Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Astros – 08/15/11

Game One Hundred Twenty-Two: Cubs (53-68) vs. Astros (38-83)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Minute Maid Park, Houston

Rodrigo Lopez (3-3, 4.78/1.42) vs. Henry Sosa (0-1, 6.00/1.50)

Updated 4:45pm CDT – Cubs Recalled Scott Maine from Triple-A Iowa on MondayCasey Coleman expected to be recalled prior to Wednesday’s finale against the Astros – Cubs will make another roster move at that time.

The Cubs open their final series of the season in Houston tonight against the new-look Astros. The Astros have already lost 83 games and guaranteed themselves a losing season but a lot as changed for Brad Mills’ team since the last time the Cubs played them at Wrigley at the end of July (July 22 – July 24). Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn are now in the NL East and both Brett Wallace and Chris Johnson were optioned to Triple-A. The Astros still have Brett Myers and Bud Norris (the Cubs will face Myers on Tuesday and Norris on Wednesday) as well as Jose Altuve and Carlos Lee.

The Cubs will face a lot of unknown over the next three days, beginning with tonight’s starter Henry Sosa. Sosa is making just his second big league start and his first in his new home ballpark.

The Cubs and Astros have six head-to-head match-ups left on the 2011 schedule, counting this series. After the finale on Wednesday afternoon in Houston, the two teams will square off at Wrigley for the last three times in 2011 in last September … Q’s squad is 5-4 against Houston this season.

Midnight Eastern (11:00pm CDT) is the deadline for signing all draft picks from this past June’s Amateur Draft … and the Players Association is expected to file a grievance today with the Cubs over their decision to place Carlos Zambrano on the disqualified list without pay for the next 30 days … so Jim Hendry should have more than a full first day of the week.

The Cubs have won 11 of 14 and are 16-13 since the All-Star break (10-3 in August) … and tonight it all starts with Rodrigo Lopez.

Rodrigo Lopez is coming off a solid start against the Nationals in which he allowed two runs, one earned, on five hits without a walk and four strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. Lopez put together another serviceable start at Wrigley (3-1 in nine game, five starts, with a 3.34 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP at home). With Carlos Zambrano likely done for the season coupled with the lack of starting pitching in the system, Lopez should finish the year in the Cubs rotation.

Lopez has struggled mightily on the road (0-2 in nine games, three starts, with a 7.08 ERA and a 1.77 WHIP) and is 1-0 in his last two starts with a 6.52 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP.

Tonight will be Lopez’s third appearance and second start against the Astros this season. Houston has hit Lopez pretty hard this year (six runs on 10 hits without a walk, five strikeouts and two home runs in 5 1/3 innings). Lopez is 1-2 in six career appearances, five starts, with a 5.34 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP … at Minute Maid, 0-1 in two starts with a 6.55 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP.

Astros Career Numbers against Rodrigo Lopez

  • Clint Barmes – 2-for-8 with a home run and 2 walks
  • Matt Downs – 0-for-1
  • Carlos Lee – 4-for-22 with a double and 3 walks
  • Jason Michaels – 1-for-6
  • Humberto Quintero – 0-for-2
  • Angel Sanchez – 1-for-2 with a triple and a walk

Henry Sosa will make just his second big league start tonight … and his first in Houston. Sosa gave up four runs on six hits in his debut on August 10 in Arizona. Sosa completed six innings, walked three and struck out four.

The Giants signed the 26-year old right-hander as a free agent in 2004 and Houston acquired Sosa in the deal that sent Jeff Keppinger to San Francisco on July 19.

Sosa pitched at both the Double-A and Triple-A levels in the Giants system prior to the trade and started just one game at Houston’s Triple-A team (Oklahoma City) before getting the call to the show.

Henry Sosa has compiled a 10-3 record in 29 games, 10 starts, this season with a 4.53 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP in his four different uniforms.

Baseball America listed Henry Sosa as the 29th best prospect in the Giants system prior to the season.

For the second straight game the Cubs will face a starting pitcher for the first time.

Follow the CCO on Twitter: @TheCCO

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

Quote of the Day

"Whatever you think, be sure it is what you think; whatever you want, be sure that is what you want." – T.S. Eliot

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  • Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

    Castro – SS
    Barney – 2B
    Ramirez – 3B
    Pena – 1B
    Byrd – CF
    Johnson – LF
    Colvin – RF
    Soto – C
    Lopez – P

  • studio179
    • Ripsnorter1

      Wow. What was I thinking? I just clicked on your link–right after a nice supper–and suddenly I became ill contemplating Z and his idiotic comments. GAG!

