Dempster Extremely Sharp at HoHoKam

In what was definitely his best performance of the Spring  Ryan Dempster threw 5 innings of one-hit shutout ball at Mesa's HoHoKam Park today, although the Cubs went on to lose the game to the Oakland A's by a score of 5-2.

Coming back from an atrocious outing last week, Dempster was very sharp today, posting a line of no runs on one hit and two walks with seven strikeouts in 5.1 IP, throwing 78 pitches (46 strikes), with a 5/7 GB/FB.  

However, A's starter Joe Blanton was also on his game (six shutout innings), so the game stayed scoreless going into the bottom of the 7th inning. 

The Cubs struck first, as Derrek Lee lined an opposite-field home run into the right-field bullpen off A's reliever Andrew Brown to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead. Aramis Ramirez walked, and then Henry Blanco smoked a double into the left-center field alley, scoring Ramirez all the way from 1st.

Kevin Hart entered the game in the top of the 8th, a "back-to-back" outing following his strong inning of work yesterday. But Hart was terrible today, allowing a double, a single and two walks, before being relieved by Carlos Marmol, with the Cubs leading 2-1, one out, and the bases loaded. And Marmol was no relief, either. .

As has been the case in most of his appearances this Spring, Marmol could not find the plate, and was behind on every hitter. He displayed a lot of negative emotion on the mound, and looked to be very frustrated with himself.

Marmol walked the first batter he faced to force-in the tying run, and then gave up an RBI line single to right and a FC RBI, before finally retiring the side. Marmol allowed another run in the 9th after walking the lead-off hitter. 

The Cubs loaded the bases in the bottom of the 9th (single by Ramirez and walks to Fukudome and Blanco), but with the tying runs on base, Felix Pie flied out to deep right to end the game.    

Henry Blanco had a good day at the plate today, going 2-3 with an RBI double, a single, and and a walk, and he also threw out a runner trying to steal. Aramis Ramirez was also 2-3 with a walk and a run scored, and Ryan Theriot was 2-4 with a triple.

Other notable pitching performances by the Cubs today included:

Michael Wuertz (who gave up a double and a single in the top of the 6th after relieving Dempster, but no runs thanks to a strong throw by Kosuke Fukudome to cut down a runner at the plate to end the inning),

Sean Gallagher (who walked the bases loaded before being relieved with one out in the top of the 7th),

and 

Les Walrond (who somewhat surprisingly struck out two batters with the bases loaded in relief of Gallagher).

The Cubs will play the second half of their "Split Squad Wednesday" this evening versus the Giants in Scottsdale.

Comments

quick lead for the cubs in the night game...

the night game vs Giants from Scottsdale is on mlb audio and it's 1-0 Cubs on an infield hit by EPat, stole 2nd moved to 3rd by Fontegod and RBI out by Hoffpauir, Lieber on the mound

Soto run scoring double scores Murton, goes to 3rd on throw. 2-0 Gameday is working (albeit very slow)... http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/y2007/gd.html?...

Nice job as usual, Phil.

looks like cedeno is building his trade value in tonites game. is there anyway dempster goes to lou and tells him if you need me i can close?

Well it took him 2 games, but Ronny did hit for the cycle today.

looks like cedeno is building his trade value in tonites game. is there anyway dempster goes to lou and tells him if you need me i can close?

Funny you should ask that--I caught the end of an interview with Dempster on Comcast tonight and there was point in the interview that was all teed up for him to say something like, "Sure, I'd prefer to start, but I want this team to win, and I'll do whatever I can to help that happen." Instead, he responded with an expression of confidence in his ability to win as a starter. It makes the think the answer to your question would be a definite no.

Heading to midway direct to Tuscon in about 20 mins. My first spring game @ Rockies Saturday. Wish me luck! p.s. I hear you guys will have snow....shame.

::glare

Dempster is in the last year of his contract, and if he can establish himself as a starter this season, it will be worth a ton to him as FA this coming offseason. After all, he's got a family to look out for.

that is true dempster does have that family to take care of

Is Dempster supporting Marquis's family too?

You'd think so, to hear his telephone interviews with Kaplan on WGN radio. You can always hear Dempster's kid in the background as he's talking on the phone. Sometimes it's noisy enough you'd think he had Marquis family there as well.

Sean Gallagher and Jose Ascanio placed on the Des Moines roster

Suffice it to say - the "rumored" pitchers going to the O's have certainly not helped the Cubs out. They stunk it up in ST. Thanks alot!

hey, if you heard you were trade bait to baltimore, you'd stink it up too!

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