Spring Training Game Thirty-Seven: Cubs (16-18-1) vs. Astros (14-16)
- Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
- Coverage – TV: MLB.TV – Radio: Cubs.com
- Location – Minute Maid Park, Houston
Edwin Jackson (1-2, 4.05/1.15) vs. Alex White (1-1, 6.86/2.03)
Countdown to Opening Day in Pittsburgh: 3 Days
Only two practice games and a day off on Sunday before the Cubs open the 2013 season in Pittsburgh on Monday. After winning four straight in the Cactus League, the Cubs are winless in their last four games (0-3-1) and are looking to end the spring on a positive note.
The Cubs will square off against their former long-time division rivals, the Houston Astros, for the next two days. The Cubs and Astros ended last season’s 100-loss campaigns against one another at Wrigley Field. The Cubs won game No. 162 and finished the season series against the ‘Stros with a 8-7 record in 15 games. While both teams are building for the future, the Astros have a tall task ahead of them now they reside in the AL West.
Bo Porter is now calling the shots for the Astros after being hired in the off-season. Houston’s front office made a bold, but very smart move, when they announced on Thursday they would be using piggyback pitchers throughout their system. Piggyback pitchers are pretty common in the lower levels of the minor leagues but historically have not been used that often in Double-A and Triple-A.
This is the Cubs only trip to Houston this season. The Astros play three at Wrigley Field in June (June 21 – June 23).
Starlin Castro is expected to be back with the team tonight after missing the last two days. Castro left the team to be with his girlfriend for the birth of their child.
Travis Wood is scheduled to face Brad Peacock in game two against the Astros on Saturday afternoon.
Tonight’s exhibition all starts with Edwin Jackson …
Edwin Jackson is coming off a rough outing against an Angels’ split squad. Jackson picked up where he left off against the Padres and made quick work of the Angels’ travel team over the first two innings. Jackson started elevating his fastball in the third inning and the Angels took advantage. Jackson pitched into the sixth inning, as expected, and gave up five runs on eight hits with no walks and two strikeouts.
Jackson has shown this spring how good he can be, but he has also shown the inconsistency that has labeled his career. Jackson makes his sixth spring start tonight. In the first five outings (20 innings), Jackson allowed nine runs on 18 hits with five walks and eight strikeouts.
Alex White was told on Thursday that he will not be part of the Astros’ rotation at the beginning of the season. Bo Porter will use White as the long-man out of the pen. Houston acquired White from the Rockies in the off-season, along with Alex Gillingham, for Wilton Lopez and a PTBNL or cash.
Alex White had a rough time of it in the Grapefruit League. White made six appearances, five starts, and gave up 16 runs, 15 earned, on 33 hits with seven walks and 10 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …