Game One Hundred Fourteen: Cubs (44-69) vs. Astros (38-78)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet Plus – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 186/914
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Jeff Samardzija (7-10, 4.21/1.30) vs. Armando Galarraga (0-2, 4.70/1.89)
Updated 3:33pm CDT – The Cubs made three roster moves Monday afternoon. Brooks Raley was optioned to Triple-A Iowa. The Cubs selected the contract of RHP Michael Bowden from the Iowa Cubs, added Bowden to the 40-man roster and recalled him from Triple-A Iowa. Ian Stewart was transferred from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL to create a spot on the 40-man roster for Michael Bowden. The Cubs 40-man roster stands at 40 players.
Weather permitting … Dale Sveum’s team opens a three-game series tonight against the last place Houston Astros. The Cubs have split the first six games with Houston this season (3-3) with the home team sweeping each series.
After putting together their best stretch of the season, the Cubs are not hitting and have yet to play a complete game this month. Entering play on July 31 the Cubs had won 19 of their previous 29 games, since they have lost 11 of 12 and in six of the 11 losses the offense has scored one run or less while being shut out four times. Sveum’s rotation has a much different look than it did on July 30 but the bottom line is that the offense has not done its job.
Josh Vitters is expected to start at least two if not all three games of this series. Dale Sveum made the announcement to the media prior to Sunday’s finale against the Reds. The Cubs will face three right handers during this series. After tonight’s matchup of Jeff Samardzija against Armando Galarraga, Chris Volstad is scheduled to face Lucas Harrell on Tuesday night with Justin Germano and Bud Norris squaring off on Wednesday afternoon.
Even with their struggles against the Reds, the Cubs are a game over .500 at home this season (28-27) but unless they can string together hits it will be a rough three games against Houston. The Astros may be 11-46 on the road this year but they are playing hard and have a better record over the last ten games than the Cubs.
In other news … Casey Coleman left his start Saturday night in the second inning with pain in his right shoulder. Coleman has been shut down for a couple of days and will be re-evaluated at that time to determine when he will return to the mound. The Cubs signed Seth McClung to a minor league contract Sunday. McClung will report to Triple-A Iowa and will likely take Coleman’s spot in the I-Cubs rotation.
Tonight all starts with Jeff Samardzija … Jeff Samardzija bounced back from his poor outing against the Dodgers with an excellent start in San Diego. A frustrated Samardzija held the Padres to one run on four hits with a pair of walks and six strikeouts over seven innings. Samardzija made only two mistakes … he allowed a pair of doubles to Chase Headley and Will Venable in the second inning.
Samardzija has followed up a 2-1 mark in five starts last month (1.91 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP) with two losses in his first two starts of August (4.38 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP). Samardzija promised to be better after the break and so far he has delivered. In his last five starts Samardzija is 1-2 with a 2.59 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP.
Like many of his teammates Samardzija has performed much better at Wrigley than on the road this season. In nine starts, Samardzija is 3-3 with a 3.61 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP.
Tonight will be Samardzija’s second start of the year against the Astros. Samardzija lost in Houston on May 23 but did not pitch badly and posted a quality start. Samardzija allowed two run on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts in six innings.
Jeff Samardzija is 2-2 in 16 career appearances, one start, against Houston with a 4.30 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP.
Astros Career Numbers against Jeff Samardzija
- Jose Altuve – 0-for-5 with a walk
- Brian Bogusevic – 0-for-4
- J.D. Martinez – 2-for-3 with a triple
- Steve Pearce – 1-for-2
- Chris Snyder – 1-for-2 with a walk
Armando Galarraga signed with the Orioles last winter but was released on April 6 and signed a minor league contract with Houston on May 21. Galarraga posted a 3-2 record in nine starts with a 4.12 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP before joining the Astros rotation at the end of July.
Tonight will be Galarraga’s fourth start of the season for Houston. Galarraga is winless in his first three and has struggled with his command. Galarraga allowed three runs on six hits in five innings to the Nationals but he walked six batters and struck out five. In 15 1/3 innings this season, Galarraga has walked as many batters (14) as he’s struck out (14). The Cubs must make him work tonight … early swings will give Galarraga his first win of the season.
Armando Galarraga is 2-1 in three career starts against the Cubs with a 4.95 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP … at Wrigley Field, 1-0 in one start with a 5.14 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP (four runs on five hits with two walks and five strikeouts in seven innings). Galarraga and the Diamondbacks beat Ryan Dempster and Quade’s Cubs 6-4 on April 6, 2011.
Cubs Career Numbers against Armando Galarraga
- Darwin Barney – 0-for-4
- Starlin Castro – 1-for-6
- David DeJesus – 2-for-12 with a triple and four walks
- Alfonso Soriano – 5-for-9 with a double and three home runs
- Luis Valbuena – 3-for-10 with two doubles
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …
Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO
Updated 3:33pm CDT – Under the new CBA, teams can add a pitcher to their active roster for a doubleheader. The Cubs and Reds play a day-night doubleheader Saturday in Cincinnati and Brooks Raley is expected to start one of those games. The 10-day rule does not apply on the days a team has a doubleheader. Raley will be sent back down to Iowa after Saturday’s doubleheader. Raley can then be recalled to make his next scheduled start which would not be until August 24 against the Rockies.