Despite turning in impressive performances in each of his first four starts, the Chicago Cubs' Ryan Dempster is still seeking his first win.
His victories against the Atlanta Braves have been few and far between.Dempster looks to turn his fortune around when he takes the mound Tuesday night in the second of three against the Braves at Wrigley Field.While he leads the majors with a 0.95 ERA, Dempster is 0-1 as he's been plagued by a lack of run support.The Cubs (12-17) have provided Dempster, who's 0-7 over his last 13 starts dating to mid-August, with an average of 2.22 runs this season -- among the worst marks in baseball.Dempster allowed just three hits and a walk over eight scoreless innings and left in line for a win Thursday before former closer Carlos Marmol blew the lead in a 4-3, 10-inning loss at Cincinnati. Dempster hasn't allowed an earned run over his last two starts spanning 14 frames."According to our reports, he could be 3-0 and 4-0 now," Reds manager Dusty Baker told the Cubs' official website. "His ERA is (0.95). You can't pitch much better than that. He was mixing it up with fastballs in, fastballs away, cut fastballs, sliders, changeups."Dempster hasn't had much luck against the Braves (18-12), either. Since joining the Cubs, he's gone 1-2 over five starts in the series despite a 2.52 ERA.Dempster has won just two of 18 career starts versus Atlanta. His 12 losses against the Braves are tied for his most against any opponent.While Atlanta came into Wrigley off a three-game road sweep in Colorado in which it scored 29 runs, it failed to get much going during Monday's 5-1 defeat. Manager Fredi Gonzalez's club went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position, losing for just the third time in its last 13 road games.The Cubs, meanwhile, matched a season high with three homers -- including back-to-back shots from Bryan LaHair and Ian Stewart in the fourth inning."You are going to need power from those two guys, our two big left-handed bats," manager Dale Sveum said of LaHair and Stewart. "We need to score and score quickly from those two guys every once in a while. It's nice to have them back-to-back."LaHair, batting .409 with six long balls in his last 12 games, has reached base in 25 straight.The Braves look to get back on track behind Randall Delgado (2-3, 5.14), who lost his third straight start despite turning in a strong effort his last time out. The 22-year-old right-hander allowed two runs and six hits over eight innings of Thursday's 4-0 loss to Philadelphia."He deserved a better fate than what he got," Gonzalez said of Delgado, who hadn't gone longer than six-plus innings in any of his previous 11 career starts. "He pitched great. He gave us every opportunity to win this game, and we didn't."Delgado, who has never faced the Cubs, is 1-1 with a 6.10 ERA in two road starts despite limiting opponents to a .216 average.Brian McCann is hitless in 12 career at-bats versus Dempster. Michael Bourn, though, has gone 10 for 29 (.345) against him.Dempster will also need to be wary of Jason Heyward, who after going deep Monday is batting .435 with four homers and 10 RBIs in his last seven games at Wrigley.