Game One Hundred Sixty: Cubs (73-86) vs. Astros (75-84)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Minute Maid Park, Houston
Casey Coleman (3-2, 4.68/1.48) vs. Bud Norris (9-9, 5.00/1.48)
Three games remain in Year One for the Chicago Cubs … Q’s crew opens their final series of the season tonight in Houston. The Astros have had their way the Cubs this season to the tune of a 10-5 record … and one of the reasons is Brett Myers (3-0 in four starts, Astros won all four games). The Cubs will not face Myers in the series, but will see J.A. Happ for the first time in an Astros’ uniform.
One of the many areas the Cubs must improve in next season is their play against the Central. The Cubs are 32-44 against their division and just a combined 10-20 versus the Astros and Pirates. The Cubs enter play tonight just two games behind the Astros for fourth place in the Central.
The Cubs are 22-12 under Mike Quade and finished September with a 17-9 mark … the only winning month of the Twenty-Ten campaign for the Chicago Cubs, plus the Cubs have won seven of the 11 series under Quade.
Quade said his lineup during the final three games will feature more of the young Cubs than in the series against the Padres. Welington Castillo, Brad Snyder, Sam Fuld, Bobby Scales and Darwin Barney should receive playing time.
In Other News
Kosuke Fukudome’s season is likely over after he injured his left leg sliding into third base Wednesday night. Fukudome sustained a left knee sprain and Quade said Fukudome has not limped like he did Thursday during his three years with the Cubs. Brad Snyder will likely take his place in the lineup in the three games against the Astros.
Carlos Marmol picked up his 60th career save Thursday night … which tied Marmol with Phil Regan for sixth on the Cubs’ all-time saves list.
Mike Quade chose Casey Coleman over Jeff Samardzija to open the series … so tonight it all begins with Casey Coleman.
Coleman has completed at least six innings of work in each of his last six starts … and six of his seven since joining the rotation back on August 18.
Casey Coleman figures to be in the mix next spring for a starting spot on the Cubs’ staff.
Coleman will make his second start against the Astros. He received a no decision on September 6 at Wrigley. Coleman gave up four runs on eight hits in six innings with a season-high (Majors and Minors) five walks (6.00 ERA and a 2.17 WHIP).
Coleman is 2-1 in six games, four starts, on the road this season with a 2.96 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP.
Michael Bourn (2-for-2 with a double and 2 walks), Jason Castro (1-for-2 with a walk), Chris Johnson (2-for-2 with a home run and a walk), Jeff Keppinger (1-for-3), Carlos Lee (0-for-3) and Hunter Pence (1-for-3) each faced Coleman back on Labor Day at Wrigley.
Bud Norris will make his third appearance, second start, against the Cubs tonight. Norris did not allow an earned run to the Cubs when he faced them at Wrigley back on July 28 (one unearned run on four his with three walks and seven strikeouts in six innings). Lou’s offense showed very little patience against Norris and made it very easy on the stocky right-hander … that must change tonight.
After a solid start to the final month of the season, Norris struggled in his last start against the Mighty Pirates. Pittsburgh put up five runs, all earned, on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. Norris struck out six and walked three.
The 25-year old is 5-4 in 13 starts at Minute Maid this season with a 4.54 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP … in his last five starts, 3-1 with a 4.30 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP.
Jeff Baker (1-for-5 with a double), Starlin Castro (2-for-3), Blake DeWitt (0-for-2), Kosuke Fukudome (0-for-4 with a walk), Koyie Hill (1-for-4), Xavier Nady (0-for-3) and Aramis Ramirez (0-for-3) each have limited at bats against Bud Norris.
The 2010 Chicago Cubs Commemorative DVD, produced by Keith Solijacich and the Heckler, is available and the CCO was asked to pass along the info to our readers. Those interested should watch this promo video … and enjoy.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …