Game Six: Cubs (2-3) vs. Astros (2-4)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 184
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Carlos Zambrano (0-0, 0.00/0.60) vs. Brandon Backe (0-1, 3.60/1.60)
Lou Piniella’s crew will attempt to win their first series of the year this afternoon in the final game of the homestand. Carlos Zambrano is coming off a solid outing on Opening Day and hopefully the lack of caffeine will not have a negative impact on his performance. The Cubs offense has shown flashes over the past three games they can score….but they need to put together a couple of solid back-to-back games and continue to build confidence. Derrek Lee and Kosuke Fukudome provided the offense on Saturday but Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez have yet to have a breakout game. Soriano is 1-for-2008 and if the Cubs are to win more than one game at a time, they will need Soriano to start hitting the ball. Carlos Zambrano held a very dangerous Brewers’ offense to only 3 hits in 6 2/3 innings his last time out and will have to deal with another team today that is capable of scoring runs in bunches. Zambrano has been very successful against the Astros over the past two years, but this is a different season….and a different Houston lineup.
Big Z is 10-6 in 22 career games, 20 starts, against the Astros with a 2.65 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. Last year he dominated the Astros in his first two starts but gave up a lot of runs the last time he faced them in Houston. After allowing only 1 unearned run in his first 14 2/3 innings, he allowed 7 runs on 8 hits in 5 2/3 innings on August 8th. For the season, Z was 2-1 in 3 starts with a 3.10 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP.
- Lance Berkman – 8-for-54 with 4 home runs and 13 walks
- Geoff Blum – 5-for-19 with a double
- Carlos Lee – 15-for-41 with 5 doubles, 4 home runs and 4 walks
Brandon Backe will make his second start of the season after losing in San Diego last Tuesday, 2-1. Backe is a big key to the Astros success this season. If Backe can pitch the way Ed Wade is hoping, the Astros will be in the race throughout the entire season. Backe only made 5 starts last year and was 3-1 with a 3.77 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP. Backe faced the Cubs on September 11th in Houston. He received a no-decision but the Astros won the game. He gave up 4 runs on 6 hits in 5 innings with 4 walks and 3 strikeouts.
In 6 career games, 5 starts, versus the Cubs, Backe is 2-1 with a 4.97 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP.
- Derrek Lee – 2-for-13
- Aramis Ramirez – 5-for-14 with a home run
- Alfonso Soriano – 3-for-16 with 2 doubles
Mark DeRosa and Reed Johnson each have a hit in limited at bats against Backe….both were home runs.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….