National League Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, May 8th (All times Eastern)
Atlanta Braves (18-12) at Chicago Cubs (12-17), 8:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Atlanta - Randall Delgado (2-3, 5.14) Chicago - Ryan Dempster (0-1, 0.95)
(Sports Network) - Chicago Cubs right-hander Ryan Dempster has a diminutive earned run average of 0.95, but no wins to show for it.
Dempster gets another crack at win No. 1 tonight against the Atlanta Braves in the continuation of a three-game series at Wrigley Field. Dempster is 0-1 in four starts and hasn't allowed a run in each of his previous two outings. He fired six shutout innings in a loss at Miami on April 17, then missed some time before coming back with eight scoreless frames in a 4-3 defeat at Cincinnati last Thursday.
The right-hander has struck out at least five batters in every start this season for a total of 29, and looks to build on his weak career record against the Braves. In 29 career matchups, 18 of which have been starts, in this series, Dempster is just 2-12 with a 4.74 ERA.
Chicago can only hope that Dempster pitches as well as Jeff Samardzija did in Monday's series-opening 5-1 win. Samardzija held the Braves to one run on five hits in seven innings to go along with seven K's and two walks. The win lifted the righty to a 4-1 mark this season. Carlos Marmol and James Russell both hurled a scoreless inning of relief to preserve the win.
"Samardzija was really, really good," Atlanta's Chipper Jones said. "I had only faced him out of the bullpen, but he's got some staying power. Two heaters -- a two-seamer and a four-seamer. He cuts it sometimes. Command has always been kind of shaky for him. It looks like he's got the command thing down or at least he did tonight. He was really tough."
Bryan LaHair and Ian Stewart started the fourth inning with back-to-back home runs, while Geovany Soto hit a two-run shot in the eighth inning for the Cubs, who have won two straight and three of four games to start a six-game homestand. Starlin Castro added two hits and an RBI in the win and LaHair has reached base safely in a team-high 25 straight games.
Atlanta was coming off a three-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field and scored no less than seven runs in each game. However, the Braves' bats were held in check last night.
Jason Heyward's solo homer in the second inning was all the offense Atlanta would get, while Tyler Pastornicky and Jones both ended with two hits. Michael Bourn went 1-for-2 to extend his hitting streak to 11 games.
Braves young right-hander Tommy Hanson took the loss, giving up two runs on five hits and two walks in six innings.
"I felt good today. I felt like I was throwing strikes. There's always room for improvement, but I felt good today," Hanson said.
The Braves are 3-1 so far on a nine-game road trip and will also visit St. Louis. Taking the hill for Atlanta tonight will be Randall Delgado, who is mired in a personal three-game losing streak. Delgado has won his first two starts, but has since struggled to find the win column.
Delgado pitched eight decent innings and yielded two runs in a 4-0 loss versus Philadelphia last Thursday. The loss dropped him to 2-3 in five starts, but lowered his earned run average from 6.30 to 5.14. The righty has never faced the Cubs in his brief career.
Chicago lost four of seven matchups with the Braves a year ago.
05/08 10:51:27 ET