Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Astros – 05/23/12

Game Forty-Four: Cubs (15-28) vs. Astros (19-22)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187/914
Location – Minute Maid Park, Houston

Jeff Samardzija (4-2, 3.00/1.16) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (3-4, 2.24/1.09)

The Cubs, without Dale Sveum, look to put an end to their miserable eight-game losing streak tonight behind Jeff Samardzija. Sveum will not be with the team for tonight’s finale in Houston. The Cubs skipper has gone home to Arizona for his son’s high school graduation. Jamie Quirk will call the shots and look for Starlin Castro to get the night off.

Starlin Castro had one of the worst games of his young career Tuesday night and is just 1-for-11 with a walk in his career against Wandy Rodriguez. Castro struck out swinging four times and his frustration appeared to mount after each at bat. Castro has stuck out eight times in his last four games after striking out just three times in the seven games prior to Saturday’s contest with the White Sox. Castro is the only player on the roster that has played in all 43 games this season.

As for the rest of tonight’s lineup, Wandy Rodriguez has been just as effective against right-handers (.227/.274/.324/.577) in three times more at bats as lefties (.226/.268/.304/.558). The Cubs are just 1-7 against games started by southpaws this season.

The last time the Cubs lost eight games in a row was around this time a year ago. The Cubs dropped eight straight from May 30 – June 7 and entered play on June 8 with a 23-36 record (13 games under .500).

Tonight all starts with Jeff Samardzija

Jeff Samardzija is coming off another good outing. Samardzija made only three mistakes last Friday against the Sox … and two of them left the yard. Samardzija allowed three runs on six hits (two home runs) with two walks and eight strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. Samardzija was the last Cubs’ starter that kept his team in a game.

Like Matt Garza, Samardzija has struggled on the road this season. He is 2-1 in four starts outside of Wrigley with a 5.06 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP (2-1 in four home starts with a 1.52 ERA and a 0.84 WHIP).

In his last four starts, Samardzija is 2-1 with a 2.00 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP.

Jeff Samardzija will make his first career start against the Astros tonight. In 15 games, Samardzija is 2-1 with a 4.76 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP … last season, 1-1 in nine games with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. Samardzija has not recorded a decision in three games at Minute Maid. In five innings of work, Samardzija has allowed two runs on three hits with two walks and three strikeouts (3.60 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP).

Astros Career Numbers against Jeff Samardzija

  • Jose Altuve – 0-for-3
  • Brian Bogusevic – 0-for-1
  • Matt Downs – 0-for-1
  • Chris Johnson – 0-for-4
  • Carlos Lee – 2-for-6 with a home run and a walk
  • Jed Lowrie – 0-for-1
  • Wandy Rodriguez – 1-for-1
  • Chris Snyder – 1-for-2 with a walk

Wandy Rodriguez is off to another excellent start. Rodriguez has held teams to three earned runs or less in eight of his nine starts this season. Rodriguez is coming off a loss to arguably the best team in baseball in which he allowed three runs on 10 hits with two walks and four strikeouts in six innings. Texas beat Houston 4-1.

The veteran lefty is 2-3 in six starts at Minute Maid this season with a 2.52 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. In his last four games, Rodriguez is 1-2 with a 2.79 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP.

Wandy Rodriguez is 5-6 in 19 career starts against the Cubs with a 3.99 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP … last season, 0-2 in three starts with a 5.09 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Wandy Rodriguez

  • Jeff Baker – 8-for-20 with four doubles and a walk
  • Darwin Barney – 3-for-10 with a walk
  • Starlin Castro – 1-for-11 with a walk
  • David DeJesus – 1-for-2 with a walk
  • Koyie Hill – 1-for-4 with a walk
  • Reed Johnson – 5-for-23 with a walk
  • Joe Mather – 0-for-7
  • Alfonso Soriano – 4-for-35 with a home run and three walks
  • Ian Stewart – 2-for-5 with a double

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

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