Game Seventy-Seven: Cubs (27-49) vs. Astros (32-45)
Game Time – 3:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 185/914
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Matt Garza (3-6, 4.06/1.09) vs. J.A. Happ (6-7, 4.83/1.48)
Can the Cubs beat the Astros for the second day in a row? Not only would a win this afternoon guarantee Dale Sveum’s team a winning homestand but it would also mark the second time this season the Cubs have won consecutive series.
Something is going to give today. The Astros own the worst road record in baseball (9-26) and the Cubs are a miserable 4-17 in games started by left handers this season. Dale Sveum is expected to run out his unproductive right-handed lineup this afternoon. Anthony Rizzo will still hit third with Jeff Baker, Reed Johnson and Joe Mather likely in the starting lineup. J.A. Happ has not fared well against righties (.280/.356/.439) or lefties (.275/.305/.357) and considering one of his best starts of the year came against the Cubs in Houston, it might bode well for Sveum to run out his everyday lineup … and see if they fare any better against Happ this time around.
In other news … Randy Wells cleared waivers Friday and was assigned to Triple-A Iowa. Wells is expected to accept the assignment. With Wells off the roster, the Cubs are looking at either Chris Volstad or Casey Coleman to make Tuesday’s start in Atlanta. There had been talk of Chris Rusin being called up prior to Wells’ last outing but right now they do not have an open spot on the 40-man roster. The Cubs big league roster currently stands at 39 … that is until Monday when the signing of Jorge Soler is expected to be announced.
Ian Stewart’s wrist did not respond to the cortisone shot he received. Ian Stewart said (during a not-so-good-Twitter-exchange Friday night) that he does not think he will be back soon. The Cubs could create a roster spot by moving him to the 60-day DL.
This afternoon it all starts with Matt Garza … Matt Garza is coming off his longest start in nearly two months. Garza took the loss last Sunday in Arizona after allowing three runs on five hits with a walk and seven strikeouts in seven-plus innings. Garza threw the ball well but was outpitched by Wade Miley.
After a horrible May (0-2 in four starts with a 6.86 ERA and a 1.63 WHIP), Garza is 1-3 in his last five starts with a 3.77 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP.
Garza likes pitching at Wrigley Field and due to the schedule makers today will be only his third start at home since May 16. Garza is 1-1 in five starts at Wrigley this season with a 2.36 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP.
The last time Garza faced the Houston Astros, they knocked him out of the game after three innings. Garza allowed seven runs on five hits (two, three-run homers) with two walks and two strikeouts.
Matt Garza has never beaten the Astros (0-3 in five starts with a 4.64 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP).
Astros Career Numbers against Matt Garza
- Jose Altuve – 0-for-5
- Brian Bogusevic – 1-for-5
- Jason Castro – 1-for-1 with a home run
- Matt Downs – 0-for-3
- Chris Johnson – 2-for-4 with a home run and a walk
- Carlos Lee – 5-for-15 with two doubles, two home runs and a walk
- Jed Lowrie – 1-for-8
- J.D. Martinez – 1-for-5 with a walk
- Scott Moore – 0-for-3
- Jordan Schafer – 1-for-4
J.A. Happ is coming off an excellent outing against the Indians (one run on four hits with two walks and five strikeouts in seven innings) and has posted wins in each of his two outings. After just a horrible outing against the Giants in San Francisco (eight runs on 11 hits in 3 1/3 innings), Happ has pitched much better … but both of those outings were at Minute Maid Park.
Happ is a solid 6-4 in 10 home starts this season with a 3.75 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP … but he has not posted a win outside of Houston and is 0-3 in five starts with a 7.36 ERA and a 1.79 WHIP.
J.A. Happ beat the Cubs in Houston back on May 22. Happ held the Cubs to one run on five hits in six innings with two walks and six strikeouts. For his career, Happ is 1-1 against the Cubs with a 6.00 ERA and a 2.07 WHIP … at Wrigley, no record in one start with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.83 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against J.A. Happ
- Jeff Baker – 4-for-8 with a walk
- Darwin Barney – 0-for-2
- Starlin Castro – 2-for-5 with a triple and a walk
- David DeJesus – 1-for-3
- Reed Johnson – 0-for-4 with a walk
- Joe Mather – 1-for-2 with a walk
- Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-6 with a double, a home run and a walk
- Geovany Soto – 0-for-1 with two walks
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