|HOUSTON ( GONZALEZ )|
CHICAGO CUBS ( WOOD )
|955||HOUSTON||+115||Ov 8.5,-110||+110||Ov 8.5,+100|
|956||CHICAGO CUBS||-125||Un 8.5,-110||-120||Un 8.5,-120|
|vs Left-handed Starters||15-26||-5.6||19-21||3.5||0.226||0.290||4.8||0.256||0.325|
|Past 7 Games||5-2||+6.6||2-5||3.9||0.232||0.271||2.7||0.204||0.257|
|vs Right-handed Starters||42-75||-22.1||55-58||3.8||0.239||0.298||4.7||0.257||0.325|
|Past 7 Games||1-6||-4.6||3-4||2.4||0.200||0.277||5.3||0.291||0.350|
|9/19/2012||HARRELL(R)||@ ST LOUIS||LYNN(R)||0-5||L||205||7.5 un||U||5||8||1||8||5||1|
|9/20/2012||NORRIS(R)||@ ST LOUIS||GARCIA(L)||4-5||L||210||8 ov||O||10||11||0||9||8||1|
|9/24/2012||ABAD(L)||ST LOUIS||LYNN(R)||1-6||L||+190||8 ov||U||6||7||3||9||7||0|
|9/25/2012||HARRELL(R)||ST LOUIS||GARCIA(L)||0-4||L||+135||8 un||U||7||5||0||9||10||1|
|9/26/2012||NORRIS(R)||ST LOUIS||CARPENTER(R)||2-0||W||+170||8 ov||U||5||4||1||3||4||1|
|9/28/2012||GONZALEZ(R)||@ MILWAUKEE||GALLARDO(R)||7-6||W||245||8 un||O||11||6||1||8||4||2|
|9/29/2012||KEUCHEL(L)||@ MILWAUKEE||ESTRADA(R)||5-9||L||240||9 ev||O||9||3||1||15||8||0|
|9/30/2012||LYLES(R)||@ MILWAUKEE||FIERS(R)||7-0||W||225||8.5 ev||U||9||7||1||4||3||1|
|10/1/2012||HARRELL(R)||@ CHICAGO CUBS||BERKEN(R)||3-0||W||-105||7.5 ov||U||7||4||0||2||3||0|
|10/2/2012||NORRIS(R)||@ CHICAGO CUBS||VOLSTAD(R)||3-0||W||120||7.5 un||U||5||4||1||4||7||2|
|10/3/2012||GONZALEZ(R)||@ CHICAGO CUBS||WOOD(L)|| |
|9/21/2012||VOLSTAD(R)||ST LOUIS||CARPENTER(R)||5-4||W||+160||9.5 un||U||13||9||0||8||11||0|
|9/22/2012||WOOD(L)||ST LOUIS||WAINWRIGHT(R)||4-5||L||+150||8 ev||O||8||6||1||10||13||0|
|9/23/2012||GERMANO(R)||ST LOUIS||LOHSE(R)||3-6||L||+165||7.5 ev||O||7||6||0||12||9||2|
|9/25/2012||RUSIN(L)||@ COLORADO||DE LA ROSA(L)||5-10||L||135||10.5 un||O||7||5||0||15||5||1|
|9/26/2012||BERKEN(R)||@ COLORADO||POMERANZ(L)||0-6||L||130||10.5 ev||U||5||8||1||10||7||1|
|9/27/2012||VOLSTAD(R)||@ COLORADO||CHACIN(R)||5-7||L||140||10.5 un||O||13||11||0||12||2||0|
|9/28/2012||WOOD(L)||@ ARIZONA||KENNEDY(R)||3-8||L||160||9 un||O||6||9||1||10||6||0|
|9/29/2012||GERMANO(R)||@ ARIZONA||CAHILL(R)||2-8||L||182||9.5 un||O||4||4||0||15||11||0|
|9/30/2012||RUSIN(L)||@ ARIZONA||COLLMENTER(R)||7-2||W||175||9.5 ov||U||11||5||2||6||7||3|
|HOUSTON: HITTING: This season will mark Houston's final year in the National League. Look away, children, as the Astros launch into what is sure to be the crappiest victory lap in baseball history. Tiny 2B JOSE ALTUVE's jump from High-A to MLB starter says more about Houston's pitiful state than anything. He belongs in Triple-A. CHRIS JOHNSON won the starting 3B job as JIMMY PAREDES was optioned to Triple-A. Johnson was thought to have 25-homer power, but last year he slugged just .378. 1B CARLOS LEE is in the twilight of a very productive career. Backup 1B BRETT WALLACE seems to be in the twilight of an unproductive one. OF BRIAN BOGUSEVIC has a low ceiling. But he's one of only a few recent draft picks who will even contribute. OF J.D. MARTINEZ doesn't blame you if you haven't heard of him, but he's the team's best player who hits third in the lineup. SS JED LOWRIE was a nice little pickup for a mid-tier closer. But his platoon split is intense. C JASON CASTRO will probably play ahead of CHRIS SNYDER. OF JORDAN SCHAFER has yet to put things together; but he'll be starting in center on Opening Day. Fourth OF J.B. SHUCK is only 24, but doesn't have a whole lot of upside. |
