Chicago (63-44) at Milwaukee (60-47)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Milwaukee, WI
Temp: 63° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Wed Jul 30, 2008
  • TV: ESPN, FSWI
Preview | Box Score | Recap

It’s been seven years since Ryan Dempster last won consecutive road starts in the same season. He’s had more frequent success overall against the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Chicago All-Star looks to help the Cubs notch a fourth straight victory as they try to further extend their lead in the NL Central over the Brewers Wednesday night at Miller Park.

The Cubs (63-44) won their second straight to begin this four-game set, 7-1 over Milwaukee on Tuesday to increase their lead to three games over the Brewers in the division.

“We’re pleased that we won the first two,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. “Let’s not relax now.”

Milwaukee (60-47), meanwhile, has lost four of five since winning eight in a row.

“The season doesn’t stop just because we lost two games to the Cubs,” center fielder Mike Cameron told the Brewers’ official Web site.

After Ted Lilly and Carlos Zambrano outpitched Milwaukee’s CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets in the two wins for the Cubs, they’ll turn to Dempster (11-4, 2.99 ERA), who won away from home for the first time this season in his most recent road start.

Dempster, 1-3 with a 3.42 ERA in nine starts away from Wrigley Field, allowed six hits in eight innings of a 9-0 win at Houston on July 20 for the former starter turned reliever turned back to starter’s first winning road start since April 16, 2005 at Pittsburgh.

“Such a relief,” Dempster said. “All the questions can stop.”

Despite winning his last start of 2002 and first of 2003, the right-hander hasn’t won consecutive road starts in the same season since winning five in a row for Florida in 2001.

Though Dempster failed to earn a decision after allowing a run and two hits in six innings of a 3-2 loss to Florida on Friday, he looks to remain perfect against the Brewers this season.

Prior to this series, Dempster earned both of Chicago’s previous victories over Milwaukee in 2008 - both at Wrigley - while posting a 3.00 ERA in the process. He is 6-1 with a 3.16 ERA in 10 career starts versus Milwaukee.

J.J. Hardy, Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder and Corey Hart—the Brewers’ Nos. 2-5 hitters—are a combined 3-for-33 against Dempster.

After struggling to score runs the past two weeks, Chicago has 22 in its last three contests and has outscored the Brewers 13-5 in this set.

On Tuesday, Aramis Ramirez went 4-for-5 with three doubles and a RBI, while Kosuke Fukudome’s two-run triple highlighted a five-run sixth inning for the Cubs, who have won three in a row on the road where they are 24-30.

Ramirez is 11-for-30 with six RBIs in his last seven contests since going hitless in five straight games.

While the Cubs were able to succeed against Milwaukee’s top two pitchers, they’ll be in for another challenge Wednesday against Manny Parra (9-3, 3.72 ERA).

Parra allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings of a 3-1 loss to Houston on Friday while trying for a ninth consecutive win.

“I want to win every time I pitch,” Parra told the Brewers’ official Web site.

The left-hander allowed three runs in three innings before leaving with a season-ending thumb injury in a 5-4 loss on Aug. 30 in his only previous start versus the Cubs.

Mike Cameron had two hits and the lone RBI on Tuesday for Milwaukee, which looks to avoid losing a season-high four straight games at Miller Park where it is 32-21.

Braun went 1-for-3, but failed to homer for a fourth consecutive contest. He is hitting .382 (13-for-34) against Chicago in 2008.

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Starting Pitchers

R. Dempster Bos vs. M. Parra Cin
17-6 Record 10-8
2.96 ERA 4.39
187 K 147
76 BB 75
1.21 WHIP 1.54

Scoreboard

Wednesday, Jul 30