Coming off another big effort at the plate against their NL Central rivals, Dempster and the Cubs look to win their third series this season against the Brewers on Thursday at Miller Park.
Hours after the team placed struggling slugger Aramis Ramirez(notes) on the disabled list with a sore thumb, Marlon Byrd(notes) homered twice and Derrek Lee(notes) hit the 300th of his career in Chicago’s 9-4 win over Milwaukee on Wednesday night.
Despite ranking near the bottom of the majors in runs (251), the Cubs (27-32) have scored 58 times while going 6-2 against Milwaukee this season.
Chicago has won three of five overall since scoring five total runs during a season high-tying four-game losing streak.
“All we’re trying to do is create a little sense of urgency here,” said manager Lou Piniella, whose team hit a season-high five home runs Wednesday. “We’ve got to keep grinding. That was the purpose.”
Batting .234, Lee is one of the more prominent Cubs struggling at the plate. However, after becoming the seventh player to hit his 300th homer in a Cubs’ uniform, he could be poised to break out.
Though Lee is batting .231 against the Brewers this season, three of his seven home runs have come versus Milwaukee.
“He’s a staple over there at first base. He loves to play and he’s been productive,” Piniella said. “We need to get him hot with the bat this year. He’s had a great career, a great career.”
Dempster (4-5, 3.76 ERA) has certainly had success against the Brewers, going 13-2 with a 3.18 ERA in 19 starts.
Though the Cubs have scored three or fewer runs in eight of Dempster’s 12 starts this season, they’ve scored 17 while he’s gone 2-0 with a 3.86 ERA against Milwaukee in 2010.
“It’s nice when guys put up a bunch of runs,” said Dempster, who’s posted a 2.83 ERA while winning his last four starts against the Brewers.
The right-hander allowed three runs and struck out seven in 6 1-3 innings of an 8-5 win at Houston on Saturday.
Bush (1-5, 4.97), who allowed nine runs - four homers - in 3 2-3 innings of a 12-2 loss at home in his last start against Chicago on April 25, returns to the Brewers’ rotation after manager Ken Macha decided to start Manny Parra(notes) in his place Sunday.
The right-hander, who retired the only batter he faced in relief in a 4-3, 10-inning win at St. Louis in that contest, is 0-5 with a 6.23 ERA in eight starts since winning at Pittsburgh on April 20.
Ryan Braun went 0 for 3 but drove in two runs Wednesday for the Brewers (24-35), who’ve lost seven of 10 overall and are an NL-worst 9-17 at home this season.
Though Braun is batting .305, he’s 0 for 7 in this series and 1 for 18 against the Cubs at Miller Park in 2010.