Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Astros – 09/12/12

Game One Hundred Forty-Three: Cubs (55-87) vs. Astros (45-97)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet Plus – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 186/914
Location – Minute Maid Park, Houston

Travis Wood (5-11, 4.42/1.21) vs. Fernando Abad (0-3, 5.30/1.71)

The Cubs 10-game road trip and stretch of 20 games in a row comes to an end tonight with their last game of the season in Houston. The Cubs are 4-5 on the trip and 8-11 over the last 19 games.

Tonight will be the Cubs last game in Houston while the Astros are still part of the NL Central. The long-time division rivals close out the season with three at Wrigley (October 1-October 3). Next season’s schedule was released Wednesday and the Astros will play at Wrigley next season but Cubs will not play in Houston first time since 1962.

Brett Jackson and Anthony Rizzo are both expected to be held out of tonight’s finale. Jackson was expected back in the lineup yesterday but was still too sore to play after he collided with the wall in Pittsburgh on Friday night. With the lefty on the hill tonight for the Astros, the Cubs are hoping Brett Jackson is able to return for the opener against the Pirates on Friday afternoon. The Cubs are also hoping that Rizzo is able to return to the lineup for Friday’s opener with the Bucs.

With another southpaw going for the Astros, look for Dale Sveum to use a similar lineup tonight to the one he used in Monday’s opener … with one possible exception. With Rizzo likely out and the Cubs’ unwillingness to play Bryan LaHair against lefties, could Josh Vitters get the start at first base? Vitters has limited experience at first base (41 games) over the past two seasons.

Tonight it all starts with Travis Wood

Travis Wood is coming off a win and an excellent outing against the Pirates. Wood tossed six innings of shutout ball last Friday night and allowed just one hit while issuing three walks and striking out five. The only hit was a double off the bat of Pedro Alvarez in the fifth. Brett Jackson was able to get a glove on the ball at the wall … but could not haul it in. Wood could have gone back out for the seventh inning but after the Cubs put a three-spot on the board in the sixth and five more in the seventh there was no reason for him to go back out.

Travis Wood has pitched better than his record of late. Wood has five quality starts in his last 10 outings. After posting a 0-5 record in six starts in August with a 4.14 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP, Wood is 1-0 in his last two outings with a 1.54 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP.

Travis Wood has pitched better on the road (3-6 in 10 starts with a 3.92 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP) than he has at Wrigley (2-5 in 11 starts with a 4.86 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP) this season.

Tonight will be Travis Wood’s third start of the season against the Astros. Wood is 1-1 in the first two with a 1.35 ERA and a 0.53 WHIP. Wood beat Houston at Wrigley on July 1 with 7 2/3 innings of shutout ball. Wood owns a 2-2 record in seven career starts against the Astros with a 2.09 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP … at Minute Maid, 1-2 in four starts with a 2.96 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP.

Astros Career Numbers against Travis Wood

  • Jose Altuve – 2-for-8 with a home run
  • Brian Bogusevic – 0-for-3
  • Jason Castro – 0-for-3
  • Tyler Greene – 1-for-6 with a double
  • J.D. Martinez – 2-for-7 with a double
  • Justin Maxwell – 0-for-2 with a walk
  • Jimmy Paredes – 0-for-2
  • Chris Snyder – 2-for-7
  • Brett Wallace – 0-for-5 with a walk

Fernando Abad has pitched in 33 games for the Astros this season and 30 of those appearances have been made out of the pen. Houston is looking at him as a starter and he will make his fourth straight start tonight.

Abad has not completed five innings in any of his three starts and has been hit pretty hard in his last two outings. After allowing one run on four hits to the Mets in his first start of the season on August 25, Abad gave up six runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings to the Reds and five runs, four earned, on six hits to the Pirates his last time out.

As a starter this season, Fernando Abad is 0-3 in three outings with a 8.03 ERA and a 2.27 WHIP … 12 runs, 11 earned, on 19 hits with nine walks and six strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings.

Fernando Abad will make his first start against the Cubs tonight. Abad does not have a decision in 10 relief appearances and owns a 2.16 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP.

Cubs Career Numbers against Fernando Abad

  • Darwin Barney – 0-for-3
  • Tony Campana – 0-for-2
  • Starlin Castro – 1-for-2 with a walk
  • David DeJesus – 2-for-3
  • Anthony Rizzo – 0-for-1
  • Alfonso Soriano – 0-for-3
  • Luis Valbuena – 0-for-1

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

"Never let the fear of striking out get in your way of playing the game." – Babe Ruth

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  • Neil

    Anthony Rizzo (stiff neck, back) and Brett Jackson out of
    lineup. Jackson expected back Friday. Rizzo is listed as day to day.

  • Neil

    Tonight’s lineup:

    Mather – CF
    Barney – 2B
    Castro – SS
    Soriano – LF
    Castillo – C
    Vitters – 3B
    Sappelt – RF
    Recker – 1B
    Wood – P

  • Neil

    Hey, the Cubs scored a run … Castillo with a two-out RBI single

  • Neil

    Soriano with #29

    • Neil

      Another scary comebacker, Mickey Storey took that one on the side of his face. Good to see him walkoff the field.

