Monday: Doug Davis (0-0, 9.00) vs. Ryan Dempster (0-0, 1.50)
Davis somehow managed four decent innings on Wednesday after a horrendous first inning. All in all, he allowed four runs in four innings. He struck out four and walked three before being lifted mid-inning in the fifth. Throughout his career, Davis has been more effective against righties. This should help him out considering the Cubs are almost completely right handed. The wind sounds like it is blowing out to right field today, so it shouldn't effect Davis too much. The main way of success for Davis is going to be to keep his walks down. Games can get really ugly for pitchers in Wrigley Field's hitter friendly dimensions. As always, solo home runs won't kill you; three run shots will.
Dempster struck out nine, while walking just two Braves in his first start of the season last Wednesday. He ended up getting a no decision after John Grabow surrendered the lead in the eighth. Dempster has been incredible since converting to a starter. Over the past two seasons, Dempster has started 65 games. In that streach, his ERA stands around 3.20. He has consistently ranked near the top in strikeouts since the conversion. Couple that with a relatively low walk rate and one could see why Dempster could be put in talks with some of the better pitchers in baseball.
Wednesday: Dave Bush (0-0, 4.76) vs. Randy Wells (1-0, 0.00)
Bush looked great in his first start of the season on Friday night. He struck out six Cardinals, while walking just two in 5.2 innings. He was one pitch away from getting through six before Matt Holliday connected for a two-run home run and Bush was immediately pulled. The hook seemed rather quick considering how well Bush was pitching, but the Brewers bullpen held the lead until the ninth. That's when Nick Stavinoha connected off Trevor Hoffman for a game winning homer, costing Bush the win the process. Regardless, there was a lot to be excited about the way Bush threw the ball on Friday.
Wells is a pitcher I really don't understand. His stuff doesn't blow you away. His numbers don't blow you away. But somehow, Wells figures out a way. Take his last start for example. He pitched six scoreless innings in a win over the Atlanta Braves. In that outing, he walked two batters and struck out just one. Where Wells is effective is with his control. He walked just 46 batters last season in 165.1 innings. That has helped combat his rather low strikeout rate. Despite Wells' success against the Brewers, I'm giving the edge to the Brewers in this one.
Thursday: Jeff Suppan (0-0, -) vs. Carlos Zambrano (1-1, 11.88)
Sigh. What else can you say? Jeff Suppan has been named the fifth starter for the time being despite being the worst option. This contract just continues to hurt the Brewers. Manager Ken Macha said the decision wasn't financially motivated, but the what was it? It surely wasn't talent motivated. Suppan was terrible each of the last two seasons. He was terrible in spring training. He was bad in his rehab start. Tell me how else can they justify this decision? Hopefully he somehow pitches alright, but the odds are not in the Brewers favor.
Zambrano was rocked on opening day to the tune of eight runs in 1.1 innings. He followed that up with a solid outing against the Reds. Zambrano struck out nine in seven innings, while walking three. He gave up three runs and got the win. Zambrano has struggled with his control of late, but the Cubs are surely favored in this one.