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Chicago Cubs vs. Houston Astros preview



Chicago Cubs hats & merchandise Chris Volstad would like to have runs support from his teammates as they did to Jeff Samardzijia Monday night.

The right-hander (0-8, 6.94), in his second stints with the Cubs this year, is still looking for his first win in 2012. Since his promotion from Triple-AAA Iowa on August 4, he pitched two quality starts but Chicago failed to tally runs to back him up.

Tonight, it will be his 12th start of the season as the Cubs (45-69) play their second game of the three-game home series against the Houston Astros (38-79).

Having yet faced the Astros this season, Volstad’s record is perfect in his career against them going 3-0 with a 4.40 ERA in five starts. All those numbers were made when he was with the Florida Marlins.

In the start against the Los Angeles Dodgers on August 8, he was able to hold them off allowing two mere runs in seven innings but the Cubs offense only backed him up with one run in a 3-1 defeat. He gave up three runs in six innings in his last start versus the Cincinnati Reds but received a no-decision in the Cubs’ 5-3 win.

Last night’s 7-1 victory over the Houston Astros was only the Cubs’ second win in their previous 13 matches. On the plus side, they were at least to producing runs. Before last night’s game, Chicago had only scored 31 runs (an average of 2.81 per game) in 11 games against 55 runs allowed (five per game) in the month of August.

Both Darwin Barney and Alfonso Soriano each hit a two-run home run off Armando Galarraga. Anthony Rizzo got four hits in five at-bats and also scored on Soriano’s dinger. Samardzijia was credited with the win yielding one run, a solo homer to pinch-hitter Brandon Barnes, in seven innings and striking out 11, tying his career high of strikeouts.

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The Houston Astros, who earned only their first series victory during last weekend since the end of June, will rely on starter Lucas Harrell to pitch well to tie up this series.

The right-hander (9-8, 3.97) is the only guy in the Astros rotation with an over .500 winning record. Tonight will be his first career start against the Cubs. He has seen them only in two relief appearances of 1 2/3 innings pitched. His last start was a loss to the Washington Nationals giving up two runs in five innings.

The Houston Astros were limited to four hits last night; Brett Wallance and Steve Pearce, batting third and fourth in the line-up respectively, combined a 0-for-6 performance and were struck out three times. Catcher Jason Castro, coming off the 15-day disabled list Monday, was fanned three times as well.



By: Patrick Au Yeung Chicago Cubs Correspondent
Twitter - @Cubs_sportsdesk