Game One Hundred Sixteen: Cubs (45-70) vs. Astros (39-79)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187/914
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Justin Germano (1-2, 4.26/1.22) vs. Bud Norris (5-9, 4.93/1.41)
The Cubs’ seven-game homestand comes to an end this afternoon with the series finale against the Astros. The Cubs are 2-4 in the first six but still have a chance to win a series with a victory this afternoon.
The pitching staff has done their job, for the most part, but the offense has been hit or miss since the trade deadline. In the two wins on the homestand, the Cubs have scored 12 runs but only 11 runs in the four losses … and eight of those were scored in Friday’s adventure with the Reds.
The Cubs enter play today 2-12 in their last 14 games.
Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson should be in the starting lineup again this afternoon. Right handers (.255/.309/.409) and lefties (.262/.359/.337) hit about the same against Bud Norris which should keep both of the Cubs’ rookies in the lineup. Steve Clevenger should be behind the plate with a day game following a night game, plus Clevenger took Norris deep the last time Norris started a game at Wrigley.
In other news … Darwin Barney ran his errorless games streak to 101 games and is 12 shy of David Eckstein’s single-season NL record for second basemen. Eckstein went 113 straight without being charged with an error in 2010.
Albert Almora received a promotion Tuesday and is expected to make his Boise Hawks’ debut today.
The Cubs all but admitted Matt Garza will not pitch again this season. During an interview on WGN Radio, Dale Sveum said it is possible that Garza could pitch against this year but he would be surprised if he does. Garza is on the 15-day DL with a stress reaction in his right elbow, the same injury that has sidelined Blake Parker since June 6. Parker is currently on a rehab assignment with the Iowa Cubs.
This afternoon all starts with Justin Germano … Justin Germano started the wind game last Friday against the Reds and once again he pitched better than his final line indicates. The Cubs’ defense, along with the conditions at the old ballyard, was horrible and prolonged innings for a very good Reds’ offense. Germano was tagged for six runs, four earned, on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.
Germano has kept his new team in each of his three starts and is 1-1 in three games, two starts, at Wrigley this year with a 3.31 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP.
Justin Germano will face the Astros for the first time this season and has not beaten Houston in two tries in his career (0-2 with a 12.54 and a 2.14 WHIP). Last time Germano faced Houston was on April 21, 2008. Germano lasted just 3 1/3 innings and allowed 10 runs, all earned, on 10 hits with three walks and a strikeout in 3 1/3 innings.
Chris Snyder (2-for-5 with a walk) is the only player on the Astros’ active roster that has faced Justin Germano.
Bud Norris has not won a game since he beat the Cubs on May 21 and not only is Norris winless in his last 12 starts but the Astros are just 1-11 in those games. Norris has kept his team in just about every game. Eight of Norris’ last 12 outings have been quality starts.
Norris allowed three runs, two earned, on eight hits over seven innings in his last start. Norris did not walk a batter and struck out seven in Houston’s 4-3 victory over the Brewers.
Bud Norris has really struggled outside of Houston (2-8 in 13 starts with a 7.08 ERA and a 1.69 WHIP) and will face the Cubs for the third time this season.
Norris has both dominated and struggled against the Cubs this year. Norris pitched seven innings of shutout ball against the Cubs in Houston back on May 21. The Cubs managed just five hits and three walks while Norris struck out eight … then lost to the Cubs at Wrigley on June 29. The Cubs scored four runs on seven hits in six innings and three different players hit home runs. Luis Valbuena, Steve Clevenger and Alfonso Soriano took Norris deep in the Cubs 4-0 win.
Bud Norris is 3-3 in seven career appearances, six starts, against the Cubs with a 2.52 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP … at Wrigley Field, 0-2 in three games, two starts with a 3.52 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Bud Norris
- Darwin Barney – 1-for-11
- Adrian Cardenas – 1-for-3 with a double
- Welington Castillo – 1-for-3 with a double
- Starlin Castro – 3-for-14
- Steve Clevenger – 1-for-3 with a home run
- David DeJesus – 2-for-6 with a walk
- Bryan LaHair – 2-for-6
- Anthony Rizzo – 0-for-2 with a walk
- Alfonso Soriano – 5-for-13 with a double, two home runs and two walks
- Luis Valbuena – 1-for-2 with a home run
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