to Triple-A Iowa.
Wells said, "The walks are the only thing really that spoils this whole thing. I thought I pitched pretty good against the Reds, just the five walks look (terrible). Obviously the fourth inning at Philly unraveled, and I let it get away from me. But I'm no different than I have been the last three years. I just had a bad inning. Whatever. Chalk it up as a bad day and go back to work." It seems like Wells wasn't even being seriously considered in Spring Training for a position in the starting rotation, since he didn't get a chance to start in Arizona. I think it's mostly a matter of too many starting pitchers and there not being enough room on the 25-man roster.
Tomorrow the Cubs will open a six-game homestand and play the Los Angeles Dodgers at Wrigley Field at 1:20pm CT. Paul Maholm will start for the Cubs and Chad Billingsley will start for the Dodgers.