Game One Hundred Fourteen: Cubs (67-46) vs. Astros (54-57)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Rich Harden (6-2, 2.04/1.09, 1-1, 1.11/0.90) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (6-4, 3.61/1.31)
Updated – 12:28pm C.T. – Scott Eyre Designated for Assignment – Kerry Wood Activated
Lou Piniella’s crew will try to figure out the riddle that has become the Astros’ pitching staff today behind Rich Harden. After a disappointing, wet and delayed loss on Monday night, the Cubs offense will try to put up crooked numbers this afternoon against Wandy Rodriguez.
A win today is a must against a division rival at home after dropping two of the first four on the current homestand.
The Cubs could activate Kerry Wood before today’s game according to several reports. A report on Cubs.com mentioned that Wood would be used in middle relief for at least one outing before Lou Piniella will use him in the closer’s role again. The report stated that Carlos Marmol, Bobby Howry or Jeff Samardzija could fill in for Wood one more time.
A report in the Sun-Times suggested the Cubs could still be looking to trade Scott Eyre in order to make room for Wood on the active roster….and mentioned Eyre, along with a million dollars, could be sent to either the Red Sox, Rays, Phillies or Yankees in a waiver trade for a prospect. The other option could be to send Sean Marshall down to Iowa, a move the Cubs do not want to make according to the Sun-Times.
In other news, Rich Hill was put back on the Minor League DL with back spasms. And Jason Marquis’ next turn in the rotation could be skipped….stay tuned. Rich Harden will make his 5th start for the Chicago Cubs today and could easily be 4-0 as a Cub, instead of 1-1. Harden has done his part and has allowed just 3 earned runs on 14 hits with 8 walks and 39 strikeouts in 24 1/3 innings. Harden is coming off his first win since being traded to Chicago in the first week of July.
Harden held the Brewers high powered offense to just 1 run on 6 hits in 7 innings, a solo home run by Prince Fielder, with 9 strikeouts and no walks. Harden was very efficient on the mound, kept his pitch count down and completed 7 innings for the second time in 4 games….the key was, he threw strikes and for the first time in a Cubs’ uniform he did not walk a single batter. Harden must throw strikes once again today and not give the dangerous Astros’ offense any help. At Wrigley this season, Harden does not have a record in 2 starts with a 0.87 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP.
Today will be Harden’s first career start against the Houston Astros.
- Geoff Blum – 1-for-4 with a double
- Darin Erstad – 5-for-26 with a double, 3 walks and 7 strikeouts
- Carlos Lee – 3-for-9 with a triple
- Miguel Tejada – 0-for-3
Alex Eisenberg sent the CCO an article on Rich Harden’s mechanics. The article is posted on Baseball-Intellect.com and Eisenberg writes for the Hardball Times and Baseball Digest as well. Eisenberg used side-by-side video comparisons of Harden’s delivery and there is also a link that discusses both Chad Gaudin and Sean Gallagher. This is an excellent article and well worth the read….
Wandy Rodriguez will make his second start since the All-Star break against the Cubs. He shutdown the Cubs offense in Houston and the only mistake he made was a solo home run to Carlos Zambrano in 6 2/3 innings. The Cubs hit Rodriguez well but did not walk once and could not come through with a clutch hit when they needed it.
Rodriguez built on his start against the Cubs and beat the Brewers in Milwaukee with just as dominant a start. He held the Brewers to only 1 run on 3 hits in 6 innings of work….but, Rodriguez is coming of his first loss since June 21st. The Reds lit him up in Houston and scored 6 runs, all earned, on 9 hits in 4 2/3 innings….a rare bad start for Rodriguez at Minute Maid Park.
Rodriguez was 3-1 in 6 starts in July with a 5.45 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP while opponents hit .313 against him. In June, his best month of the season, he was 2-2 in 5 games with a 2.30 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP.
Rodriguez is 3-1 away from Minute Maid this season in 7 starts with a 4.03 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP.
Rodriguez has had the Cubs’ number in his last 4 starts against Lou Piniella’s crew. He is 4-4 in 9 career starts versus Chicago with a 4.12 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP. Today will be his 5th career start at Wrigley Field and Rodriguez is 1-3 in his first 4 with a 7.58 ERA and a 1.84 WHIP.
- Henry Blanco – 1-for-5 with a double
- Ronny Cedeno – 1-for-10
- Mark DeRosa – 2-for-11 with a double and 3 walks
- Jim Edmonds – 1-for-7
- Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-3
- Reed Johnson – 1-for-6
- Derrek Lee – 8-for-19 with 2 doubles, 2 home runs and 5 walks
- Aramis Ramirez – 4-for-21
- Alfonso Soriano – 0-for-6 with 2 walks
- Geovany Soto – 1-for-5
- Ryan Theriot – 8-for-14 with 3 doubles and a home run
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….
Update – According to a report from the Sun-Times, Scott Eyre was designated for assignment on Tuesday morning by the Chicago Cubs in order to make room on the active roster for Kerry Wood. Wood was actived from the 15-day DL on Tuesday morning.