Game Eleven: Cubs (5-5) vs. Astros (2-8)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Minute Maid Park, Houston
James Russell (1-0, 0.00/1.00) vs. Brett Myers (0-0, 2.03/1.12)
It is a “Bullpen Day” for the Chicago Cubs. James Russell will get the ball to start the game and Mike Quade is hoping to get three innings out of his lefty. Russell is reportedly on a strict 50-pitch limit. Expect an all right-handed lineup from Brad Mills tonight and for Houston to be very patient early in the game to get into the Cubs pen. The Cubs making Russell’s pitch limit public appears to give the Astros the upper hand tonight … and for the remainder of the series.
Jeff Stevens figures to see a lot of action tonight as well as Marcos Mateo. Also with Carlos Marmol throwing 31 pitches to record four outs Monday, don’t be surprised if Kerry Wood is called on in the ninth if the Cubs have a lead.
Kosuke Fukudome was held out of Monday’s game with a hamstring strain and is questionable, at best, to be in Quade’s starting lineup tonight.
The Cubs offense needs to step up against Brett Myers but tonight it all starts with James Russell … and the bullpen.
Mike Quade said he’s hoping James Russell can give them at least three innings tonight before he empties out his pen. The Cubs need Russell to do what he has yet to do in his big league career, retire right-handed batters. Look for Brad Mills to stack his lineup with as many righties as he can.
James Russell will make his third appearance on the young season. Russell has given up a pair of hits, two inherited runs, three strikeouts and no walks in two innings.
Tonight will be Russell’s first career big league start.
Russell has faced the Astros five times in his brief time in the majors … just 3 1/3 innings (0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP).
Michael Bourn (0-for-3), Carlos Lee (0-for-1), Jason Michaels (0-for-1) and Hunter Pence (0-for-1) are the only Astros that have faced Russell.
Brett Myers has owned the Chicago Cubs throughout his career … and continued his domination last year in his first season in an Astros’ uniform. Myers is the number one pitcher on Houston’s staff and could easily be 2-0 after his first two outings of the season.
Myers has allowed only four runs, three earned, on nine hits in 13 1/3 innings this season. Myers has walked six batters with only four strikeouts. The Cubs must make him work tonight, something they’ve never done.
Tonight will be Myers’ 14th career start against the Cubs. He is 10-3 in 17 career games, 13 starts, with a 2.21 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP … last season 3-0 in four starts (the Astros beat the Cubs in all four of Myers’ starts) with a 1.21 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP, the best numbers Myers put up against any other team in 2010.
Cubs Career Numbers against Brett Myers
- Jeff Baker – 2-for-3
- Darwin Barney – 0-for-2
- Marlon Byrd – 6-for-20 with a double, a home run and 2 walks
- Starlin Castro – 2-for-12 with a double
- Tyler Colvin – 4-for-14 with 2 doubles and a home run
- Blake DeWitt – 0-for-3
- Kosuke Fukudome – 2-for-14 with a walk
- Koyie Hill – 1-for-10 with a double
- Reed Johnson – 0-for-1
- Carlos Pena – 0-for-5
- Aramis Ramirez – 8-for-37 with 2 doubles, 2 home runs and a walk
- Alfonso Soriano – 6-for-30 with 3 home runs and a walk
- Geovany Soto – 3-for-8 with a walk
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