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Welcome back, Mr. Dempster.

Ryan didn’t pitch much today – just five innings – but he was effective, allowing just four hits, and striking out four, all while taking his scoreless inning streak up to 27 innings. He was on a pretty strict pitch limit, so the five innings aren’t really an issue. The many, many teams watching were undoubtedly pleased. I hope the Cubs send you to a winner, Ryan.

The Cubs’ offense stepped up with two big innings, capped by a three-run bomb from Starlin Castro. It’s a nice end to an otherwise very ugly first half of the year for the Cubs.

Paul Maholm got a rare relief appearance – the first of his career, in fact – as a tune up before the break.

  • Luke D

    Anthony Rizzo was the enemy today.

    • MichiganGoat

      well he sure hurt my chances of beating Caleb in our fantasy league

  • Stu

    Give Baker kudos for the hits today. Seems like the Cubs are showcasing as much as possible for trades.

    Would Garza and Barney to the Tigers make sense for what the Cubs can get back?

  • MXB

    RizzOMG fail to hit? That’s unpossible!

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    Brett/Luke/anyone,
    Ryan Dempster will be traded to the ….? for this package of prospect….?

    Now lets be realistic with the package pf prospects everybody. We probably won’t be getting Zach Lee or Nick Castellanos fyi. But we can always dream

  • Andrewmoore4isu

    I have a feeling the trade partner said “I want to see dempster pitch one more time before we make a decision”

    • cubs4life

      yeah i kinda get that feeling too.. i doubt he will be moved before at least one more start.

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    Gotta love it though. 0-4 and he made contact on all of his outs. One of which was a productive out that helped a 4 run inning. He also is as smooth as any 1st baseman in the game already. Even on a hitless day Rizzo Impresses.

  • Dylan

    Great end to the 1st half of the season! Hope they can keep up this momentum in the 2nd half and finish with a ‘respectable’ record while some of the younger players get some more playing time (hopefully Jackson and Vitters).

  • cubs4life

    Would like to welcome all the scouts in attendance, and would like to officially announce the beginning of the auction of one Ryan Dempster. We would like to open the bidding at 2 top 15 prospects, and the bidding starts…. Now!

  • Josh

    I knew Rizzo wasn’t good enough. (I kid. That’s probably what many are saying though). If Rizzo was brought up earlier he could be in the running for ROY. But who knows how much he learned, maybe he wouldn’t be this good without that minor league experience. And LaHair would still be a nobody, so I guess it worked out for everyone.

    • Richard Nose

      I like the thought. but Bryce Harper would say “thats a clown question bra”.

      • Can’t think of a cool name

        Although Harper is having a fine season, his .283 average and .831 OPS is beatable.

        • Brady

          The hype and bias he has though would not be beatable.

          • MichiganGoat

            clown question bro

    • hansman1982

      Nope Rizzo is not a rookie. Lost his rookie status last year

      • Cooper R

        He is a rookie according to Gordon Wittenmyer (missed rookie status by 3 at-bats and 2 days).

  • Cub Gone Wild

    You can tradz Garza but Barney stays

  • willis

    Nice way to finish the first half. The last couple of weeks have been really fun. Let’s hope the team can keep it up starting next Friday. Demp was crazy impressive today. 63 pitches in 5 innings. That’s outstanding. The pen held it down today as well. Love seeing wins.

  • JoeyCollins

    Thinking Castro and red are getting some better looks with RizzOMG behind them… Also I told the little bro a few weeks back that anytime jeff baker scores the cubs win. I wasn’t serious but now I’m starting to believe it. Although I’m sure it has more to do with getting production out of the back of the lineup I’m still fine giving baker the credit

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Rizzo probably is not affecting the pitches that Castro sees. Pitchers will continue to throw Castro pitches that they think (based on all of those heat charts) that will get Castro out. That means a lot of pitches just outside of the strike zone. Pitchers will stop throwing those when Castro either starts creaming them consistently (improbable but possible) or lays off of them (slightly more probable). The days of choosing pitches based on the on-deck batter are long, long gone. (They very well might have ended in the 1980′s.)

      • Mrp

        Agree with you, but I do think it takes some pressure off of him. Can’t really quantify that though. It’s a good feeling to know that you have someone else in the lineup (especially right behind you) that can get the job done if you fail.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          Ah, my gut was removed during the upgrade. However, I do love Robot 1-X now…..

      • JoeyCollins

        Good point. I still just like giving RizzOMG credit for everything. I don’t really think his name in the lineup made Reed a .300 hitter.

      • AJB

        I don’t think the idea of “protection” in a lineup can be completely dismissed. Pitchers probably will be less inclined to nibble and will have throw more strikes if they don’t want to put runners on ahead of a productive hitter like Rizzo

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    For all of us Rizzo fanatics(me being one of em) lets give a little love to our legitimate All-star Starlin Castro. Great first half. Some mental miscues hurt at time but as Castro gets older those miscues will be minimized. Great first half for Castro and he’s just getting better every day. Also congrats LaHair, I hope an All-star appearance helps you pick up your game in the 2nd half.