  • Tom U

    Tonight’s minor league starters:

    Iowa – Nick Struck (2-3, 5.12)
    Tennessee – Brooks Raley (6-9, 4.11)
    Peoria – Austin Kirk (5-8, 3.43)
    Boise – Juan Rosario (2-3, 4.31)

    Daytona has the night off, AZL Cubs’ game is already in progress.

    • Tom U


      Tennessee is also off tonight. Brooks Raley is scheduled to pitch tomorrow.

  • Neil

    David Kaplan spoke with Zambrano, here are the tweets that were sent out earlier:

    Z says that he id sorry and wants to remain a Cub. Also said that he did not try to hit Chipper.

    He also said that he wanted to come to the park on Saturday & rejoin team but was suspended. He does not agree with punishment

    Z said he did say was thinking about retiring on Fri night because he was frustrated but comments were supposed to be private.

    Big Z: “I received text messages of support from Sosa, Byrd, Ozzie, Giambi, Pena and Soriano.” Also said he & Soriano are cool

    • John_CC


      He’s sorry, again.

      He didn’t try to hit Chipper, twice. Liar.

      He does not agree with the punishment…o yeah, and fore-fitting 19 MILLION DOLLARS.

      And he cleaned out his locker because the guy that does the laundry there uses too much starch.

      Too little, too late, Big Z.  Like this entire miserable season.

      • roseyc

        The Cubs will take him back and it’ll be ok again and they’ll hug and makeup.and Quade will say that he’ll win 20 games next year.

      • paulcatanese

        Agree on Z,after all, “how many chucks could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood”?

      • paulcatanese

        Sorry for the post John, I just cant get serious over this bunch anymore, and a little humor for me hides the frustration.

      • Ripsnorter1

        Yeah, sure. Did he try to hit Uggla after his HR?


    • cc002600

      Roll eyes.


      same ole’, same ‘ole


      How many times have we seen this ?


      On Friday night, after this happened, anyone with half a brain could have
      predicted EXACTLY what he would do (i.e. not retire) and say, when he calmed


      I would just love to see them just release him over the winter and eat the
      dough….and be done with him once and for all.


      None of the other players will ever admit this in public, but I will
      guarantee you that all of them can’t stand this guy and wish he would go


      I am so tired of this guy.

  • Neil

    From Baseball America: In long-rumored deal, Cubs agree w/2nd-rder Dan Vogelbach for $1.6 m (slot=$537.3k). Florida HS 1B, huge LH power

    • FurtureCubs

      I think this kid has some HUGE potential.  I hope he gets into camp and works his tail off.  Not sure what he currently is weighing in at but it probably would hurt him to drop a few lbs. 

      • Zach

        I saw that he lost 40 pounds for his senior year in high school, so that tells me that he is wiling to work hard and if he was willing to do that in high school just imagine what he what he would do as a pro.

    • cubtex

      Hopefully Baez and Maples to follow. Anything after those 2 would be icing on the cake!

      • FurtureCubs

        Whats the story on this Maples kid?  I keep hearing people talk about him.

        • cubtex

          He was rated a top 50 talent going into draft but fell because of baseball/football scholarship from North Carolina. He fell to 14th round because of that.

      • Nathan

        Maples signed earlier today

        • cubtex

          not according to baseball america database. he is not listed as having officially signed.

  • paulcatanese

    Should be an easy one tonight, even the bat boy could pitch and win.

    After all,   ” Its Only The Astros.”

  • cc002600

    From Z – “I want to keep pitching for the Cubs. It was a moment of frustration
    Friday night, and I pitched so bad I wanted to retire, you know, I don’t
    want to be making $18 million and pitch like crap.”Yea, my arse.If that’s the case, retire so the cubs don’t have to waste another $18M next year for being bad again. Do us all a favor. go away

    • paulcatanese

      This is the first quote from Qua that I agree with. He placed a moritorium on all talk about Z in the clubhouse and bench. Good for him.

  • Ripsnorter1

    It’s real simple: cut Ortiz. 

    What is he doing in a ML uniform anyway? Not even Albert Einstein could explain that.

    • roseyc

      along with Grabow

      • Demitri

        Along with koyie hill

        • studio179

          Along with Quade

  • Matt Collins

    here is the full interview between z and david kaplin incase anyone wants to hear it.

  • Neil

    Pena crushed that ball …

  • Neil

    Another excellent play by Castro

  • Neil

    … and Another one by Castro

  • Neil

    A tip of the cap to Jim Thome … just hit #600.

