Game One Hundred Twenty-Four: Cubs (54-69) vs. Astros (39-84)
Game Time – 1:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Minute Maid Park, Houston
Casey Coleman (2-4, 7.23/1.94) vs. Bud Norris (5-8, 3.55/1.31)
How will the Cubs respond to what they called a shocking loss on Tuesday night? Q’s squad was in line to post their fifth straight series win but let one slip away. They will need a win this afternoon to avoid another disappointing road trip … 4-2 after a six-game trip to Atlanta and Houston sounds a lot better than 3-3, especially after taking three of the first four.
Casey Coleman will be activated prior to today’s game and make his first big league start since July 4. Scott Maine is expected to be sent back to Iowa after spending two days in the majors without throwing a pitch.
If the Cubs are able to have a lead late in the game, look for Sean Marshall to try to close it out. Kerry Wood will not be available after pitching in back-to-back games. It is highly unlikely that Carlos Marmol would be available after throwing 32 pitches on Tuesday night.
Geovany Soto will be back behind the plate this afternoon and Mike Quade mentioned he might shakeup his lineup a little on Wednesday against Bud Norris.
In other news … Andrew Cashner is scheduled to throw to hitters again on Friday and a bullpen on Sunday. If everything goes as planned Cashner will begin a minor league rehab next week.
The magic number for the Cubs is four. When the Cubs score four or more runs they are 44-26, when Q’s offense plates three runs or less, just 10-43.
Today is the Cubs final game of 2011 in Houston … and it all starts with Casey Coleman. Casey Coleman last started a big league game on July 4 in Washington D.C. Coleman put together a decent outing (three runs, two earned, on five hits with a walk and five strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings) but received a no decision in a Cubs 5-4 loss. Coleman has struggled in just about every aspect of the game at the Major League level. Coleman has walked (28) just about as many batters as he’s struck out (31) and in 42 1/3 innings he’s served up five longballs.
Coleman said he adjusted his mechanics and tried to slow down his approach during his time in the I-Cubs rotation. With the Cubs in need of another starter for the remainder of the season, Coleman should receive plenty of opportunities to show he’s a big league pitcher.
Today will be Coleman’s third career start against the Astros. He is 1-0 in the first two starts with a 2.77 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP (four runs on 14 hits in 13 innings with six walks and four strikeouts).
One of the best starts of Coleman’s career came in Houston on October 1, 2010. Casey threw seven innings of shutout ball (six hits, a walk and two strikeouts) in a 2-0 Cubs victory.
Brian Bogusevic (0-for-3), Jason Bourgeois (0-for-3), Matt Downs (1-for-2 with a walk), Carlos Lee (0-for-6), Jason Michaels (2-for-3 with two doubles) and Bud Norris (0-for-2) are the only players on the Astros’ active roster with limited at bats against Casey Coleman.
Bud Norris is a very good pitcher on not-such-a-good baseball team. Norris is coming off an excellent start against the Dodgers in which he tossed seven innings of shutout ball and allowed only two hits. Norris walked four and struck out eight in a 1-0 Astros’ loss.
Norris has not posted a victory since before the break and is 0-2 in his last six starts with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP … and Norris is just as good at home (3-4 in 14 starts with a 3.53 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP) as he is on the road (2-4 in 10 starts with a 3.58 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP).
Today will be Norris’ second start of the season against the Cubs. He was a hard-luck loser at Wrigley back on July 22. The Cubs beat Houston 4-2 and Norris allowed four runs, one earned, without a walk and five strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings (home runs by Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez in the bottom of the fifth).
Bud Norris is 1-2 in four career games, three starts, against the Cubs with a 1.69 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Bud Norris
- Jeff Baker – 1-for-5 with a double
- Darwin Barney – 0-for-6
- Marlon Byrd – 0-for-3
- Starlin Castro – 2-for-5
- Casey Coleman – 1-for-2 with a double
- Tyler Colvin – 0-for-1
- Blake DeWitt – 2-for-6
- Koyie Hill – 1-for-4
- Carlos Pena – 1-for-6
- Aramis Ramirez – 2-for-6 with a double and a home run
- Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-4 with a double, a home run and 2 walks
- Geovany Soto – 0-for-3
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