Game Ninety-Nine: Cubs (52-46) vs. Astros (51-49)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Randy Wells (6-4, 3.10/1.16) vs. Mike Hampton (6-7, 4.74/1.46)
Updated 9:40am C.T. – Mitch Atkins recalled from Triple-A Iowa – Corresponding Roster Move to be announced
Updated 10:36am C.T. – Jeff Stevens optioned to Triple-A Iowa to make room for Mitch Atkins.
The Cubs enter play today in second place, a half game back of the Cardinals with the Astros just two games behind them.
Randy Wells better bring his A-game with him to the park this afternoon, or it could end up being a long day for the rookie. Lou Piniella indicated after Tuesday night’s loss that they would need a long, quality outing from Wells this afternoon. The Cubs’ bullpen has been overworked since the break … and the first two games of the Houston series have taken its toll on the pen. Kevin Gregg, Carlos Marmol and probably Sean Marshall will be only relievers available this afternoon.
Today might be a good spot to give Ryan Theriot a breathier. After putting together an eight-game hitting streak, and hitting safely in 20 out of 22 games, Theriot is hitless in the series and looks tired. Theriot has played in all but one of the Cubs’ 98 games this season.
While the offense must do their job against Mike Hampton, it all begins with Randy Wells … and one win at a time.
Wells is 3-3 in seven starts at Wrigley this season with a 3.61 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP.
Randy Wells’ second career big league start came against the Astros back on May 16 at Wrigley. Wells tossed six innings of shutout ball and allowed just four hits … with three walks and four strikeouts. Tonight will be Wells’ second start against Houston, and he has fared pretty well against teams the second time around.
- Geoff Blum – 1-for-2
- Michael Bourn – 0-for-3
- Carlos Lee – 2-for-3
- Kaz Matsui – 0-for-3
- Hunter Pence – 0-for-1 with a walk
- Ivan Rodriguez – 0-for-1 with a walk
- Miguel Tejada – 0-for-3
The Astros received a lot of flack from their fanbase when they signed Mike Hampton and Russ Ortiz over the off-season … but both pitchers have turned in good seasons, especially Mike Hampton.
The veteran southpaw is coming off a win against Johan Santana and the Mets, despite giving up four runs on eight hits with four walks and seven strikeouts. Hampton even did his best Carlos Zambrano imitation and hit a two-run homer off Santana in the Astros 5-4 win.
After an impressive June (1-1 in three starts with a 2.50 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP), Hampton has come back down to earth a little in July … 2-2 in his last four starts with a 5.73 ERA and a 1.68 WHIP, opponents have hit .325 against him.
Mike Hampton has pitched better on the road (3-4 in eight starts with a 4.40 ERA and 1.33 WHIP) than at home (3-3 in nine starts with a 5.04 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP) this year.
Tonight will be Hampton’s second start of the year against the Cubs. Lou Piniella’s crew beat him in Houston back on May 6, 6-3. The Cubs scored five runs, three earned, on seven hits with four walks and struck out four times.
- Milton Bradley – 5-for-17 with 2 walks
- Micah Hoffpauir – 1-for-3 with a double
- Reed Johnson – 1-for-2 with a triple and a walk
- Derrek Lee – 7-for-31 with 2 double, 3 home runs and 5 walks
- Aramis Ramirez – 4-for-15 with 2 doubles and 2 walks
- Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-5
- Ryan Theriot – 0-for-3
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….
Update 9:40am C.T. – According to a report from ESPN Chicago, the Cubs have recalled right hander Mitch Atkins from Triple-A Iowa. The Cubs will have to make a corresponding roster move before Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Astros.