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