Chicago Cubs vs. Houston Astros preview
Game time: 2 : 20 pm EDT
TV: WGN , FSH
Radio: WGN 720 (ChC), KTRH 740, KLAT 1010 (HOU)
The end of a disappointing season is right at the corner for the Chicago Cubs (60-101). They will try one last time to finish the season with a high note while facing the Houston Astros (55-106) Wednesday matinee at Wrigley Field to wrap up the forgettable year.
It has been quite a painful first year at the first phase of the rebuilding process. Key players including Ryan Dempster, Paul Maholm, Geovany Soto, and Reed Johnson were all traded out during the Trade Deadline for return of some prospects who are not year ready for the major league.
Chicago has a current two-game skid. The Northsiders lost their 100th game on Monday and are assured to end the year with the second worst record in the major league.
The Cubs have not yet scored a run in this month as the opposing Astros pitching staff has completely shut them down and allowed six mere hits in total of the first two games.
In the 3-0 defeat on Tuesday night, Chicago has its runners in scoring positions as the batters could not provide key hits when needed the most.
The best chance of scoring came in the fourth inning in which with one out, Alfonso Soriano singled and Starlin Castro -- going 2-for-4 Tuesday – followed with a double but Luis Valbuena and Welington Castillo were struck out to end the threat.
Starter Christ Volstad allowed a solo home run to Jason Castro, the game-winning run, in the second inning. The Astros doubled the lead in the same frame when Justin Maxwell reached second on Starlin Castro ’s defensive error and scored on Tyler Greene ’s two-out single.
The Cubs will back Travis Wood (6-13, 4.39) Wednesday as Wood is in search for his seventh win of the year which will be his personal high.
The southpaw has two losses in his last three outings which snapped two consecutive wins in mid-September. His latest defeat came last Sunday when he surrendered five runs on five hits in five innings to the Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
He is 3-2 with a 1.95 ERA in eight career starts against Houston.
The season finale will have a historic meaning for the visitors. It will be the last time the Astros play as a National League team since the existence of franchise in 1962, named the Houston Colt .45s. They will integrate into the AL West Division starting next year.
The oppositions have won in three straight games thanks to the incredible performance by their pitching staff who has allowed nil runs in 27 consecutive innings since last Sunday in Milwaukee.
Wednesday ’s starter Edgar Gonzalez (3-1, 4.15) will be relied on to continue the streak. The right-hander is a September call-up since signing with the Astros as a free-agent on August 23.
Spending most of his season in Triple-A, the 29-year-old was tagged for the win last Sunday against the Brewers although having allowed three runs on four hits through 5 2/3 innings.
Gonazlez is 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA in one career start and a relief appearance facing the Cubs.
Patrick Au Yeung