Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Astros – 09/16/11

Game One Hundred Fifty-One: Cubs (65-85) vs. Astros (51-98)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Matt Garza (8-10, 3.54/1.32) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (11-10, 3.51/1.30)

The Cubs begin their final homestand of the season this afternoon with the first of three against the Astros. The last game at Wrigley is Wednesday afternoon in the finale of the three-game series with Milwaukee.

Q’s Cubs will look to end their three-game losing streak behind Matt Garza this afteroon. For the Cubs to get back in the win column, they will have to play better than they have this year against Houston. The Cubs have split the 12 games (6-6) with the ‘Stros this season.

The Cubs are 35-40 at Wrigley this year and it would take a six-game winning streak to avoid a loosing record at home for the season.

Starlin Castro enters play this afternoon seven hits shy of 200. Castro would like to reach the mark over the next six games in front of the home crowd. Mike Quade jokingly said he would like for Castro to reach the 210-hit plateau during the homestand.

Alfonso Soriano drove in his 80th run of the season Thursday night … the first time Soriano has driven in RBI in a single season for the Chicago Cubs.

In other news … The Smokies lost game two of the Southern League Championship Series on Thursday night 1-0 in 11 innings. Brian Harper received a tremendous start from Brooks Raley and the Smokies’ pitching staff faced the minimum through 10 innings. Rafael Dolis took the loss after giving up a run in the 11th. Game three is Saturday night at Smokies Park.

The final home games of the year could also be the last games at Wrigley in a Cubs’ uniform for several of the veteran players, the manager and the coaching staff.

Today it all starts with Matt Garza

Matt Garza is coming off another quality start and an overall good outing but for the seventh time this season, the Cubs pen could not hold a lead for Garza … and he received a no decision. Garza held the Mets to three runs on seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts in seven innings. Garza was not as sharp as in previous starts but was more than good enough to post a victory.

Garza has been very good of late but has only a 4-3 record in his last 10 starts to show for it … the Cubs are 7-3 in Garza’s last ten outings.

After posting a 3-2 record in six starts last month with a 2.45 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP, Garza is 1-0 in his last two games with a 2.45 ERA ad a 1.30 WHIP … since the break, 4-3 in 12 starts with a 2.65 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP.

Matt Garza will make his 16th start of the year at Wrigley. Garza is 5-5 in his first 15 with a 2.64 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP.

This afternoon will be Garza’s second start of the year against Houston. Garza received a no decision back on July 24 (Cubs won 5-4) after he allowed two runs on five hits with three walks and nine strikeouts in seven innings. Jeff Samardzija could not hold the lead for Garza more than six weeks ago.

Garza has never beaten the Astros and is 0-2 in three starts with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP.

Astros Career Numbers against Matt Garza

  • Clint Barmes – 2-for-6 with 2 home runs
  • Matt Downs – 0-for-3
  • Chris Johnson – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • Carlos Lee – 2-for-9 with 2 doubles and a walk
  • Angel Sanchez – 0-for-1
  • Brett Wallace – 0-for-3

Wandy Rodriguez’s days as in Houston appeared to be over at the end of August but the Rockies and Astros could not work out a deal … and Rodriguez will finish the season in an Astros’ uniform. Many figure Houston will try to deal their veteran southpaw this off-season.

Rodriguez is coming off a solid start against the Nationals. He gave up three runs on seven hits in six innings without a walk and nine strikeouts … and has been more than solid after it appeared he would be traded to the Rockies the day before he pitched against them in Colorado.

After struggling in July, Rodriguez posted a 3-2 record in six starts in August with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP and is 1-1 in his last two starts with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP. Since the break, 5-4 in 11 starts with a 3.49 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP.

Today will be Wandy Rodriguez’s third start of the season, second at Wrigley, against the Cubs. The veteran southpaw is 0-2 in the first two with a 5.25 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Wandy Rodriguez

  • Jeff Baker – 7-for-17 with 4 doubles and a walk
  • Darwin Barney – 3-for-7 with a walk
  • Marlon Byrd – 7-for-27 with 2 doubles, 2 home runs and 2 walks
  • Starlin Castro – 1-for-9
  • Tyler Colvin – 1-for-8 with a home run
  • Blake DeWitt – 2-for-6 with a triple
  • Koyie Hill – 1-for-4 with a walk
  • Reed Johnson – 5-for-23 with a walk
  • Carlos Pena – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • Aramis Ramirez – 12-for-40 with a double, a home run and a walk
  • Alfonso Soriano – 3-for-32 with a home run and 3 walks
  • Geovany Soto – 8-for-19 with 2 home runs and 4 walks

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Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver