Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Astros – 09/17/11

Game One Hundred Fifty-Two: Cubs (66-85) vs. Astros (51-99)
Game Time – 12:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Rodrigo Lopez (5-6, 5.04/1.55) vs. Henry Sosa (2-4, 5.02/1.35)

The Cubs will go for two in a row this afternoon behind Rodrigo Lopez. After playing 23 innings over the last two games, Mike Quade needs a long outing from Lopez today. Lopez could end up taking one for his team if he struggles early. The Cubs already have three relievers with over 70 appearances and over 70 innings under their belt this season (Sean Marshall, Jeff Samardzija and Carlos Marmol) and all of these meaningless innings could end up hurting down the line.

If the Cubs can post a victory this afternoon, not only would they win the season series against Houston (Cubs lead the season series 7-6 with two remaining) but they would also hand the Astros their 100th loss of the year.

After going hitless on Friday, Starlin Castro enters play today still seven hit shy of 200 for the season. Castro walked twice on Friday and has reached base safely in 29 straight games … the longest streak for a Cubs’ shortstop since Ernie Banks reached base safely in 30 consecutive games back in 1960.

Mike Quade mentioned the possibility of resting his veterans today after his team played 23 innings of ball in a 24-hour span. Quade said “guys are running on empty”.

In other news … Game three of the Southern League Championship Series is tonight at 6:15pm CDT. Ryan Searle will take the hill for Brian Harper in what is a must win for the Smokies. Tennessee trails the Mobile BayBears two games to none in the Best of Five Series.

Today it all begins with Rodrigo Lopez

Rodrigo Lopez gets another start this afternoon and should only take the hill two more times this season. Lopez is coming off another poor outing … and was the beneficiary of a ton of run support. Lopez picked up the only win of the four-game series against the Reds after he allowed five runs on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings. Lopez walked one, struck out four and served up four more home runs.

In 24 games, 14 starts, this season teams have hit 18 home runs (14 in the last 54 1/3 innings, 11 games) off Rodrigo Lopez.

Rodrigo Lopez has been serviceable, at best, a Wrigley this season. He is 3-2 in 11 games, seven starts, with a 3.95 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP.

Lopez is 1-0 in his last two starts with a 5.73 ERA and a 1.82 WHIP (teams hitting .362 against him) and is 4-4 in 11 games, 10 starts, since the break with a 5.63 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP.

Today will be Lopez’s third start of the season against Houston. Lopez is 1-0 in three games, two starts, with a 6.75 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP. Rodrigo Lopez and Henry Sosa squared off in Houston back on August 15. Lopez came out on top in the 4-3 final.

Astros Career Numbers against Rodrigo Lopez

  • Jose Altuve – 0-for-3
  • Clint Barmes – 3-for-10 with a double, a home run and 2 walks
  • Brian Bogusevic – 0-for-2
  • Jason Bourgeois – 0-for-3
  • Matt Downs – 2-for-4 with 2 double
  • Chris Johnson – 0-for-2
  • Carlos Lee – 4-for-24 with a double and 4 walks
  • J.D. Martinez – 2-for-2 with a walk
  • Jason Michaels – 1-for-6
  • Angel Sanchez – 1-for-2 with a triple and a walk
  • Henry Sosa – 0-for-2
  • Brett Wallace – 1-for-5

Henry Sosa’s second big league start came against the Cubs back on August 15. Sosa had a rough start but settled down. The Cubs scored four runs on seven hits in six innings (two walks and six strikeouts) and handed the 26-year old righty his second loss of the season.

Sosa had shown improvement prior to his last outing. Sosa allowed a total of four earned runs in three outings (18 innings) and in the process won two of those three games. Sosa did not make it out the third in his last outing against the Nationals. Sosa allowed five runs on seven hits in 2 2/3 innings with a pair of walks and strikeouts. The Cubs must make him work this afternoon in his first start at Wrigley Field.

Henry Sosa is 1-3 in four road starts (5.23 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP) since joining the Astros’ rotation back on August 10.

Darwin Barney (0-for-2 with a walk), Marlon Byrd (1-for-2 with a walk), Starlin Castro (1-for-3), Tyler Colvin (0-for-3), Reed Johnson (1-for-3), Rodrigo Lopez (0-for-3), Carlos Pena (1-for-3 with a double), Aramis Ramirez (1-for-3) and Geovany Soto (2-for-3 with 2 doubles) all faced Henry Sosa back on August 15.

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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