    • cubs1967

      does he make the HOF??……….before everyone screams of course for being a non-roided up dude………

      35% plus of his at-bats are as a DH.  what value is there to a player who only plays 1/2 the game>>

      who also can’t run nor provide defense plays to stop runs.

      how many punters make the HOF??

      how many kickers do??

      same goes for frank thomas………if these guys had to play defense would their career end at 32???……….when they did play D they both got hurt.

      sooner or later; once the incompetent uncle Bud leaves office(thank god); MLB is gonna have to keep the DH for both leagues or say it’s over as a experiement (it’s actual concept)……….47 yr later.

      how many teams have true DHs anymore anyway……..

      and before thome or thomas get in; SANTO needs to be in. 5 time gold glover………along with players like gil hodges need to be in way before a 1/2 time player gets in.

      • Richard Hood

        We actually agree on something Cubs!

    • GaryLeeT

      Even though he hit a lot of those 600 as a DH, I still consider Thome to be a first ballot HOF inductee. He’s such an old school class act. Too bad the Peoria native never got to play for the Cubs, which I am sure was his favorite team growing up.

  • Neil

    What a catch by Reed …

  • Neil

    Source: Ricketts to speak about Cubs’ future

    • Jim_Tinley_Park

      Something like.

      ” I have faith in Jim and his staff, our minor league system is starting to produce.” I don’t need a baseball guy to watch my baseball guys.

    • studio179

      This is kind of interesting timing to give a state of the team speech in mid to late August. Maybe the bad year mixed in with the Zambrano situation has caused the chairman’s timing to speak now. The natives are restless. 

  • Neil

    Soto with a nice two-out, two-run double

  • Neil

    From Baseball America: Cubs sign 11th-rder Shawon Dunston Jr. for $1.275
    million. Calif HS OF, son of Shawon, projectable athlete, plus runner

    • Richard Hood

      that makes 30 without Baez or Maples according to baseball america’s list

      • bpot92

        Any news on where they are at. I’ve heard both have deals in place but they arent official then i have heard they dont have deals yet.

        • Neil

          I’ve heard they are both done, still 1 hour 50 minutes left.

    • cubtex

      $1.275 mil for Dunston? Ricketts is throwing money at some of these kids.

      • paulcatanese

        Dunston and Gretzky, built in attendence, They will progress rather quickly I would imagine. Lots of money going out  here.

    • John G

      Will there be Shawon-O-Meter II?

  • Neil

    From Shawon Dunston Jr.: It’s apart of the #Cubs family!! Thank you #Vanderbilt for signing me in the fall! I will always roote for my #vandyboys

  • Neil

    Quade does it again, leaves in a starter too long.

  • J Daniel

    If Z was not throwing at Jones, he really STINKS!

  • Tom U

    Brett Jackson given the night off for Iowa.

  • Neil
    • Richard Hood

      The way that read is it was updated to say he had according to baseball america. So the article may have been early and updated late? I don’t know.

  • Neil

    Another solid play by Barney

    • JW

      With all the signings today, if we don’t get Baez and Maples, is the draft a bust?

      • Neil

        Signed both …

  • Neil

    Cubs beat the Astros 4-3 Monday night.

    Rodrigo Lopez: 3R, 2ER, 5H, 2BB, 3K, 5.1IP; Geovany Soto: 3-for-4, 2B, 2RBI; Carlos Pena: 2-for-5, 2B, 2RBI; Aramis Ramirez: 3-for-5, R

  • Chuck

    Am here in Fort Myers and am watching the 11:00 PM newscast and not one word about Vogelbach signing with the Cubs.  They did announce that his high school teammate, Hudson Boyd, signed with the Minnesota Twins for $1 million.   It will be made official tomorrow at Hammond Stadium, spring training complex of the Minnesota Twins. 

  • Neil

    From Kevin Capie: Cubs aren’t getting RHP Ricky Jacquez. He’ll take his
    95 mph fastball and hammer CB to Texas

  • jfish1219

    Paul SullivanCubs have signed nine of their first 10 picks, including first-rounder Baez and second-rounder Vogelbach tonight. Shawon Dunston Jr. too.

    • jfish1219

      That was from paul sullivan’s twitter

  • Neil

    From the Trib: Cubs have signed nine of their first 10
    picks, including first-rounder Baez and second-rounder Vogelbach tonight. Shawon
    Dunston Jr. too.

  • Neil

    From Baseball America: Cubs get 1st-rder Javier Baez for $2.625 mil,
    14th-rder Dillon Maples for $2.5 mil spread over five years.

    • carmelo

      Great job by the Cubs scouting departmant and front office on the 2011 draft.