Game Sixty-Two: Cubs (27-34) vs. Astros (26-36)
Game Time – 7:05pm C.T. Comcast Sports Net, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 189
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Carlos Zambrano (6-5, 5.38/1.56) vs. Woody Williams (2-8, 5.79/1.58)
The Cubs were scheduled to have the day off but MLB rescheduled the game between the Astros and Cubs that was snowed out back on April 11th. The Astros took the first two games of that series, 5-3 and 4-2 and both teams were entering play that day 3-5 on the young season. Rich Hill and Wandy Rodriguez was the original pitching match-up. Fast forward 51 games and both teams are still under .500 but the Astros just took 2 of 3 on the South Side of Chicago and the Cubs just finished a 7-game road trip against the Brewers and Braves with a 4-3 record.
With Jason Marquis’ short outing on Saturday and Ted Lilly’s ejection on Sunday, Lou Piniella needs Carlos Zambrano to not only be effective, but to pitch deep into the game and keep Piniella from having to use his pen. Carlos Zambrano has not posted back-to-back wins all season but is coming off his best outing of the year after a career low. Several reports had stated earlier in the week that Michael Barrett would catch Zambrano tonight but a report on Sunday night from Cubs.com stated Koyie Hill would get the start behind the plate.
Since the start Zambrano made against the Nationals on May 4th, he has won a start and lost his next with 6 to 7 runs allowed in each of the three losses. Zambrano has shown against the Mets and Brewers he is capable of pitching the way the Faithful have become accustomed to and now he must work on his consistency…..just like the rest of his teammates.
Zambrano is 8-5 in 19 career games (17 starts) with a complete game shutout against the Astros with a 2.57 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. This will be the first time Zambrano has faced the Astros with Carlos Lee who has tormented Zambrano throughout his career.
- Carlos Lee – 12-32 (.375/.444/.875/1.319), with 4 doubles, 4 home runs and 12 RBI’s
- Craig Biggio – 11-36, with 4 doubles, 2 home runs and 2 RBI’s
- Luke Scott – 3-6, with 2 doubles
- Lance Berkman – 6-47, with 3 home runs and 5 RBI’s
The Cubs will likely get their first look at Hunter Pence. The Astros’ top prospect has missed the last past two games with a hip flexor and is expected to return to the starting lineup against the Cubs. Pence is tearing up the league with a .366 average (53-145), a .391 OBP and a .607 SLG. In 37 games, Pence has hit 5 home runs, 14 doubles, 3 triples and has driven in 24….National League pitching staffs have yet to stop throwing him fastballs. Pence is very aggressive at the plate and is an early favorite to win the NL Rookie of the Year Award.
Woody Williams faced the Cubs in the 7th game of the season (the Home Opener). The Astros beat Ted Lilly, 5-3, but Williams received a no decision while holding the Cubs to 2 runs on 6 hits in 6 innings of work. After a winless April (0-4 with a 5.66 ERA), Williams was 2-3 with a 5.35 ERA in May and is coming off a loss to the Rockies his last time out. Williams gave up 6 runs on 10 his in 6 innings in Denver and for the third time this season did not record a strikeout. The Cubs will have plenty of opportunities against Williams….they just have to figure out a way to capitalize. In his last 39 2/3 innings he has given up 50 hits and walked 14 while striking out just 25.
Williams is 3-8 in 17 career games (16 starts) against the Cubs with a 4.55 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP and is 1-6 in 9 career starts at Wrigley Field with a 5.68 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP….the Cubs have hit well against Williams at Wrigley, a .308 batting average.
- Michael Barrett – 8-17, with 3 doubles, a triple and a RBI
- Cliff Floyd – 10-27, with a double, 2 home runs and 5 RBI’s
- Derrek Lee – 10-29, with 3 doubles and 6 RBI’s
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….