A road series against the lowly Arizona Diamondbacks has given the Chicago Cubs some confidence after a tough homestand.
The Cubs go for their second three-game sweep this season when they close their set Wednesday night against the Diamondbacks, who send the red-hot Edwin Jackson to the mound.
Chicago (37-47) came into Arizona after completing a 2-5 homestand in which it was outscored 35-12. However, it has put together back-to-back victories for the first time since June 16-17 to secure its first series win on the road since taking two of three against Texas from May 21-23.
The Cubs beat the Diamondbacks (32-52), who have the second-worst record in the NL, 6-4 on Tuesday behind two home runs from Aramis Ramirez and one from Kosuke Fukudome. Ramirez hit a pair of two-run shots for his first multi-homer game since Aug. 23, 2008. He came in batting .178.
“It’s about time I start contributing to this team,” Ramirez said. “… I’ve never been that bad in my life. I don’t think I’m that kind of hitter. I think I’m a decent hitter. I’ve been good through the years. So hopefully I take this game and just take off.”
Ramirez isn’t the only Cub that’s turned things around in the series. Fukudome is 3 for 8 with two homers after hitting .077 (2 for 26) in his previous 12 games.
Chicago, which has scored 15 runs in the two wins, will try to complete its first three-game sweep since April 23-25 at Milwaukee. However, it will be facing Jackson (6-6, 4.74 ERA), who hasn’t lost since May 28.
Since suffering a defeat that day to San Francisco, Jackson is 3-0 with a 2.70 ERA in six starts and the Diamondbacks have won his last four outings.
After throwing a 149-pitch no-hitter against Tampa Bay on June 25, Jackson gave up four runs and seven hits in five innings of a 12-5 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday for his third straight victory.
However, the right-hander was hit hard in a 10-5 loss to the Cubs on May 2, allowing eight runs and 11 hits — two homers — over four innings.
Jackson will be opposed by Ryan Dempster (6-7, 3.54), who has split his last four starts despite posting a 2.97 ERA.
Dempster gave up five runs – two earned – in 6 1-3 innings of a 12-0 loss to Cincinnati on Friday. He struck out nine and allowed only two hits but walked five, including three in the seventh when Mike Fontenot committed an error and the Reds scored nine times.
The right-hander is 1-6 with a 6.11 ERA in 16 appearances — 12 starts — against the Diamondbacks. His last win versus Arizona was in 2000 while with Florida.