In 41 career games, including 19 starts, the right-hander is 13-3 with a 2.67 ERA against the Brewers. This season, he's 2-0 with a 3.86 ERA. Such gaudy statistics have left Brewers manager Ken Macha resorting to jokes to explain the misfortunate scheduling.
"Isn't that funny, how we always seem to catch?" Macha said with a smile.
The 33-year-old Dempster hasn't been nearly as hot against the rest of Major Leagues this season, allowing more than three earned runs in seven of his past eight starts. Dempster has, however, eaten up innings -- completing at least six frames in every outing this year.
His counterpart, Brewers starter Dave Bush, has had his own share of problems this year. Whereas Dempster has excelled against the Brewers, well, Bush has not had the same level of success against the Cubs. In 18 career games, including 17 starts, the 30-year-old has a 2-9 record with a 5.43 ERA. This year has been even worse, as Bush has struggled immensely in two starts against Chicago, posting an 0-1 record with an 8.38 ERA. In one of those outings on April 25, the righty surrendered seven earned runs in 3 2/3 innings.
The Brewers actually skipped Bush's turn in the rotation while playing the Cardinals. Lefty Manny Parra was given the start instead and interestingly enough became the 50th different pitcher in Major League history to strike out four batters in one inning. Still, Parra needed help from Bush and another reliever, Kameron Loe, to escape a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning.
"I knew there was a chance I could pitch," Bush said. "But I wasn't necessarily expecting that."
He'll be given the chance from the get-go this time, and the Brewers can only hope he performs better than his past history suggests.
Cubs: Kids getting chance
Manager Lou Piniella was asked before Wednesday's game about the influx of talented rookies making its name in the Major Leagues these days. With Stephen Strasburg, Ike Davis, Mike Stanton and Jason Heyward all currently tearing up the National League, Piniella has seen his share of excitement from the game's new stars. But don't sell the Cubs short either. The ballclub has its own set of rookies who are making an impact in the team's lineup. Starlin Castro, Tyler Colvin, Andrew Cashner and James Russell have all made notable contributions.
"It's going to get more prevalent," Piniella said of all the rookies. "It is going to get more prevalent because these kids are ready, and second of all, they're the future of these organizations. You can build over time around these kids. We've got Castro here. We've got Colvin here. We've got Cashner here. We've got Russell here. We've got [Jeff] Stevens here. We've got a slew of kids, and they've all done a nice job."
During their limited time in Chicago, Piniella sure hasn't been afraid to use his youngsters. In fact, he has welcomed the rookies wholeheartedly.
"I love managing young kids," Piniella said. "They bring enthusiasm. They want to learn. As long as they can handle it from a mental standpoint, why not? I think you have to bring them along a little slower. With Castro, we put him at shortstop and he's playing. With Colvin, truthfully, I'd like to do the same thing. I've got five Major League outfielders here. Five. They're all playing well. What we have to do here is, the people who are productive are the people who will play."
Brewers: Lucroy catching Bush
Rookie catcher Jonathan Lucroy is expected to handle Bush on Thursday. The 23-year-old was originally paired with lefty Randy Wolf, but he struggled to pick up Wolf's complicated set of signs. Last week, Lucroy caught Chris Capuano, but Capuano has since been moved to the bullpen. Now, Lucroy will be given a shot with Bush.
The rookie was thrust into action -- and is essentially learning on the job in the Major Leagues -- since the Brewers lost Gregg Zaun to a season-ending right shoulder injury. Zaun announced on Wednesday that he would undergo surgery next Tuesday to repair a torn labrum.
Coming into Wednesday, the Cubs' pitchers were averaging 2.51 strikeouts per walk issued -- best in the NL. ... Ted Lilly has pitched six straight quality starts, but has yet to pick up a win during that stretch. ... Brewers pitcher LaTroy Hawkins was transferred to the 60-day disabled list on Tuesday.
Thu, 6/10 2:10 PM ET
Brewers are E-lated
With the help of three Cubs errors, the Crew won the set. The biggest miscue came in the 10th, when Carlos Gomez walked to lead off the frame, and scored all the way from first on a sac bunt and a throwing error.
|Tracy, C, 3B||5||0||0||0||0||3||6||.222|
|a-Baker, Je, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||2||.235|
|b-Soriano, A, PH-LF||2||0||0||0||0||0||4||.280|
|Castro, S, SS||4||1||1||0||0||1||1||.278|
|Hill, K, C||2||0||1||0||0||0||0||.258|
|Hart, C, RF||3||1||2||1||1||1||0||.261|
|Escobar, A, SS||3||0||0||0||1||0||1||.240|
HR: Nady (4, 6th inning off Bush, 1 on, 1 out).
TB: Theriot 3; Byrd 3; Nady 4; Castro, S; Hill, K.
RBI: Nady 3 (17), Theriot (15).
2-out RBI: Theriot.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Tracy, C; Soto; Soriano, A 2; Theriot.
Team RISP: 1-for-10.
Team LOB: 9.
SB: Theriot (13, 2nd base off Bush/Lucroy).
CS: Theriot (2, 2nd base by Bush/Lucroy).
E: Tracy, C (1, throw), Castro, S (8, throw), Nady (1, throw).
DP: (Castro, S-Nady).
2B: Weeks (10, Dempster), McGehee (16, Dempster), Hart, C (9, Howry).
HR: Hart, C (16, 2nd inning off Dempster, 0 on, 1 out).
TB: Edmonds; Weeks 2; McGehee 2; Hart, C 6; Lucroy; Bush.
RBI: Hart, C (39), Bush (1), Braun (37).
2-out RBI: Bush; Braun.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Braun 2; Edmonds; Lucroy 2; McGehee 2.
Team RISP: 1-for-11.
Team LOB: 12.
HBP: Hart, C (by Dempster).
Pitches-strikes: Dempster 104-56, Gorzelanny 19-8, Stevens 25-13, Marshall 17-13, Howry 20-10, Bush 107-67, Loe 27-17, Braddock 4-3, Villanueva 14-11, Axford 15-9.
Groundouts-flyouts: Dempster 5-3, Gorzelanny 1-1, Stevens 0-1, Marshall 1-0, Howry 2-0, Bush 7-4, Loe 1-0, Braddock 0-0, Villanueva 2-0, Axford 2-0.
Batters faced: Dempster 26, Gorzelanny 4, Stevens 5, Marshall 4, Howry 6, Bush 26, Loe 6, Braddock 1, Villanueva 5, Axford 5.
Inherited runners-scored: Stevens 3-1, Braddock 2-0, Villanueva 2-0.
Umpires: HP: Marvin Hudson. 1B: Jim Joyce. 2B: Jim Wolf. 3B: Derryl Cousins.
Weather: 69 degrees, partly cloudy.
Wind: 8 mph, L to R.
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media