Ryan Dempster loves pitching against the Brewers. He showed why once again on Friday night in game 1 of a 3 game set in Milwaukee. Coming off of a disappointing series in New York, Chicago’s offense got started in the 1st inning and continued to add insurance.
Dempster was spectacular, handling a potent Brewers offense. The former Cubs closer went 7.2 innings allowing only 1 run. Dempster struck out 4 while walking only 1. However, Dempster did hit Prince Fielder in the 8th.
With 2 men on in the 8th, Lou Piniella went to his closer to clean up the mess. He did. Marmol and his trademark slider struck out Casey McGehee to end the threat. Marmol then went on to pitch the 9th in a non-save situation to end the game.
Though he didn’t pitch, Carlos Zambrano loosened up in the ‘pen for the 1st time since 2002. Piniella has stated, that he plans to use Big Z in relief of Ted Lilly on Saturday during Theodore’s season debut.
Dempster pitched the entire game with a lead thanks to his offense. Chicago led the game off with back to back doubles courtesy of Ryan Theriot and Kosuke Fukudome. The Cubs scored another run in the 1st on a Brewers throwing error at the plate.
Chicago didn’t let up after the 1st. They continued to tack on runs throughout the game. Fukudome added his 2nd homerun of the season in the 3rd. Marlon Byrd, continues to make fans forget Milton Bradley, adding 2 more hits. Byrd leads the league in hitting against left-handers with a .650 clip.
Chad Tracy got the start at 3rd base for Aramis Ramirez. Ramirez is in an 0-19 slump and according to Cubs’ hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, is having problems with his timing.
Alfonso Soriano also got the night off, with Tyler Colvin starting in left field. Colvin hit a no doubt homerun in the 9th to add insult to injury. Colvin is proving that his awesome Spring Training wasn’t a fluke and that he is ready to play at the Major League level.
Despite the victory, the Cubs showed some shaky defense including botched double plays by Mike Fontenot and errant throws by Theriot. Chicago can’t afford to ignore the fundamentals especially when they’ve been struggling so bad on offense and in the bullpen.
Final Score: Cubs (7-10) 8 – Brewers (8-8) 1
WP: Ryan Dempster (2-0)
LP: Jeff Suppan (0-1)
Chicago looks to take game 2 from the Brew Crew tomorrow. Ted Lilly is expected to be activated off of the disabled list to make his season debut. Milwaukee is scheduled to pitch Doug Davis.