  • Jared

    so glad to see starlin have a nice game at the plate… hes been putting the bat on the ball but they havent been falling. Man did he shit on that ball or what!!!

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    Anyone know where to find a CastRizzo jersey?=) Do I have to get a customized jersey?

    • DocPeterWimsey

      heh, maybe WGN should dust off those old “Growing Young Gracefully” commercials from 1988 and 1989……

  • Canadian Cubs Fan

    Cubs turning some sweet double plays the last couple of weeks. Barney and Castro are super strong up the middle, and now with Rizzo at 1B, we’ve got a really strong defensive infield.

  • Heybails91

    4-5 with RISP.. not sure i’ve seen that yet this year.

  • calicubsfan007

    Nice job Demp and Maholm. Eh, one can’t be great in every game. I still think Rizzo is the bomb.

  • Jason “Thundermug”

    Chris Sale was drafted 3 spots ahead of Cubs pick Hayden Simpson. Don’t blame the Cubs Scouting department for not picking up Chris Sale. (Can still criticize the Pick however )

    • DocPeterWimsey

      It was Joshua Sale who was picked right after Simpson. He’s doing OK in A ball for the Rays.

      • Turn Two

        Chris Sale was picked 3 spots ahead of Simpson.

        • Josh

          Yeah it’s sad looking at Hendry’s draft picks. Just makes me depressed.

  • Mike S

    Brett,
    Now that Rizzo is up with the big club, and Soler is officially a Cub, what should our new Top 10 rankings look like? Here’s my Top 10 (for what it’s worth):

    1.) Brett Jackson
    2.) Javier Baez
    3.) Jorge Soler
    4.) Josh Vitters
    5.) Matt Szczur
    6.) Junior Lake
    7.) Dillon Maples (still yet to throw a pitch)
    8.) Arismendy Alcantara
    9.) Trey McNutt
    10.) Tony Zych

    • Jimmy james

      Not jumping off the bjax bandwagon yet? Seats are opening up all the time

      • Mike S

        Lol, he’s still our most MLB ready prospect. Don’t see how he isn’t our #1 despite the huge K ratio

        • Assman22

          “Most MLB ready prospect” and #1 prospect aren’t always synonymous. Jackson could have a great 2nd half, who knows.

          1. Baez
          2. Jackson
          3. Soler
          4. Almora
          5-10 could be in any order at this point…

    • cubs4life

      speaking of prospects, im not sure if its actually live right now but the futures game is on espn and Jae-Hoon Ha just smacked a 2 run home run in the 2nd inning….

    • daveyrosello

      That’s a clown list, bra. Presuming Almora and no longer counting the Rizz:

      1. Baez
      2. Almora
      3. Soler
      4. Maples
      5. Candelario
      6. Vitters
      7. Jackson
      8. Johnson
      9. Szczur
      10. Watkins

      Just missed: Alcantara, Wells, Underwood, Vogelbach, Lake

  • Jackalope

    I definitely think Candelario has to be somewhere in that top 10. I also might go with Jose Rosario or one of the recently drafted pitchers above McNutt and Zych (Zych being a reliever and McNutt looking like he’ll go that way as well). Of course, Almora will move into the top 5 for sure when he signs.

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    Just a reminder to anyone who doesnt know and is interested, the minor league all-star game is on ESPN 2 starting in a few minutes. Gonna be a lot of good ones goin today.

  • Jackalope

    Sad that Ha is our lone representative. They definitely could have picked a better Cubs prospect.

  • Dylan

    Ha just got a two-run home run off Gerrit Cole (No. 1 pick in last year’s draft) in the 2nd inning.

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    Hoon HAHAHAHA!! Watch out b-jax, Ha’s coming!

    • http://bleachernation.com RicoSanto

      TRADE HIM

    • Andrew

      Ha is definitely my 5-year-old daughter’s favorite Cub minor leaguer. Every time she laughs out loud at something it goes like this: “Ha, ha, ha. OOH! Daddy, I just cheered for the Smokies player and I didn’t even know it!”

      Seriously… Every. Freaking. Time. Please make it stop.

      I’m no expert, but Ha did look comfortable at the plate in the game I went to.

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    Hoon Ha with a HR off of Gerrit Cole, and now a single off of Dylan Bundy. Not bad at all.

    • Ogyu

      They’re not booing, they’re saying “Ho-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-n!”

  • http://Ehanauer.com Clark Addison

    Looks like the league has caught up to Rizzo.

    • ThereWillBeCubs

      Yeah you’re probably right… looks like he’s going to end the season 0 for 308. We should probably just release him.

  • Devo

    Do u think Albert Almora will ever get signed?

  • gratefulled

    Did we really have Koyie Hill on our team this year, or was that just a really bad dream?

  • scoobypop5

    “BJAX band wagon seats” are now taken by the “Tyler Colvin bullet train seats”.
    Except you now need to be a Rockies fan.

    • Serious Cubs Fan

      I don’t think we completely lost that trade because Colvin is prone to hot streaks with that batting eye of his. But we definitely didn’t win that trade thats for sure. Not one of Theo/Jed’s best moves but they took a shot so oh well

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