Friday, July 20, 2012

Ryan Dempster's scoreless innings streak ends at 33 as Cubs lose 4-1 to Cardinals

The Cubs lost 4-1 to the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium Friday night in the first of a three-game series.  There is a good chance this was Ryan Dempster's last start as a Cub as he allowed four runs on seven hits while striking out two batters and walking two over six innings pitched.  This was the right-hander's first loss since May 25th, but it isn't expected to affect his trade value.

Ryan Dempster started for the Cubs against the Cardinals on Friday at Busch Stadium (photo from
Dempster's scoreless streak of 33 innings, tied with Ken Holtzman for the 7th longest in Cubs history, ended tonight when he gave up four hits in a row in the first inning.  Matt Holliday also hit a 469-foot home run off Dempster in the third inning, which is the longest home run in the seven-year history of the new Busch Stadium.

After tonight's game, Dempster’s ERA went from 1.86 to 2.11 but he still leads the National League and remains tied for the best ERA in the majors.  If Dempster isn't traded before his next start, he will most likely pitch next Friday against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field.

The Dodgers have reportedly made an offer to the Cubs for Dempster, but the Cubs haven't responded yet.  If the Cubs do accept the deal, Dempster would have to approve the deal since he has 10 years of major league service time (of which the last five have been with the same team) and has rights to block any trades.

Former Cubs pitcher Ted Lilly, who was traded to the Dodgers during the 2010 non-waiver trade deadline, expressed his thoughts on his former teammate and friend.  "Obviously, he’s a very good pitcher," Lilly said of Dempster.  "He’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever had."

Former Cubs teammate Ted Lilly wouldn't mind having Ryan Dempster on the same team again (photo from Chicago Tribune)
Dale Sveum's goal for the second half is to finish the season at .500, which may not seem like a big deal, but it could be tough for this year's team which went into Friday's game with a record of 38-53.

"There's no reason having a goal if it's not set high," Sveum said.  "To get there, it's going to be tough, obviously, to play 23 games over .500 to get to .500, but that's a goal.  When you set goals, that's what you reach for -- you might come up a little short but you're a lot better off than setting a crappy goal and coming up short on that.  Then you're really screwed."  At the halfway point of the season at the All-Star break, the Cubs were on track to lose more than 100 games, but with a record of 14-5 since June 25th, they currently have the best record in the majors since that date.

In other Cubs news, the team signed Dominican right handed pitcher Juan Carlos Paniagua to a minor league deal for $1.5 million.  The 22-year old will report to Mesa.

Tomorrow the Cubs and Cardinals will play game two of the three game series at 6:15pm CT.  Matt Garza will start for the Cubs and try for his sixth win of the season.

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