Ryan Dempster runs scoreless streak to 33 innings in win over Diamondbacks

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Ryan Dempster continues to do wonders for his trade value. In his second start back after missing three weeks with a strained right lat muscle, Dempster tossed six shutout innings this afternoon as part of a 4-1 win over the Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field. He now has a career-high 33-inning scoreless streak dating back to May 30 against the Padres.

Dempster’s scoreless streak is the longest in the majors this season, topping R.A. Dickey’s 32 2/3 inning streak from May 22-June 13. It’s also the longest scoreless streak by any Cubs’ pitcher since Ken Holtzman had a 33-inning scoreless streak of his own back in 1969.

Dempster, an impending free agent, currently leads the majors with a 1.86 ERA and has a solid 75/25 K/BB ratio across 92 innings. The 35-year-old has earned ten-and-five rights, so he has the ability to block any trade, but he has indicated that he’s willing to accept a deal in the right situation. The Dodgers have been mentioned frequently as a potential suitor.

Ian Kinsler lists the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central

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Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.

Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list

Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.

Angels demote C.J. Cron to Triple-A

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Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.

Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).

While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.