STARTING PITCHING: WANDY RODRIGUEZ has been a durable, above-average starter for five years, yet every season his real-world team limits his wins. He'll be traded at some point this year. Don't shortchange BUD NORRIS. He's an underrated source of strikeouts, and has improved his command. J.A. HAPP really needs to cut down on his walk total. JORDAN LYLES couldn't legally drink until the second-to-last week of the season. He's in the big leagues way too soon. He's yet another young Astro who isn't terrible, but won't ever set the world on fire. KYLE WEILAND came from Boston with Jed Lowrie and should earn the final spot in the rotation. Texas-bred fireballer JARRED COSART, 21, is a legitimately exciting (but risky) prospect who Houston will probably rush up to the majors at some point this year.
RELIEF PITCHING: BRETT MYERS flummoxed the Astros' front office with a stinker of a season. He's probably closer to that pitcher than to the one who posted a career-best 3.14 ERA in 2010 at age 29, but he'll move the bullpen this year to get the rare opportunities to close out a game when this awful team is actually leading. WILTON LOPEZ was good in 2011, but was much better the previous season, when he may have been the most underrated reliever in the National League. Houston will go with him in the ninth if they want Myers to return to the rotation. BRANDON LYON has seen better days. He bombed early, then was shut down for good with a bicep injury. He intimidates nobody now.
|CHICAGO CUBS: HITTING: 'Under New Management' is the motto in Wrigleyville, where Epstein, Hoyer, Sveum and Co. aim to turn SS STARLIN CASTRO and a bunch of straw into gold. OF DAVID DeJESUS was an underrated first pick-up. But OFs ALFONSO SORIANO and MARLON BYRD are overpaid and over the hill. C GEOVANY SOTO has lost his mojo. New 3B IAN STEWART has a lousy career OPS of .737 away from Coors Field. 1B BRYAN LaHAIR is tagged as part of a 'youth movement,' but he's almost 30. The other youths'2B DARWIN BARNEY, IF JEFF BAKER, and IF BLAKE DEWITT 'are interchangeable guys with low ceilings. Fourth OF TONY CAMPANA is fast but one-dimensional. And minor-league reinforcements are scarce. OF BRETT JACKSON is solid, but blocked in the lineup. And former uber-prospect 3B JOSH VITTERS has done nothing to justify his third-overall draft status. This rebuilding process will take time. Meanwhile, somewhere in the Chicago suburbs, Jim Hendry quietly sobs into a pile of Cubs-themed stuffed animals. |
STARTING PITCHING: RYAN DEMPSTER should bounce back from an unlucky year in which there was nearly a full-run difference between his ERA and his FIP. He's no ace in good times, but he's an underrated and dependable source of innings and strikeouts. MATT GARZA didn't disappoint in his debut season on the North Side, but he was an odd acquisition to begin with: the Cubs dealt top prospects from a thin system when all signs pointed to a belly-flop of a season. He's already trade bait again. JEFF SAMARDZIJA is moving to the rotation after a strong year in the bullpen (2.97 ERA, 87 K in 88 IP), but he needs to cut down on his walks (5.1 per 9 IP). What killed TRAVIS WOOD in 2011 was uncharacteristic wildness. His walk total spiked by over 50 percent from 2010. He's better than this, though it's hard to say how much. It could be that a 40-inning jump from 2010 to 2011 aided his freefall. Subpar newcomers PAUL MAHOLM and CHRIS VOLSTAD will also compete for rotation spots. The lefty Maholm is coming off his best season in Pittsburgh (3.66 ERA, 1.29 WHIP), but was awful after the All-Star break (0-5, 5.75 ERA, .355 Opp. BA). The 6-foot-8 Volstad was 5-13 with a 4.89 ERA for the Marlins last year, but still has time to figure things out at age 25.
