Dempster Struggles as Cubs Drop Series Opener
On a beautiful Arizona night, the Cubs struggled to get the bats going while Dempster did little to aid the ailing Cubs rotation. Coming into the game, Demp had not recorded a quality start yet this year. That didn’t change after his start tonight. Chris Young doubled to left to lead off the game, followed by a walk and a hit by pitch to load the bases. The bases were then promptly unloaded by Stephen Drew, who drilled the 0-2 pitch over the wall in right-center. It didn’t stop there. After a Montero groundout, Dempster walked Mora, Branyan, and Parra to load the bases again. Pitchers love to hit in the first inning, and Barry Enright took the opportunity to help himself out with a bloop single to short right field. After another Chris Young base hit, Quade had seen enough. Dempster exited the ballgame, throwing just 39 pitches en route to the shortest outing of his career, recording just one out. He was charged with 7 earned runs. Young righty Justin Berg entered the game. Berg was called up from triple-A to replace Jeff Stevens, who pitched in the mop-up role earlier in the week. More bad luck struck the Cubs, as the first batter Berg faced lined a pitch back toward the mound. It connected with the inside of his left leg. After a bit of limping around, Berg remained in the game to retire Upton, and end the inning from hell.
After a 1-2-3 inning by Chicago, the D-Backs were back at it. Miguel Montero drove in Stephen Drew to add to their lead. In the 3rd, Montero struck again, hitting a 2-run shot to right. Jeff Samardzija entered the game in the bottom of the fifth inning, and had another solid outing, allowing zero runs in his inning of work. Grabow, Mateo, and Marmol teamed up to finish out the game, pitching in the 6th, 7th, and 8th respectivley. Mateo did allow one run on an RBI groundout for Stephen Drew in the 8th.
Barry Enright, who came into the game with a record of 0-3, and a 6.65 ERA, pitched very well. It is easy to get lackadaisical with a large lead, but Enright was efficient and effective. Castro singled in the 1st, but nothing came of it as he got out of the inning. The second was no better for the Cubs, going down in order, a common theme on Thursday night. Koyie Hill, former Diamondback catcher, did lead off the 3rd with a solo shot to deep right. The Cubs loaded the bases in the fifth but Starlin Castro was robbed of a hit by a diving Justin Upton with two outs. Enright allowed one more in the 7th on a Reed Johnson sacrifice fly to center. Josh Collmenter, who has a rather unique delivery, developed perhaps by throwing tomahawks at trees with his brother as a child, came on with two down in the 7th and struck out Starlin Castro. Collmenter finished out the game strongly only allowing walk in the 8th.
The game finished at 11-2 and the Cubs dropped the series opener at Chase Field. Dempster did not help out Quade, who now needs some extra help in the bullpen.