Venue: PNC Park
The Chicago Cubs' Ryan Dempster has overpowered the opposition for more than seven weeks now.
He's now using his power attained through his 10-and-5 rights to decide where he'll get traded.
In what will likely be his final game for the Cubs, Dempster looks to become the third straight starter to silence the Pittsburgh Pirates' bats and complete the sweep Wednesday at PNC Park.
With the Cubs (40-56) rebuilding, Dempster (5-4, 2.11 ERA) has been the subject of trade speculation for more than a month. It was reported Monday that Chicago was sending its staff ace to Atlanta for Randall Delgado, but no trade has been worked out.
Dempster has the right to refuse any deal because of his 10 years of major league experience and five with his current club, and the right-hander stated his preference to be traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"I want to look everything over before I make a decision, and I've got time to do that," Dempster told the Cubs' official website. "There's a week before the trade deadline."
While Dempster is content taking his time, Pittsburgh (54-42) quickly made a deal Tuesday, acquiring pitcher Wandy Rodriguez in a trade with Houston.
The Pirates, who are 2 1/2 games back of NL Central-leading Cincinnati and leading the wild-card race, are hoping to make the playoffs for first time since 1992, and the acquisition of Rodriguez would seem to bolster one of the majors' top pitching staffs.
"He has also been a tough pitcher to hit, a tough pitcher to beat," Clint Hurdle said. "I'm very happy that we're adding him to our rotation."
Dempster is the majors' ERA leader, and his 33-inning scoreless streak ended Friday in St. Louis as he gave up three first-inning runs. He ended up allowing four runs and seven hits in six innings of a 4-1 loss for his first defeat since May 25, against the Pirates.
In that outing, he allowed one run and seven hits in 7 1-3 innings of a 1-0 final.
Dempster has a tough act to follow after Jeff Samardzija allowed one hit over eight innings in Monday's 2-0 win and former Pirate Paul Maholm permitted one run and four hits in eight innings in Tuesday's 5-1 victory.
The Pirates, owners of baseball's best home record at 32-16, entered this series having won 12 of 14 at PNC Park, averaging 6.0 runs in those victories. They haven't been swept at home since last September against Florida.
Andrew McCutchen, the major league leader with a .370 average, is 1 for 5 with two walks and two strikeouts in the first two games, and is hitting .261 with one homer in 23 career at-bats against Dempster.
The Pirates counter with Kevin Correia (7-6, 4.31), who is trying to win a career-high fifth straight start.
Correia hasn't been particularly sharp during his winning streak, recording a 5.32 ERA, but has been aided by a 9.0 run support average. Against Miami on Friday, he permitted three runs and eight hits and was done after five innings in a 4-3 victory.
The Pirates have won eight of his last 10 starts, a surge that began against the Cubs on May 26. In that one, he gave up two runs and five hits in 6 1-3 innings of Pittsburgh's 3-2 comeback win.
Starlin Castro has given Correia problems, going 7 for 14 with a double and triple lifetime against him.
The All-Star shortstop homered Tuesday, as did Alfonso Soriano, who is 4 for 8 with two doubles and four RBIs in the series.
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