Gamecast: June 6th at Reds
Ryan Dempster (4-3, 4.48 ERA) vs. Matt Maloney (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
The Cubs go for the series win in game two tonight against the Cincinnati Reds, which is something we haven't said a lot this season it seems. Ryan Demspter, who hasn't pitched since May 30th, is coming off his best start of the year. He threw 7 shutout innings against the Dodgers and didn't walk a batter. Hopefully, Dempster has turned the corner and is more of the guy who threw in the regular season last season.
For the Reds, Matt Maloney makes his Major League debut today (which is never a good sign for the Cubs). Maloney, originally drafted by the Phillies, came over in a deal for Kyle Lohse in 2007. Since then, he has pitched fairly well for the Reds, which includes 58/9 K/BB ratio this season in Louisville. Also, since he's a lefty that means Reed Johnson will get the start in center. It could also mean a start for Jake Fox finally, but I doubt it happens.
The Cubs offense went to sleep last night, with the GWRBI coming from Carlos Zambrano last night. If there is any good news it is that Zambrano can pinch-hit again if Lou keeps burning players in double switches like in Atlanta.
Cubs Starting Pitching - The Cubs starters have really gotten the job done in recent weeks. That continued last night when Zambrano threw 6 2/3 innings of shutout ball. Ted Lilly and Randy Wells also added great starts this week, so all those people calling for Jake Peavy might want to hold off for a little bit.
Mike Fontenot - He had the huge hit against Derek Lowe on Wednesday. He followed that up with a bases-loaded two-out walk and another hit last night. He's up to .232 overall.
Micah Hoffpauir - Just goes to show that it is never easy coming off the bench after his 0-for-4 night, including a one-out bases-loaded strikeout in the first inning. Granted, he did come up with the game winner on Wednesday. So, I'll give him a little slack, even if he is 1-for-8 in his last five games.
Alfonso Soriano - It's hard to put a guy with a four-game hitting streak in the cold section, but Soriano has seen his batting average drop during this time. We've all seen him go through these slumps before, but he's down to .244 overall. Right now, I just feel that he can't be counted on to come up with the big hit. While I was at the games this week it was obvious that people are just setting him up for sliders and breaking balls away. I'm ready for one of those crazy hot two weeks where he carries the Cubs.
I really don't like this matchup with the way the Cubs are swinging the bats. A lefty rookie with good control doesn't give me the greatest feeling inside. Hopefully, Maloney will be nervous and give up a couple long balls that lead to a 4-2 Cubs win.