Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Astros – 04/17/10

Game Eleven: Cubs (5-5) vs. Astros (1-9)
Game Time – 12:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Tom Gorzelanny (0-0, 0.00/0.95) vs. Roy Oswalt (0-2, 3.75/1.33)

Can the Cubs get over the hump today against Roy Oswalt and the Astros? Not only do the Cubs have a chance to move a game over .500, a victory this afternoon would guarantee a winning homestand. The last time the Cubs won the first two series at home to begin a season was in 2003 (two-of-three from Montreal and Pittsburgh).

The Cubs bullpen and defense continued to make headlines on Friday. While the Cubs beat the Astros for the first time in 2010, the Cubs below-average outfield defense was on full display. The bullpen has received a majority of the negative press over the first ten games, but the Cubs must improve their defense. They are giving teams too many outs, which have led to shorter outings for the starting staff.

Speaking of the bullpen … according to a report from Bruce Levine, Jim Hendry will “gladly overpay in prospects if he gets the go-ahead from the Ricketts family to trade for a pitcher like Heath Bell and absorb his $5 million contract.” Levine speculated it would cost the Cubs a number one prospect, like Josh Vitters, to acquire Bell from the San Diego Padres.

Andrew Cashner has not been talked about as a solution for the Cubs’ bullpen woes … and Jim Hendry shot down the Alfonso Soriano rumors during an interview on First Pitch (XM Radio) Friday morning.

Tom Gorzelanny threw the ball extremely well in his first start of the year against the Reds. The Cubs ‘other’ southpaw allowed just one unearned run in 6 1/3 innings with two walks and seven strikeouts … an error by Alfonso Soriano led to the Reds tying the game and Gorzelanny’s unearned run.

But that was then and today Gorzelanny will be trying to keep pace with Carlos Silva for the fifth spot in the Cubs’ rotation.

If everything goes as planned on Monday in Peoria for Ted Lilly reportedly the Cubs will send either Gorzelanny or Silva to the pen. Silva put together his second successful start on Friday and now it’s up to Gorzelanny to answer.

Tom Gorzelanny has struggled in the past against the Astros. He is just 1-4 in seven career games, six starts, with a 5.01 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP.

Astros’ Career Numbers against Tom Gorzelanny

  • Geoff Blum – 0-for-1
  • Michael Bourn – no official at bat, one walk
  • Pedro Feliz – 2-for-6 with a double
  • Jeff Keppinger – 2-for-8 with 2 doubles and 2 walks
  • Carlos Lee – 3-for-7 with a home run
  • Kaz Matsui – 1-for-3 with a walk
  • Jason Michaels – 1-for-1 with a double
  • Roy Oswalt – 0-for-4 with a walk
  • Hunter Pence – 1-for-4 with a home run
  • Humberto Quintero – 1-for-3
  • Cory Sullivan – no official at bat, one walk

Roy Oswalt will make his 30th career start against the Chicago Cubs this afternoon. Oswalt has put together two solid outings to start the year with nothing to show for it. The Astros have scored a total of three runs in Oswalt’s two starts, while the Astros’ ace has allowed five runs in 12 innings (five runs, all earned, on 12 hits in 12 innings with four walks and 11 strikeouts).

Oswalt is coming off a sub-par season (8-6 in 30 starts with a 4.12 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP) and has talked about retiring if he cannot pitch to his expectations. So far this season, Oswalt has done his part.

The Cubs have had success against Roy O in the past but not over the past two seasons. Oswalt is 13-12 in 30 career appearances, 29 starts, against the Cubs with a 3.81 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. Last year Oswalt was 1-1 in four starts against the Cubs with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP … in 2008, 1-1 in two starts with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP.

Oswalt is 7-5 in 16 career starts at Wrigley with a 4.55 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP.

For as patient as the Cubs’ hitters have been for the most part since 2008, they simply have not made Oswalt work.

Cubs’ Career Numbers against Roy Oswalt

  • Jeff Baker – 2-for-3
  • Marlon Byrd – 4-for-16 with a home run
  • Mike Fontenot – 4-for-15 with a double
  • Kosuke Fukudome – 2-for-16
  • Tom Gorzelanny – 1-for-4
  • Koyie Hill – 2-for-5 with a double and a walk
  • Derrek Lee – 16-for-58 with 4 doubles, 3 home runs and 6 walks
  • Xavier Nady – 3-for-16 with a double
  • Aramis Ramirez – 16-for-67 with 3 double and 4 home runs
  • Alfonso Soriano – 9-for-39 with 3 home runs
  • Geovany Soto – 4-for-12 with a double and a triple
  • Ryan Theriot – 6-for-17 with a double and a walk
  • Chad Tracy – 4-for-24 with 3 doubles and 2 walks

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