New York (58-71) at Chicago (64-62)

Light Snow Currently: Chicago, IL
Temp: 19° F
  • Game info: 4:10 pm EDT Sat Aug 29, 2009
  • TV: FOX
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Chicago Cubs haven’t produced many highlights this month, but Ryan Dempster’s(notes) previous start was one of those rare shining moments.

Dempster will look for another strong outing Saturday as the Cubs try to post back-to-back wins for the first time in two weeks when they host the New York Mets.

Chicago’s 5-2 victory in Friday’s series opener was its seventh in 21 games, but it was nearly another loss.

New York’s Fernando Tatis(notes) drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth with a two-out double that went off the glove of left fielder Alfonso Soriano(notes).

Aramis Ramirez(notes) tied it on a single in the bottom of the inning and Soriano, who committed his 10th error earlier in the game, followed with a three-run homer - his first since July 29. Soriano, who reached 20 homers for the eighth straight season, might sit out Saturday because of an ailing left knee.

“I want to play, but it’s very tough,” said Soriano, who is expected to have an MRI on Monday. “I don’t get a very good jump (on the ball) because I cannot put weight on my knee.”

Chicago may not miss Soriano’s bat in the lineup with the beleaguered Milton Bradley(notes) on a roll. The right fielder was booed after failing to catch Omir Santos’(notes) tying bloop single in the second, but finished with three hits and is 8 for 16 with two homers and four RBIs since Tuesday, when he made controversial comments about Chicago’s fans.

The Cubs (64-62) will also look to Dempster (7-7, 4.07 ERA) as they try to win their first series since taking both contests of a rain-shortened three-game set against Pittsburgh from Aug. 14-15.

If Dempster can repeat his last effort, Chicago has a good chance to accomplish that feat. In Sunday’s 3-1 victory in Los Angeles, he outdueled All-Star Chad Billingsley(notes) by giving up one unearned run and three hits over seven innings.

Dempster also struck out five, giving him 23 in the last three outings. He is 8-4 with a 5.54 ERA in 23 appearances—12 starts—against the Mets.

The right-hander will have to contend with former Cubs outfielder Angel Pagan(notes), batting .364 with three home runs in the last eight games, and Tatis, who is 7 for 12 (.583) over his last three.

Losers of six of seven, the Mets (58-71) will counter with right-hander Bobby Parnell(notes) (3-6, 5.08), who will make his fifth career start and first against the Cubs.

After beginning the season in the bullpen, Parnell joined the rotation Aug. 8 after the birth of Mike Pelfrey’s(notes) son. He has stayed there as the Mets have continued to add to their lengthy disabled list, going 1-3 with an 8.82 ERA in four outings.

He has posted a 15.75 ERA in consecutive losing efforts and gave up five runs over five innings in Monday’s 6-2 defeat to visiting Philadelphia.

“I’m just scrambling a little to get back to my groove as a starter,” said Parnell, who filled that role at Double-A Binghamton last season.

Chicago first baseman Derrek Lee(notes), 0 for 2 with a strikeout against Parnell, is hitting .380 with 13 RBIs over the last 13 games.

The Cubs are 5-2 against the Mets since the start of last season, winning the last three meetings at Wrigley Field.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Parnell NYM vs. R. Dempster CHC
4-8 Record 11-9
5.30 ERA 3.65
74 K 172
46 BB 65
1.66 WHIP 1.31

Scoreboard

Saturday, Aug 29