Game Ten: Cubs (4-5) vs. Astros (1-8)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet, MLB Network – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Carlos Silva (0-0, 1.50/0.50) vs. Felipe Paulino (0-0, 7.20/1.60)
After winning 11 of the 17 games against the Houston Astros, the Cubs will face a very frustrated Astros team for the first time this season. Michael Bourn and Jeff Keppinger have hit the ball well but they are clearly missing Lance Berkman. The Astros won their first game of the season, also the first under new manager Brad Mills, on Thursday in St. Louis.
Carlos Lee is off to a slow start (.097/.125/.097/.222 with a walk and no extra base hits) but the Cub Killer always hits the cover off the ball against the Cubs … especially at Wrigley Field. And the same can be said about Hunter Pence (.103/.103/.207/.310).
The Cubs must take care of business and leave for New York on Sunday after winning their second straight series … and it will not be easy. Roy Oswalt faces Tom Gorzelanny on Saturday and Ryan Dempster opposes Wandy Rodriguez on Sunday afternoon.
In other news … Ted Lilly will make his next rehab start on Monday in Peoria for the Chiefs. If all goes as planned, Lilly could return against the Brewers next weekend in Milwaukee.
Lou Piniella’s crew will attempt to get back to the .500-mark today behind Carlos Silva. Can Carlos Silva put together another quality start for the Chicago Cubs? Silva is coming off a solid outing against the Reds but received a no decision after the bullpen melted down in the eighth inning … a grand slam in the bottom of the eight by Drew Stubbs. Silva did his job but left after one run on three hits in six innings with shoulder stiffness.
Silva said he was fine following the game then received a talk from Lou Piniella about getting on the right page. The Cubs need Silva to pick up where he left off against a team that is better than their record indicates.
When Ted Lilly returns from the DL next weekend, Silva or Tom Gorzelanny will be sent to the bullpen so Silva is pitching for a starting job.
Today will be Silva’s second career start against the Houston Astros. Silva is 1-0 in six games, one start, against the Astros with a 5.23 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP.
The last time Carlos Silva faced the Astros was in Houston on June 21, 2006. He received a no-decision and allowed three runs on five hits in six innings with a walk and five strikeouts.
Astros’ Career Numbers against Carlos Silva
- Geoff Blum – 2-for-9 with 2 walks
- Pedro Feliz – 2-for-4 with a double
- Carlos Lee – 8-for-27 with 2 doubles and a walk
- Jason Michaels – 2-for-10 with a double
Felipe Paulino is coming off a rough start against the Phillies last Saturday night. The Astros’ right-hander allowed four runs on four hits with four walks and four strikeouts in five innings.
Paulino showed flashes last season of being a solid big league pitcher but could not put together any consistency. He won the fifth spot in the Astros’ rotation out of Spring Training after posting a 3-11 record in 23 games, 17 starts, with a 6.27 ERA and a 1.67 WHIP.
The Cubs will face Paulino for the third time in his short career. Lou Piniella’s offense roughed him up pretty good in a relief appearance last May in Houston (four runs on five hits in 2/3 of an inning) but Paulino put together a good start against the Cubs in Chicago last September (two runs on four hits in six innings with two walks and seven strikeouts).
The Cubs must not help Felipe Paulino early in the game. Taking pitches and making him work will be the deciding factor on whether or not they win the first game of the series.
Cubs’ Career Numbers against Felipe Paulino
- Jeff Baker – 0-for-2
- Mike Fontenot – 0-for-2 with a walk
- Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-3 with a walk
- Koyie Hill – 0-for-2
- Derrek Lee – 1-for-2 with a home run and a walk
- Aramis Ramirez – 1-for-1
- Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-1 with a home run
- Geovany Soto – 0-for-1
- Ryan Theriot – 1-for-1 with a double
- Chad Tracy – 0-for-1
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …