Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Astros – 08/15/06

Game One Hundred Nineteen: Cubs (50-68) vs. Astros (57-61)
Game Time – 7:05pm C.T. WGN TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 186
Location – Minute Maid Park, Houston

Juan Mateo (1-0, 2.57) vs. Roger Clemens (4-4, 2.24)

This is an interesting match-up, the seemingly ageless Roger Clemens against the unproven rookie in Juan Mateo. Tonight will be Clemens 682nd start of his Hall of Fame career. Clemens is 345-176 in 682 career games with a 3.11 ERA. Mateo will be making just his 2nd start and 3rd career Major League appearance. Mateo showed some promise in his first career start against the Diamondbacks in the second game of the double header back on August 3rd. He allowed 3 runs, 2 earned in 5 innings.

Mateo was scheduled to start last Saturday’s game in Colorado but was skipped due to a relief appearance against the Brewers on August 10th. Mateo pitched 2 innings in relief of Mark Prior and allowed 2 runs, both unearned, on 2 hits. The 3 unearned runs given up by Mateo have been off of errors by shortstops….Ronny Cedeno and Neifi Perez. Mateo has thrown just 7 innings and has allowed 8 hits but his 5 walks are the most concerning. The Cubs pitching staff has shown they cannot throw strikes on a consistent basis and the command problems the staff as a whole has demonstrated the entire season is what should be focused on to correct over the final 44 games of the year.

The Rocket is 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA this season against the Cubs. In 11 innings he has allowed just 2 runs on 7 hits, walked 4 and struck out 10. Clemens has been a victim of little to no run support and has held his opponents to 3 runs or less in 9 of his 10 starts this season.

The Cubs will have to play a near perfect game to beat Clemens tonight and with the day game on Wednesday the Cubs need a quality start out of Mateo in order to be successful. With the off day on Thursday and Zambrano’s performance on Monday, the bullpen should play a bigger role in tonight’s game….the only catch is with Rich Hill scheduled to pitch on Wednesday, Dusty must keep that in mind and not play all of his guys tonight. A win against Clemens would go a long way for the Cubs and their young pitching staff.

Let’s Talk Cubbies Baseball….

Quote of the Day

"Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points." – Knute Rockne