  • Neil

    Fourth double in three games for Sappelt

  • Neil

    Soriano appeared safe

  • Cubtex

    Watched the Orioles beat the Rays on a walk off! What a game and team! It is no accident that they have this record in 1 run games. Dan Duquette turned the O’s around in how many years? A good gm and great manager and the O’s go from worst to first!

    • Aaron

      Well, it’s no secret the turnarounds that Showalter has orchestrated….not sure about Duquette…that’s a pretty bad example. It’s mostly luck for him, but Showalter has proven he’s a genius with turnarounds. He did it first with the Yankees, and turned around the fortunes of a franchise that had been spiraling out of control. He gets fired, then the very next year Torre wins it all piggybacking on the groundwork Showalter laid before. Then he takes over the D’Backs, and turns around their fortunes…gets fired, and Brenly does the same thing Torre did. Then he takes over the Rangers who were in the same position of the Yankees and D’Backs when he took over, and so far, that’s the only franchise he’s taken over that he couldn’t solve right away. If you look at his managerial record, usually the teams are bad in the first 2 years, then they get going….but now look at the Rangers. Was it all due to his work? Probably not, but it sure makes you think if he did it with the Yankees and D’Backs, that perhaps some of the success Ron Washington is experiencing could be related to Showalter in some way, however small it might be. Who really knows what it is, considering Showalter is seen as abrasive by many in baseball

    • John_CC

      They are a crazy team. I haven’t watched them, but the run differential is completely nuts. The AL East is gonna be a great race to the end. Lots of O’s v Rays v Yanks series in the next couple weeks. Should be fun to follow.

    • Tony_Hall

      Nothing short of amazing, how they did it ALL so fast….wait, you mean they have been rebuilding for awhile, and that it all just came together. Jones came over for Bedard and is just now putting it all together at age 27. Markakis is a solid OF, with good OBP, with below average power for a Rf. Wieters was a top pick, some buy low guys like Hardy, Davis, Reynolds, etc, who were not wanted by their old teams. A rotation with Chen leading the team in innings, as an amateur FA, Hunter a former 1st round pick of the Rangers coming over with Davis, Hammel a buy low pick-up, Arritea, Matusz, Tillman all coming up through their system, along with their closer Jim Johnson. This is a team that has been drafting early most years, and has some good young talent that has made it’s way through their system. I believe if you asked the Orioles fans, it hasn’t been quick at all. That Duquette came in and added buy low players and didn’t have a big FA signing, shows that once your system is producing good young players every year, you can be competitive. Plus they have more good young players ready to be added next year. Sounds like another wave of talent…

      • Cubtex

        So you are saying the O’s are implementing the same plan? And we are paying our GM how much to follow a simple blueprint? Chen was a great sign. He could be the difference maker down the stretch. How would he look on the Cubs?

        • Tony_Hall

          There is no one blueprint. Every situation is different. The Orioles had already gone through years of losing and having higher draft picks brought in, and selling high on players (Erik Bedard returned Adam Jones, George Sherrill and Chris Tillman)

          Chen was like a lot of the international FA’s a risk. He has been good this year, so was Dice K and others but many more fail just like guys in the draft.

          It just isn’t as easy to build a team that wins as you try to make it sound. Only 1 team wins each year and every decade only 10 teams can win, and usually it is less than 10. There are no quick fixes, that don’t hurt the organization long term, as we have first hand knowledge. We are watching a team rebuilt from the ground up, that is already able to see a framework of a young base to be built upon.

    • Scott

      There are 14 teams, including 2 in last place, that have a better run differential than Baltimore – usually a tremendous indicator of what a teams record would be. Only Cincinnati (+6) and Baltimore (+11!!!) are more than 3 games better than their expected W/L record. They also have by far the best winning percentage in baseball in one-run games. (The Cubs would be a 72-71 team with the same one-run winning percentage….). One-run games are based a lot on luck, not necessarily talent.
      If Baltimore can sustain success, maybe I will be a believer, but they seem to be running more on luck than anything so far this year.

  • Aaron

    LOL…the look on Travis Wood’s face said it all…like, “this douchebag is gonna blow my game”, and turns away….priceless

  • Neil

    Cubs beat the Astros 5-1 on Wednesday night – Travis Wood: 1R,4H,BB,6K,7.2IP;
    Alfonso Soriano: 3-for-4,HR,2B,2RBI,BB; Dave Sappelt: 3-for-3,2B,BB,R; Welington Castillo:
    1-for-5,RBI; Anthony Recker: RBI 2B

  • John_CC

    Wow Fonso! He hasn’t hit 30HR since his first year in Chicago and hasn’t driven in 100 runs since Texas!!

    Come back player of the year. Seriously.

  • Neil

    Soriano with an excellent play … doubles off Maxwell from first base with help from Barney

  • Aaron


    I feel like you need a buddy tonight…..Hello my friend!

    And thank you for keeping this site updated all the time…it’s much appreciated after a long day at work…even if this team is awful

  • Neil

    Hey, Aaron. Thanks man.

  • SuzyS

    Well said, Aaron.
    Neil, I still check in on a daily basis…even though I don’t comment as much as I once did….So while you might think your work is not appreciated much…it really is.
    To piggyback on Aaron’s sentiment…Thanks!!!

  • John_CC


  • Neil

    Thank you Suzy, I really appreciate it.