|Public Betting: Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs Spread, Trends & Matchups|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Wednesday, 02 April 2008 20:42|
Dempster Gets His Shot
Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella promised Ryan Dempster a shot at the starting rotation - and now he's finally getting his chance.
Dempster will make his first start in nearly three years on Thursday when the Cubs try to avoid a season-opening three-game sweep to the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Chicago -125 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 8 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 70% of bets for this game have been placed on Chicago -125 (View MLB Bet Percentages).
Dempster has served most of the last four seasons in the Cubs' bullpen and racked up 87 saves. However, he began his career as a starter, and has been eager to return to that role.
Last May, he nearly got his wish. He told reporters that he was moving into the rotation, but after a meeting with Piniella, he announced that he was staying in the bullpen after all.
"It proved to be the right decision to leave him where he was, but with the understanding he would get every opportunity this spring to start," Piniella said.
Dempster, who made six starts for the Cubs in 2005 before he was converted to a closer, is 51-58 with a 4.99 ERA in 162 career starts. He went 14-10 with Florida and earned a spot on the NL All-Star team in 2000, and set a career high for wins the following season, going 15-12 for the Marlins.
"It's exciting for me," Dempster said of his return to the rotation. "It's back to what I first started doing. I'm excited to go out and do it."
Dempster is 4-2 with 10 saves in 11 chances and a 2.46 ERA in 30 career appearances against the Brewers - his lowest ERA against any NL team. That includes eight starts in which he went 4-1 with a 3.20 ERA.
The Cubs are hoping that Dempster can help them avoid an 0-3 start since losing their first 14 games in 1997. Chicago lost 8-2 on Wednesday after falling 4-3 in 10 innings on Monday.
The Brewers have not swept a three-game series against the Cubs since May 3-5, 2005, and has not swept a three-game series at Wrigley Field since May 9-12, 2002.
``It's certainly not a good start,'' Piniella said. ``I told our baseball team they better be ready to play. I meant it. I wasn't joking around.''
Derrek Lee and Geovany Soto each homered for the Cubs, accounting for their only runs. Piniella announced after the game he would move Alfonso Soriano, off to an 0-for-9 start, back into the leadoff spot from No. 2 in the order.
Rickie Weeks homered on the first pitch of the game for Milwaukee, and Ryan Braun and Jason Kendall, who played 57 games for the Cubs last season, each had three hits. Milwaukee is eager to bounce back this season after blowing an 8 1/2-game lead last season to the Cubs, who overtook the Brewers to win the NL Central.
``It doesn't matter when you play,'' manager Ned Yost said. ``We lost the division by two games last year.''
In the series finale, Milwaukee will hand the ball to starter Dave Bush, a 12-game winner in each of his last two seasons. Last season, Bush was 12-10 with a career-worst 5.12 ERA and led the Brewers with 134 strikeouts in 31 starts.
Bush has struggled against the Cubs, going 1-5 with a 4.36 ERA in eight career starts. He dropped all three of his starts against Chicago last season, earning a 7.00 ERA.
by: Dave Michaels - thespread.com – Email Us
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