Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Astros – 06/21/13

Game Seventy-Two: Cubs (29-42) vs. Astros (28-46)

  • Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
  • Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channels 183/844
  • Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Matt Garza (1-1, 4.98/1.22) vs. Dallas Keuchel (4-3, 4.23/1.45)

Weather permitting … The Cubs open a three-game series against their old division rivals the Houston Astros this afternoon. After a late night in St. Louis, the Cubs will play and complete two games within 24 hours thanks to the schedule makers and will need a solid outing from Matt Garza to avoid hitting a new low mark on the season. After this weekend’s games, the Cubs begin a nine-game road trip with stops in Milwaukee, Seattle and Oakland.

The Cubs are 6-2 in their first eight Interleague games this season which bodes well for this series but the Astros are playing very good baseball right now … and most of that has to do with their pitching staff. The Astros are coming off a walk-off win against the Brewers and are 6-4 in their last ten games. While the Cubs are 6-11 this month, Bo Porter has the Astros playing .500 ball in June (9-9).

The offense will not catch a break over the next three days. After today’s matchup of Matt Garza and lefty Dallas Keuchel, Travis Wood is scheduled to face Bud Norris on Saturday afternoon. Jeff Samardzija will square off against Jordan Lyles in the finale on Sunday.

The Cubs won eight of the 15 games against the Astros last year and this weekend is the only time this season the two teams will square off. For the first time since 1962, the Cubs will not travel to Houston to play a regular season ballgame.

The Cubs have quit hitting, especially Alfonso Soriano, Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo. Until those three start producing the results will be similar to the four-game series in St. Louis. Look for Dale Sveum to run out his right-handed lineup today.

If the Cubs take Houston lightly they will be swept by their old division rivals this weekend. The Astros are pitching and playing with a lot of confidence … and from a far they seem to be playing better than the Cubs right now.

And the Cubs’ shortest homestand of the year starts with Matt Garza

Matt Garza tossed seven innings of shutout ball the last time he took the hill five days ago. While Garza was not as good as his line, he still threw zeros on the board over seven innings while allowing just three hits with two walks and five strikeouts in New York. Garza received a no decision after he was Marmol’d for about the sixth time since he’s been in a Cubs’ uniform. Garza did struggle with his command but worked around a rather weak Mets’ lineup and did his job. Garza will face a similar lineup this afternoon but one that has been producing of late.

Matt Garza likes pitching in his home park but did not fare too well the last time he was on the Wrigley mound. Garza is 1-1 in two home starts this season with a 8.25 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP and for his career, Garza is 10-7 in 26 starts at Wrigley with a 2.77 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.

Matt Garza makes his seventh career start against the Astros this afternoon. Garza is 1-3 in the first six with a 4.46 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP.

Astros Career Numbers against Matt Garza

  • Jose Altuve – 0-for-5
  • Jason Castro – 1-for-3 with a home run
  • Ronny Cedeno – 1-for-6
  • Carlos Corporan – 1-for-3
  • Joe Inglett – 3-for-20
  • J.D. Martinez – 3-for-7 with a walk
  • Jimmy Parades – 0-for-4

Lefty Dallas Keuchel is in the middle of an excellent stretch of baseball. Keuchel has not allowed more than two earned runs in a single start since he faced Oakland on May 26. Keuchel is 2-1 in his last three starts with a 1.96 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP and he is coming off a win over the White Sox.

Keuchel held the Southsiders to two runs on four hits with two walks and four strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. Keuchel has been very good outside of Houston this season (1-1 in five games, three starts, with a 2.66 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP) and will be making his second career start against the Cubs this afternoon.

The Cubs managed only one run on six hits over four innings last September 10 against Keuchel in Chicago. Keuchel walked two and struck out one while the Cubs beat the Astros 4-1.

Cubs Career Numbers against Dallas Keuchel

  • Darwin Barney – 1-for-2
  • Welington Castillo – 1-for-1
  • Starlin Castro – 0-for-2
  • Cody Ransom – 0-for-3
  • Anthony Rizzo – 0-for-2
  • Dave Sappelt – 1-for-2 with a double
  • Alfonso Soriano – 0-for-1 with a walk

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver