Game One Hundred Sixty: Cubs (60-99) vs. Astros (53-106)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 186/914
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Jason Berken (0-2, 6.00/2.07) vs. Lucas Harrell (10-11, 3.88/1.39)
This is it, the final series of the year for the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs begin the three-game series with the Astros with one goal in mind … avoid losing 100 games this season.
The Cubs and Astros square off for the last time as division rivals. Houston will make the trip to Wrigley Field next season for three games with new manager Bo Porter calling the shots. The Cubs have won seven of the first 12 (7-5) with the Astros this season and the next three games should be very challenging for the Chicago Cubs.
After tonight’s match-up of Jason Berken and Lucas Harrell, Chris Volstad is scheduled to face Bud Norris on Tuesday night with Travis Wood and Edgar Gonzalez squaring off in game 162 on Wednesday afternoon. Many think the next three games will be easy ones for the Cubs, after all, it is just the Astros … but the Cubs will face three very good young starters and two of them have dominated the Cubs in the past. While both organizations are building for the future, the Astros have a better crop of young starters than the Cubs.
In other news … Dale Sveum and his coaching staff will conduct the exit meetings with the players on Tuesday morning. Sveum and his staff met with several of the veterans prior to Saturday night’s game then with the entire team. Tuesday’s individual meetings will focus on goals for each player during the off-season.
Matt Garza voiced his support of Dale Sveum and the coaching staff prior to Sunday’s game in Phoenix.
Starlin Castro has a shot at becoming the first shortstop in Cubs’ history to play in all 162 games. Ivan DeJesus holds the record for the most games played at short during a single season for the Cubs (160 in 1978 and 1979) and if Castro plays out the schedule he would be the first Cubs’ infielder to appear in all 162 games since Ron Santo in 1968.
Tonight all starts with Jason Berken … Jason Berken makes his fourth and final start of the season tonight. Like Justin Germano, Berken has been overmatched in his short time with the Cubs and he should be making his last appearance in a Cubs’ uniform. Berken has really struggled and if not for his start against the Reds (Louisville Bats) where Chris Speier gave the regulars the day off, his numbers would be a lot worse.
Berken lasted just four innings in his last start. The Rockies scored six runs on nine hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
Jason Berken has faced only two big league rosters in his three starts … his line in those two starts: 12 runs, eight earned, on 17 hits with three walks and four strikeouts in eight innings (9.00 ERA and a 2.50 WHIP).
Jason Berken makes his first career start and appearance against the Astros tonight. Jed Lowrie (0-for-3) and Fernando Martinez (0-for-3) are the only two players on Houston’s active roster that have faced Berken in a big league ball game.
Lucas Harrell has put together a good season for a bad team. Harrell has good peripheral numbers. He has allowed less hits (183) than innings pitched (187 2/3) and has given up only 13 homers in 31 starts. Harrell has a bright future, if he can stay healthy.
Lucas Harrell is coming off a loss to the Cardinals. Harrell allowed two runs on seven hits with six walks and a strikeout in five innings … the six walks marked a season-high. Harrell is 0-2 in his last five starts with a 3.68 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP.
After posting a 7-6 record in his first 17 starts with a 4.56 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP, Harrell is 3-5 in his last 14 with a 3.07 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP.
Lucas Harrell has already dominated and beaten the Cubs this season. Harrell tossed eight innings of one-run ball back on August 14 at Wrigley. The Astros pummeled the Cubs 10-1 and Harrell surrendered one run on six hits with two walks and seven strikeouts. For his career, Harrell is 1-0 in three games, one start, against the Cubs with a 0.93 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Lucas Harrell
- Darwin Barney – 0-for-3
- Tony Campana – 1-for-1
- Adrian Cardenas – 0-for-1
- Welington Castillo – 0-for-2 with a walk
- Starlin Castro – 1-for-3
- David DeJesus – 1-for-2 with a double and a walk
- Brett Jackson – 1-for-3
- Bryan LaHair – 0-for-1
- Joe Mather – 0-for-1
- Anthony Rizzo – 1-for-4
- Dave Sappelt – one walk
- Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-3
- Luis Valbuena – 0-for-1
- Josh Vitters – 0-for-4
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …
Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO