Game Fifty-Six: Cubs (29-26) vs. Astros (25-31)
Game Time – 7:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 186
Location – Minute Maid Park, Houston
Carlos Zambrano (4-2, 3.72/1.40) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (5-5, 2.97/1.31)
Can Lou Piniella’s crew make it three in a row? After announcing he will retire at the end of his current contract, Carlos Zambrano will make his second start of the road trip tonight against Wandy Rodriguez. Most think Zambrano is too competitive to hang it up in the next five to six years and blew off his comments following a terrific start against the Reds.
Aaron Miles was activated from the 15-day DL and Jake Fox was optioned to Iowa on Tuesday night.
Tonight might be a good time to give Alfonso Soriano a breathier. While the Cubs were off on Monday, Soriano has horrible career numbers (1-for-12 with two walks) against Wandy Rodriguez and they have only two more off days before the All-Star break. With Jake Fox out of the picture Soriano will likely be in left field and hitting leadoff for Lou Piniella.
Somehow, someway the Cubs enter play tonight tied for second place in the NL Central with the Reds and Cardinals … just 2 1/2 games back of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Aramis Ramirez Update: Aramis Ramirez took soft grounders and swings in the cage with a fungo bat before Tuesday’s game. The Cubs are hoping he can hit with a regular bat soon. This is positive news… Carlos Zambrano is coming off the 100th win of his career…and a very good outing against the Reds. In his first start since serving a six-game suspension Zambrano threw 6 2/3 innings of shutout ball, walked five and struck out seven. Zambrano, like the rest of his teammates, has been very inconsistent this year. The Cubs will need him to keep the Astros off the board for as long as possible while they try to figure out Wandy Rodriguez.
Tonight will be Zambrano’s tenth start of the season. While Z’s numbers might not be that of a staff ace, his team is 7-2 in his starts.
Zambrano is 2-1 in his last four starts with a 2.78 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP.
Carlos Zambrano beat the Astros on Opening Day. He allowed one run on five hits in six innings with three walks and six strikeouts. It was Zambrano’s first Opening Day win. Tonight will be Big Z’s second start of the year against Houston.
- Lance Berkman – 10-for-65 with 4 home runs and 15 walks
- Geoff Blum – 5-for-29 with a double and 3 walks
- Michael Bourn – 2-for-9 with 2 walks
- Darin Erstad – 2-for-14 with a walk
- Jeff Keppinger – 5-for-25 with a double and a walk
- Carlos Lee – 17-for-49 with 5 doubles, 4 home runs and 5 walks
- Hunter Pence – 4-for-18 with 2 doubles
- Ivan Rodriguez – 3-for-10
- Wandy Rodriguez – 1-for-1
- Miguel Tejada – 7-for-15 with a double and a home run
The Cubs will get their second look of the season tonight at Wandy Rodriguez. The Astros’ southpaw has been very good this season, especially at home. Despite his worst home start in two seasons in his last outing (seven runs on 10 hits, four home runs in five innings against the Rockies) his stats at Minute Maid Park are very impressive.
Rodriguez is 3-2 in six home starts with 2.31 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP…even with seven runs on five innings by Colorado. Rodriguez has struggled a little of late, in his last three starts the Astros’ southpaw has allowed the following:
- May 25 in Cincinnati – Six runs, none earned, on 10 hits in four innings
- May 30 in Pittsburgh – Five runs, all earned, on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings
- June 4 in Houston – Seven runs, all earned, on 10 hits in five innings
Rodriguez has thrown a lot of pitches in his last three starts and the Cubs must make him work tonight. One of the knocks on the talented southpaw is his lack of confidence. With his recent performances, Rodriguez cannot feel to good about himself right now and if the Cubs are not aggressive with him early they will have their chances.
Rodriguez received a no decision in his first, and only, outing against the Cubs this season. The Cubs managed only a run on four hits in six innings with three walks and four strikeouts in the second game of the year.
Wandy Rodriguez has been had success against the Cubs the last two seasons and is 4-4 in 11 career starts with a 4.39 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP.
- Milton Bradley – 1-for-9
- Mike Fontenot – 0-for-5
- Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-6
- Koyie Hill – 1-for-2
- Reed Johnson – 2-for-8 with a walk
- Derrek Lee – 12-for-24 with 3 doubles, 2 home runs and 6 walks
- Aaron Miles – 1-for-8
- Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-12 with 2 walks
- Geovany Soto – 1-for-6
- Ryan Theriot – 9-for-18 with 4 doubles, a home run and 2 walks
- Carlos Zambrano – 1-for-3 with a home run
Over the next few days the CCO will post a reminder of the upcoming premiere of a movie for the Faithful…We Believe. The premiere is Friday, June 12 at 10:30pm at the Chicago Theater (175 N. State Street).
This feature film documentary is a celebration of hope, loyalty, faith and the extraordinary love affair between a great city and its baseball team. We Believe explores the relationship between Chicago, the Cubs and their loyal fans.
Tickets run from $6 to $25 per person and are available for purchase at www.TheChicagoTheatre.com (a portion of all proceeds will go to six select charities)
‘We Believe’ Trailer
Fans can come early to watch their favorite players and celebrities walk the red carpet prior to the 7:15 VIP screening. The official pre-party will take place at The Wit Hotel from 8-10pm and tickets are available at WeBelieveParty.eventbrite.com
For more information please visit www.WeBelieveTheMovie.com
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….