Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Astros – 07/23/11

Game One Hundred One: Cubs (40-60) vs. Astros (33-66)
Game Time – 12:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Randy Wells (1-3, 6.71/1.74) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (6-6, 3.67/1.37)

Weather permitting … ‘The Battle for Fifth Place in the NL Central’ resumes this afternoon with a pitching match-up featuring two hurlers that could be making their final start with their current club.

The Astros are rumored to be shopping Wandy Rodriguez while Randy Wells reportedly is pitching to stay in the Cubs rotation.

According to multiple reports, the Cubs are not happy with the way Randy Wells has pitched this season and he needs to show some improvement this afternoon in order to stay in the rotation. Right now, the Cubs do not have many options in which to replace Wells with in the rotation … but to say Wells has not been so good after he spent two months on the DL would be an understatement.

From the rumor millAccording to Bruce Levine, the Indians are “hot on the trail” of Kosuke Fukudome. The Cubs are looking for pitching in return for Fukudome … and any of the veterans they may be able to trade.

According to a report from David Kaplan, if the Cubs cannot trade Alfonso Soriano the chances of Soriano returning to the Cubs in 2012 are very slim. The Cubs are willing to eat a significant amount of his remaining $54 million according to Kaplan if they can find an American League team interested in the former All-Star.

In other news … After a week of working with Mark Riggins, Carlos Marmol will be used as the Cubs’ closer this afternoon, if the Cubs have the lead in the ninth inning. Marmol was very good in his 2/3 of an inning on Friday and showed both Quade and Riggins what they needed to see before putting him back in his ninth inning role.

Today it all begins with Randy Wells

After another rough start (three runs in the first inning on two home runs), Randy Wells received a no decision in a 7-5 loss to the Marlins. Wells struggled again and barely lasted six innings after allowing four runs on eight hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Wells said he’s feeling fine and that his arm is good, he’s just not pitching the way he’s capable.

Randy Wells has given up a lot of hits (66) and walked way too many batters (25) this season in just 52 1/3 innings. While pitcher’s wins and losses are not the end all be in anymore, a team’s record on the days a pitchers starts is important. The Cubs are 3-7 in Wells’ ten starts … and have dropped the last five in a row. Wells is 0-1 in his last three starts with a 7.71 ERA and a 1.96 WHIP … teams are hitting .366 against him during that stretch.

Randy Wells has not faced the Astros this season and is 2-3 in six career starts versus Houston with a 3.11 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP.

Astros Career Numbers against Randy Wells

  • Clint Barmes – 0-for-6
  • Michael Bourn – 5-for-16 with 4 walks
  • Chris Johnson – 2-for-6 with a double
  • Carlos Lee – 4-for-18 with 2 home runs
  • Jason Michaels – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • Hunter Pence – 6-for-14 with a double, a home run and 4 walks
  • Humberto Quintero – 2-for-3 with a double
  • Angel Sanchez – 0-for-3
  • Brett Wallace – 0-for-3

The Cubs could be facing Wandy Rodriguez for the last time in an Astros’ uniform. Rodriguez is rumored to be on the market with several clubs interested in trading for the southpaw.

Rodriguez has been extremely inconsistent this season and is coming off three bad starts against the Pirates (twice) and Marlins. Pittsburgh scored four runs on eight hits against Rodriguez in his last outing in 5 2/3 innings. Wandy walked three and struck out a season-high 11 batters.

After posting a 3-1 record in four June starts with a 1.80 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP, Rodriguez is 0-2 in his last three outings with a 7.41 ERA and a 1.82 WHIP.

The Cubs beat Rodriguez back on April 13 in Houston (five runs on nine hits with two walks and four strikeouts in five innings) and the very talented lefty is 5-5 in 17 career starts versus the Cubs with a 4.04 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP … at Wrigley, 2-3 in nine starts with a 5.47 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Wandy Rodriguez

  • Jeff Baker – 7-for-14 with 4 doubles and a walk
  • Darwin Barney – 3-for-5 with a walk
  • Marlon Byrd – 5-for-25 with 2 doubles, a home run and a walk
  • Starlin Castro – 1-for-6
  • Blake DeWitt – 2-for-6 with a triple
  • Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-6
  • Koyie Hill – 1-for-4 with a walk
  • Reed Johnson – 5-for-20 with a walk
  • Carlos Pena – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • Aramis Ramirez – 12-for-37 with a double, a home run and a walk
  • Alfonso Soriano – 3-for-29 with a home run and 3 walks
  • Geovany Soto – 7-for-16 with a home run and 4 walks

Boys of Spring – The Movie
Friend of the CCO, Tim Sheridan, is putting the finishing touches on a Cubs documentary about his time with the Chicago Cubs. Tim is the long-time P.A. announcer at HoHoKam Park in Mesa and the film is full of behind the scenes, never-before-see footage shot by Tim as he worked next to Cubs legends like Harry Caray and Ron Santo.

From the official press release: To be a part of Boys of Spring – The Movie, fans can donate as little as $10 using an Amazon.com account. As a thank you, fans will receive a copy of the Boys of Spring documentary before its official release next spring. There are a range of donation levels and rewards available on Kickstarter.com, including Cubs memorabilia and your name in the movie’s credits.

Boys of Spring isn’t about a team winning or losing. It’s about something deeper. An examination of life on its winding path and how, in spite of perceived failures, there is happiness and success. Cub fans will find joy this season and for years to come with the Boys of Spring film by donating and claiming their place in Cubs history. An epic World Series drought can’t stop the faithful Cubs followers, who know better than anyone – “There’s always next spring!”

The CCO will be running reminders during game previews for the next few weeks and I encourage the Faithful to check out ‘Boys of Spring – The Movie

Follow the CCO on Twitter: @TheCCO

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

Quote of the Day

"When you play, play hard; when you work, don’t play at all." – Theodore Roosevelt