Rapid Reaction: Cardinals 4, Cubs 1
July, 20, 2012
By Doug Padilla | ESPNChicago.com
ST. LOUIS -- The Chicago Cubs fell 4-1 to the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday in the opener of a three-game series and a six-game road trip.
How it happened: Ryan Dempster saw his 33-inning scoreless streak come to an end in the first inning as he lost his first game since May 25. The Cardinals scored three times off Dempster in the opening inning, while Matt Holliday crushed a towering home run off him in the third. The Cubs scored in the second inning on a sacrifice fly from Darwin Barney.
What it means: There is no telling what Dempster’s outing does for his trade value, but it isn’t expected to affect it that much. Dempster’s ERA went from 1.86 to 2.11 but it was still good enough to lead the National League and remain tied for the lead in all of baseball. If he doesn’t get dealt before his next outing, Dempster is scheduled to take the mound again next Friday at Wrigley Field against the Cardinals again.
Outside the box:Cubs starting pitchers entered with a 2.54 ERA over their past eight starts, a stretch that dated back to July 7. After Dempster gave up four runs over six innings, that ERA rose to 2.91 in the last nine starts. Even more impressive over that time period has been the bullpen, which entered Friday’s game with a 1.83 ERA since July 7.
Off beat: Holliday went to lengths Friday that not even prolific former Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols could reach. Holliday’s 469-foot blast was the longest in the seven-year history of new Busch Stadium. The solo shot in the third inning was the first home run Dempster had given up since May 30 when the San Diego Padres took him deep three times.
Up next: The Cubs will send right-hander Matt Garza (5-7, 4.02 ERA) to the mound at St. Louis in the middle game of the three-game series. The Cardinals will counter with right-hander Jake Westbrook (7-8, 3.82) in the 6:15 p.m. start from Busch Stadium.