RELIEF PITCHING: Because of his contract and the head-scratching faith in the 'closer mentality' that still pervades even the most enlightened front offices, CARLOS MARMOL will enter the 2012 campaign with a near-ironclad grip on ninth-inning duties for the Cubs. Trading away Sean Marshall, arguably Chicago's best reliever last season, is yet another vote of confidence for Marmol. His lack of command leads to more hittable pitches (along with tons of walks), though his ceiling for strikeouts and saves is sky-high. KERRY WOOD will be the main set-up man again after a triumphant return to Chicago last season (3.35 ERA, 57 K in 51 IP).
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PA SPORTSTICKER NL PREVIEW (HOUSTON-CHICAGO CUBS) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |
*Astros-Cubs Preview* =====================
By DAN PIERINGER STATS Writer
Houston (54-106) at Chicago (60-100), 2:20 p.m. EDT
The Houston Astros franchise hopes its 51-year tenure in the National League can end the same way it began \2013 with a three-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs.
In their final game before moving to the AL next year, the Astros look to end their season on a high note at Wrigley Field and again avoid a franchise-record 107th defeat Wednesday against the majors' only other 100-loss team.
Houston (55-106) will finish with the worst record in the major leagues for the second consecutive season. But the Astros have played better down the stretch, winning five of their last six and 15 of 29 since the start of September. Now they can avoid a franchise-worst finish, set last year at 56-106, by completing a sweep of Chicago.
A win Wednesday would be a nice bookend for the franchise, which opened its inaugural 1962 season with three straight wins over the Cubs, when the Astros were known as the Colt .45s.
This year's Cubs (60-101) are likely candidates to get swept, having lost 100 games for the first time since its franchise worst-tying 59-103 finish in 1966.
The Astros beat the Cubs 3-0 on Tuesday night in the first meeting between two 100-loss teams since Sept. 30, 1962.
Overall, Houston has put together three consecutive shutouts for the first time since Sept. 23-25, 1986. The franchise has never posted four straight.
"The team won three in a row. That's the way we're looking at it," Tuesday's starter Bud Norris said. "We're trying to end this thing strong and play it all the way through."
Chicago, which has dropped 13 of 15, has managed only six hits in the first two games of this series.
"Not a lot of quality at-bats again, left some guys on, striking out with guys in scoring position again," manager Dale Sveum said. "It's kind of typifying the whole season, these last two nights swinging the bats."
The Cubs hope to muster more offense in support of Wednesday's starter Travis Wood (6-13, 4.39 ERA), who went 2-2 with a 3.34 ERA in six September starts after going 0-8 in his first nine games after the All-Star break. The left-hander gave up five runs in five innings of an 8-3 loss at Arizona on Friday.
He is 3-2 with a 1.95 ERA in eight career starts against the Astros, including 2-1 with a 1.29 ERA this season.
Edgar Gonzalez (3-1, 4.15) will make his sixth start for Houston. The right-hander is 3-0 with a 2.81 ERA in three road starts after allowing three runs and four hits in 5 2-3 innings of a 7-6 victory at Milwaukee on Friday.
Gonzalez made his only previous start against the Cubs in 2008 while with Arizona, holding them to two runs and five hits in five innings and failing to get a decision.
Wednesday's finale will be Tony DeFrancesco's last game as Houston's interim manager. The Astros have hired Washington Nationals third-base coach Bo Porter to take over when the team moves to the AL.
"If everybody signs the lineup card, it will be a special memory," said DeFrancesco, who hopes to remain with the team in some capacity. "I'll get it framed and move on to a new chapter in my life. This has been a very special chapter."
|Last Updated: 9/30/2014 8:56:20 AM EST|