The Chicago Cubs celebrate the Fourth of July in Washington D.C. today as they open up a series against the Nationals. Ryan Dempster was the scheduled starter for today’s game, but instead, it will be Casey Coleman getting the nod. After the jump we will have an update on Dempster, more on Castro’s All-Star selection, and a look at who will start tomorrow’s game for the Cubs.
Ryan Dempster will miss today’s start due to a back issue that resulted from a stomach virus that the Cubs Opening Day starter suffered on Saturday. Dempster was hospitalized Saturday night because of the stomach virus. With Dempster’s injury, it means that now each of the Cubs five starting pitchers in their Opening Day rotation have missed at least one start. The starting pitching was supposed to be the strength of the Cubs, but because of the injuries, the Cubs starting pitching has been one of the worst in the league this season.
Making the start in place of Dempster will be Casey Coleman. The Cubs called-up Coleman yesterday, and optioned reliever Chris Carpenter down to Triple A- Iowa. The Cubs were originally intending for Coleman to make at least two more starts with the Iowa Cubs before being recalled, however, the injury to Dempster forced their hand. The biggest issue with Coleman during his first stint this season with the Cubs was consistency. Now, Coleman will once again have the chance to prove that he belongs in the major league rotation.
Starlin Castro has already earned high praise this season but after being named to the All-Star game, the Cubs second-year phenom may have received his biggest endorsement to date. Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, told reporters that Castro is better than he was. There may have been some exaggeration in that statement considering Banks has 14 All-Star selections under his belt, but, there is no question that Castro is going to be a special player.
Aramis Ramirez has started to heat up this season, which should come to no surprise considering the Cubs are out of contention. But with the recent resurgence for Ramirez, that has made some beat reporters wonder whether or not Ramirez will be back next season. In any case, Ramirez will be able to test the free agency market. The Cubs third baseman holds a $16 million team option for the 2012 season, but the Cubs are going to pay the $2 million to buyout the final year of his contract. There has been speculation that the Cubs could bring back Ramirez at a lower price, but I do not see that happening. The right decision for both the Cubs and Ramirez would be to part ways after the season. The aging third baseman is not a fit for what the Cubs are looking to do in 2012 and beyond.
Starting pitcher Ramon Ortiz will replace injured pitcher Carlos Zambrano in the rotation. Ortiz will start tomorrow as well as on Sunday. Zambrano is expected to return immediately after the All-Star break.