National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, July 14th
(All times eastern)
Arizona Diamondbacks (42-44) at Chicago Cubs (34-52), 1:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Arizona - Joe Saunders (4-5, 3.44)
Chicago - Ryan Dempster (4-3, 1.99)
(Sports Network) - One of the hottest pitchers in the major leagues - Chicago
right-hander Ryan Dempster - opens the second half of the season today when
the Cubs host the Arizona Diamondbacks in the second of three weekend games at
Dempster, a 35-year-old native of British Columbia, was 0-3 though nine starts
at the end of May, but was positively stellar in June and early July, winning
four straight decisions against Milwaukee, Minnesota, Boston and the New York
He didn't allow a single run across those four starts - which were interrupted
by a stint on the 15-day disabled list with a balky right lat muscle - while
surrendering 16 hits, walking three and striking out 16 in 27 innings.
He's not given up a run since May 30, when he was touched for six runs in 4
1/3 innings while getting a no-decision in the Cubs' 8-6 defeat of the San
Dempster is just 2-8 in 19 career meetings with the Diamondbacks, including 15
starts, while posting a 6.72 ERA in 83 innings.
In Friday's opener, Alfonso Soriano smacked four hits, including a pair of
home runs, drove in five and scored three times, leading the Cubs to an 8-1
"I swung very good. (In the All-Star break) I cleared my mind and my body,
too. The game I had, I hope I have a couple of more like that," Soriano said.
Paul Maholm (7-6) surrendered a run on six hits and a walk in seven innings
for the Cubs, who have won three of their last four.
Anthony Rizzo tallied two hits and scored twice.
Ian Kennedy (6-8) was shelled for six runs on seven hits and two walks in
five-plus innings for the Diamondbacks, who had their three-game winning
"He was unable to execute his pitches, especially against Soriano," Arizona
manager Kirk Gibson said.
The Diamondbacks start left-hander Joe Saunders, who returns for the first
time Saturday after a stint on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left
Saunders last pitched on June 16 in Anaheim, where he allowed eight hits and
two runs in six innings of a 2-0 loss to the Angels.
He was placed on the DL the next day.
Saunders made one minor-league start for Arizona's Rookie League affiliate and
allowed three hits and five runs in 4 1/3 innings.
He's dropped both career meetings with the Cubs, allowing 14 hits and seven
earned runs over 8 2/3 innings.
The Diamondbacks swept a three-game series in Phoenix in June, while the Cubs
won last year's season series, 4-3.
Arizona last won the season series in 2009, 4-2.
07/14 10:32:04 ET