Game #18 at Chicago Cubs

Friendly Confines | 2:20 | Duke vs. Ryan Dempster | Box
For the sixth time this year I can write: Cubs beat Bucs, McLouth extends hitting streak.
It started off okay – the Pirates collected two hits off of Ryan Dempster in the first inning after getting just one hit off him in 7 IP in his previous start against the Pirates.
The pitching was awful again. Zach Duke gave up five runs in four innings and didn’t strike out anyone. The Pirates nearly got him off the hook by placing a three spot on the board in the fifth. But the bottom of the fifth did in the Pirates and Franquelis Osoria, who had relieved Duke. The Cubs scored five times and were helped along by some poor fielding by the Pirates. That sealed the deal.
Adam LaRoche’s woes continued. He had no hits in four at bats and committed an error in the fateful fifth inning. In the home half of the fifth, with the Bucs trailing 5-3, LaRoche struck out with the bases drunk to end the inning.
Ryan Doumit hit a pair of solo homers in a losing effort. That was his first multi-homer effort since 7/19/05 when he hit his first and second career dingers.
This appears to be the end of the “Rajai Davis Phenomena”.

Pre-Game Thoughts
The Battling Bucs have already seen Ryan Dempster once this year and it wasn’t a good site for the Pirate faithful. Dempster went seven and gave up just one hit, but received no decision for his effort. He is looking to his third game in April. Previously in his career he has not one more than twice in baseball’s opening month.
Chris Gomez is 5-13 for his career of Dempster. Prior to ’08, Dempster hadn’t started in Wrigley since 2005.
Once again, Dempster will face Zach Duke. As Matt pointed out, Duke’s decent start on the young season might actually provide a glimmer of hope. Duke’s ERA rests below 3.00. He only has seven whiffs on the year in 18-2/3, which isn’t by any means good. But, he struck out six Cub batsmen last time he threw against them.
In 114 ABs, the current batch of Cubs has just six RBI against Duke. Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Ronny Cedeno each have 8 hits off Duke and each are hitting .333 or better lifetime.
Bob Smizik sounds genuinely mad.

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Posted in 2008 Pittsburgh Pirates, Adam LaRoche, April, Away, Chicago Cubs, Game Threads, Nate McLouth, Zach Duke. Comments Off on Game #18 at Chicago Cubs
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