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Tuesday, April 16

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Cubs Sat Apr 24 2010

Cubs, Dempster Cool Off Hot Brewers Team, Win 8-1

After an abysmal series in New York that saw the Cubs lose three out of four to the Mets it would be just their luck that they would be facing a hot hitting Milwaukee Brewers team this weekend. A Brewers team that put 20 runs in one game alone against the Pirates Thursday night. However, Friday night at Miller Park in Milwaukee would belong to the Cubs.

Starting pitching for the Cubs first 16 games of the year has been above par. Ryan Dempster has made four quality starts this season. If he had some more offensive support and a bullpen capable of holding leads late he could be 4-0, instead he is 2-0. Which isn't terrible, but he has pitched well enough to earn a four wins. Last night Dempster pitched seven and two-thirds, surrendering seven hits and only allowing one run.

The offense would support his valiant effort to the tune of eight runs on 13 hits. They scored early and often against Brewers starter Jeff Suppan. Ryan Theriot and Kosuke Fukudome got the Cubs started in the first inning with back-to-back doubles for their first run. Fukudome would later hit a solo homer in the third, his second of the year. Tyler Colvin put the game out of reach with a two-run homer in the top of the ninth.

Fukudome loves hitting at Miller Park. He has a life time .382 average against the Brew Crew in their home park. That includes 21 hits, three homers, 12 RBI and a .443 OBP. It definitely would behoove Lou Piniella to put him in the line up again tonight. Although with the Brewers lefty Doug Davis starting he might be riding the pine to start the evening.

The Cubs offense did everything right last night, hitting with men on and less than two outs and getting those clutch hits when they needed them. Something that was severely lacking in that series against the Mets. A series, in which they could've easily taken three of four or at the very least split. Until they can hit with consistency it is going to be a struggle for this team. The talent to win and be successful is there.

However, leaving runners in scoring position and not coming through with clutch hits is going to hinder any teams ability to win games. It doesn't matter if it is the '27 Yankees or the 2010 Cubs a team can have all the talent in the world, but if they don't come up with the key hits they aren't going to win many games it is just that simple.

The first order of business is getting Aramis Ramirez back on track. Ramirez has been a clutch RBI guy for this club since he was acquired in 2003. If he can figure it out sooner rather than later the offense will be in good shape. He got the night off last evening and should make a return to the line up tonight.

Aside from Ramirez possibly returning to the lineup tonight the Cubs will send one of their workhorses to the mound tonight in Ted Lilly. Lilly had offseason shoulder surgery which delayed his 2010 debut. During rehab he tweaked his back, which further delayed his return to the rotation. He completed two successful rehab assignments for Triple-A Iowa and Single-A Peoria and is ready to go.

Also making a debut of sorts is Carlos Zambrano as a reliever. The Cubs are looking for Z to lock down the seventh and eighth innings in order to get the ball to Carlos Marmol in the ninth.

Ted Lilly (0-0, N/A ERA) makes his debut against Brewers lefty Doug Davis (0-1, 11.25 ERA). Game time is 6:10 p.m. CT on WGN TV and WGN Radio 720 AM.

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