Game Thirty-Five: Cubs (20-14) vs. Astros (16-18)
Game Time – 12:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast Sports Net – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Randy Wells (0-0, 0.00/1.40) vs. Roy Oswalt (1-2, 4.50/1.34)
With the rain out of the area, the Cubs and Astros will begin an abbreviated two-game series this afternoon. Friday’s rainout will be made up on Thursday, July 30 at 1:20pm C.T. Sean Marshall was scheduled to make today’s start but was skipped with the rainout and will be available out of the pen this weekend. Marshall will start game three on Thursday in St. Louis.
Randy Wells will make his first career start at Wrigley today against one of the best in Roy Oswalt. For the second start in a row, Wells will face a very potent offense that includes the biggest Cub Killer of them all, Carlos Lee…and he loves hitting at Wrigley.
The Astros bumped Brian Moehler to Sunday’s finale and the Cubs have decided to keep Rich Harden on regular rest.
Micah Hoffpauir and Bobby Scales were both in Friday’s lineup (in right and at second respectively). With Milton Bradley out, Piniella should keep both players in the starting lineup. Lefties hit nearly 80 points (.313) higher than righties (.235) off Oswalt.
The Cubs enter play today 20-14 after 34 games, a game better than a year ago (19-15 after 34 games), and are 4-1 in their first five against Houston this season (all at Minute Maid).
Quick note from the Farm… Jake Fox hit number 16 in Iowa’s loss but started and played the entire game at third base. Randy Wells impressed his manager in his first career start against the Brewers and earned another one today against the Astros. Lou Piniella said Wells figures into the big league club’s plans going forward either as a starter or a reliever once Carlos Zambrano returns. Today will be a big test for Wells in front of the home crowd and facing one of the game’s best in Roy Oswalt.
Wells could either replace Sean Marshall in the pen or replace Marshall in the starting rotation depending on what they decide to do with Neal Cotts. It appears David Patton’s time with the organization is just about over.
Randy Wells did his job against the Brewers. He kept his team and struggling offense in the game and did not allow a run despite pitching from the stretch for most of his outing. Wells showed the ability to get an out when he needed one and it will be interesting today to see how a big league club approaches their at bats now that they have film on him.
Today will be Wells’ first appearance against the Astros.
Roy Oswalt is having a slow start to the season for the second year in a row. Oswalt has allowed four earned runs in three of his last four starts but is coming off his first win of the year.
Oswalt beat the Padres in Houston. He allowed four runs on six hits in six innings with two walks and four strikeouts. The Astros out hit the Padres and three of the four runs Oswalt allowed came via the longball. Oswalt served up two, one was a two-run shot by Adrian Gonzalez.
The Cubs and Carlos Zambrano beat Roy O on Opening Day. The Cubs plated three runs on seven hits in seven innings (Oswalt has completed only seven innings in two of his eight starts) with a walk and two strikeouts…Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez both hit home runs.
Oswalt is 12-12 in 27 career games, 26 starts, against the Cubs with a 3.88 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP…at Wrigley, 6-5 in 13 games, 12 starts, with a 4.83 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP.
- Mike Fontenot – 4-for-11 with a double
- Ryan Freel – 7-for-29 with a double, a home run and 5 walks
- Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-9
- Koyie Hill – 1-for-2 with a walk
- Reed Johnson – 1-for-4
- Derrek Lee – 15-for-52 with 4 doubles, 3 home runs and 5 walks
- Aaron Miles – 3-for-17 with a double
- Alfonso Soriano – 8-for-36 with 3 home runs
- Geovany Soto – 3-for-9 with a triple
- Ryan Theriot – 3-for-10 with a walk
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….