Streaking/Slumping: Unlucky Dempster
May, 14, 2012
By Bruce Levine | ESPNChicago.com
Getty ImagesRyan Dempster can't get a win, and Alfonso Soriano can't hit a home run early in the season.
1. Ryan Dempster, SP: This unlucky pitcher should have five wins. Instead he is looking for his first victory since Aug. 10 mostly due to a lack of run support. Dempster has been almost unhittable since the start of the season and much of that has to do with great command of his stuff. He has 36 strikeouts in 35 1/3 innings and leads the National League with a 1.02 ERA and is second in WHIP at 0.85 in five starts. Dempster has allowed one run and nine hits in his last 15 innings. He could be the first All-Star starting pitcher who enters the game without a victory.
2. David DeJesus, RF: A solid free agent pickup in the offseason, DeJesus had a hot week, batting .350 and contributing some key hits in both wins and losses. DeJesus had a memorable night on Friday with a pinch-hit grand slam to give the Cubs a lead, and then he did it again with an RBI triple in the ninth inning to send their game against the Brewers to extra innings. Give the Cubs brass the credit for getting this move right. DeJesus has been a solid defender and has a .371 on-base percentage as the leadoff man.
1. Geovany Soto, C: He makes this list for the second time as his offense continues to go down the tubes. All the good sessions he has with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo seems to go by the boards when he enters a game. Soto was 2 for 15 with one RBI this week. On the season he has a microscopic .517 OPS, third-worst in baseball among catchers with at least 80 at-bats, trailing only Oakland’s Kurt Suzuki and San Diego’s Nick Hundley. Trade talks for Soto at this point would be one-sided.
2. Alfonso Soriano, LF: Try on a 3-for-17 week with two RBIs for size as this 36-year-old slugger tries to find his offensive game. Soriano is the last highly-paid hitter not to have a home run so far this season. Like Soto, his .587 OPS is among the worst of regulars in baseball. Twenty-two of his 28 hits this season are singles. On a positive note, Soriano’s defense has been at least average and at times game-saving, as a big catch in the gap proved against Atlanta last week.