Sunday, July 8, 2012

Ryan Dempster returns from DL and is outstanding as Cubs win 7-0 over Mets and take the series

The Cubs shutout the Mets 7-0 and win the series against the New York Mets on Sunday at Citi Field.  Ryan Dempster returned from the disabled list and had another outstanding start as he allowed just four hits and struck out four batters and walked none over five innings pitched.

Dempster threw 63 pitches today and his scoreless streak was extended to 27 innings.  It's the longest streak by a Cubs pitcher since Kenny Holtzman's 27-inning streak in 1971.  Demps finishes the first half with an impressive 1.99 ERA.

Ryan Dempster returned from the disabled list and pitched five scoreless innings against the Mets on Sunday (photo from
As expected, pitcher Chris Volstad, who was with the team and made a spot start for Dempster on Tuesday against the Braves, was optioned to Triple-A Iowa to make room on the roster for Dempster. 

The Cubs got off to a great start by scoring four runs in the first inning.  Alfonso Soriano had an RBI single, followed by Jeff Baker's RBI double, then Geovany Soto's 2-RBI single.  In the seventh inning, Starlin Castro hit a three-run homer to give the Cubs a 7-0 lead.

Paul Maholm made his first career relief appearance after 201 starts and pitched one scoreless inning, followed by scoreless innings by Manny Corpas, James Russell and Shawn Camp.  The Cubs ended up with a 4-3 record on the road trip, and have won 9 of their last 13 games heading into the All-Star break.

When asked who his first half MVPs were, manager Dale Sveum said Shawn Camp and James Russell.  Camp was 2-4 with a 2.86 ERA and one save, while Russell was 2-0 with a 2.43 ERA going into Sunday's game.  Russell had a 2.30 ERA in 101 games since the start of 2011, the second-lowest mark by a National League left-hander.

"Those guys have been phenomenal in the first half," Sveum said.  "Without those two guys, we would've been in a lot of trouble.  The combination of both of them has been tremendous.  They've been consistent all season long.  To have the numbers they have, and handle a position they've been put in [that they aren't used to] speaks volumes for what they've done for this team this year."

Starlin Castro and Bryan LaHair will be the Cubs' representatives in Kansas City at this year's All-Star game on Tuesday at 6:30pm CT on FOX.  "You're always ready for a break in this game," Sveum said.  "[Four] days off will be nice."

Bryan LaHair and Starlin Castro were selected to play in the 2012 All-Star Game in Kansas City (photo from
LaHair said, "This morning, I woke up and I'm like, 'Hmm, I've got a game today, and I'm going to Kansas City,' and it's kind of cool -- I'm going to meet my brother and wife there."  Go NL!

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