Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Astros – 07/24/11

Game One Hundred Two: Cubs (41-60) vs. Astros (33-67)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Matt Garza (4-7, 3.80/1.31) vs. Jordan Lyles (0-5, 4.55/1.28)

Weather permitting … Will the Cubs finally be able to get that “three-game winning streak monkey” off their back? Nine times the Cubs have had a chance to win their third straight game and each time they’ve come up short. According to WGN Radio, the last team to go an entire season without posting a three-game winning streak was the 1952 Pittsburgh Pirates and before that it was the 1939 St. Louis Browns … only four teams in the history of the game have failed to win at least three games in a row once in a full season.

The Cubs are 4-5 in their last nine games and a win today would also give them a .500 record on their longest homestand of the season.

The 2011 Hall of Fame class will be inducted into Cooperstown today. Roberto Alomar, Bert Blyleven and Pat Gillick, who denied reports that he has spoken to Tom Ricketts, headline the class of inductees. Gillick made it clear Saturday that if something presented itself where he would have an opportunity to be a team president then he would consider leaving the Phillies organization. Gillick has been serving as a senior advisor in Philadelphia for the past three seasons. MLB Network and XM Radio will broadcast the event beginning at 10:30am CDT.

With the non-waiver trade deadline a week away, the Cubs figure to have a slightly different roster by the time they return to Wrigley on August 5 to open a three-game series against the Reds. Could today be the last time Kosuke Fukudome, John Grabow, Reed Johnson, Aramis Ramirez, Carlos Pena, Marlon Byrd and Alfonso Soriano suit up in the home clubhouse at Wrigley? Aramis Ramirez has told the Cubs he would not waive his 10-and-5 rights and some think Carlos Pena will finish out the season in a Cubs uniform … so far Fukudome, Byrd and Grabow have attracted the most attention.

Matt Garza has been the Cubs best pitcher over the last month with not much to show for his efforts. Garza is 0-1 in his last four starts with a 2.88 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP … and that includes his horrible start before the break against the Nationals. A good outing today by Garza and the Cubs could not only win their third in a row but improve on their 2-13 record on Sundays in 2011.

Today it all begins with Matt Garza

It is hard to ask Matt Garza to pitch much better than he has of late. Garza is coming off an impressive outing against the Phillies. Garza pitched seven-plus innings and allowed one run on four hits with three walks and five strikeouts. Garza did not allow a run while he was on the mound and should not have been sent out to start the eighth.

Even with his horrible two-plus inning outing against the Nationals before the break, Garza is 0-1 in his last four starts with a 2.88 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP.

Garza is a very good 3-3 in 10 starts at Wrigley this season with a 2.71 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP.

This afternoon will be Garza’s first start of the season against Houston … 0-2 in two career starts (with a complete game) and a 3.21 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP.

Astros Career Numbers against Matt Garza

  • Clint Barmes – 1-for-3 with a home run
  • Michael Bourn – 2-for-7
  • Carlos Lee – 2-for-7 with 2 doubles
  • Hunter Pence – 3-for-7

Jordan Lyles made his big league debut on May 31 against the Cubs at Wrigley. Lyles put together a good outing but not as good as the one Keith Moreland credited him as having. Lyles took advantage of the overly aggressive Cubs’ offense and allowed two runs on five hits in seven innings. Lyles struck out four and did not walk a batter.

The Cubs must make the rookie right hander work this afternoon.

Lyles is still looking for his first big league win and is coming off a long outing against the Nationals. Michael Morse and company scored four runs on five hits in 8 1/3 innings (three in the ninth). Lyles struck out six (two off his career high) and walked just one.

Jordan Lyles is 0-2 in four road starts this season with a 5.25 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP.

This afternoon will be Lyles’ second career start against the Cubs. Darwin Barney (0-for-3), Tony Campana (0-for-2), Starlin Castro (1-for-3 with a triple), Blake DeWitt (1-for-3 with a double), Kosuke Fukudome (0-for-3), Carlos Pena (0-for-3), Aramis Ramirez (2-for-3 with a double) and Geovany Soto (1-for-3 with a double) all faced Lyles back on May 31.

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

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon