The Cubs Look To Take Two Of Three From the Astros

6-23-13 1


Fans begin to file into the Wrigley Field bleachers.


CHICAGO- Today the Cubs have a chance to do something they haven’t done in over a week, take two games in a three game series. Today the North Siders wrap up their weekend set with the Houston Astros.

The Cubs won 3-1 on Friday behind stellar pitching from Matt Garza and just enough hitting from Anthony Rizzo, Darwin Barney and Scott Hairston. Yesterday, the Cubs blew a 3-0 lead late in the game and lost 4-3.

Today they have a chance to take the rubber match before hitting the road for the next nine games. Jeff Samardzija (4-7, 3.35 ERA) takes the mound for the Cubs against Houston’s Jordan Lyles (4-1, 3.22 ERA).

The Cubs have been getting decent pitching over the last few days {with the exception of yesterday} but hitting continues to be the achilles heel for this Cubs team. Especially in the cases of Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro and Alfonso Soriano.

Rizzo hit his first home run since May 18th on Friday, but he went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts and two walks on Saturday. He is only batting .245. Castro and Soriano have gone for a combined 4-for-17 in this series, and both are batting .231 and .245 respectively.

Cody Ransom (.272), Wellington Castillo (.275), Ryan Sweeney (.292) and Nate Schierholtz (.289) currently lead the Cubs in batting average. Three of these men will be starting lineup today.

If the Cubs are to climb out of the cellar they will need production from their star players. Yesterday loss put the Cubs in last place in the NL Central. They are now a full game behind Milwaukee and 16 games behind St. Louis.

In regards to the struggles of his top players, Cubs manager Dale Sveum spoke during batting practice and said “They come out here everyday and do the best they can. The bottom line is that they can’t do anything if they don’t get on base.”

When specifically speaking about Starlin Castro Sveum said “So far he’s handled it pretty well, I don’t see him going off the deep end. These are things that every player goes through, it’s part of playing in the major leagues. Guys are gonna have their ups and downs.”

If the Cubs are going to make any kind of headway before the All-Star break then they need their offense to start having some ups and quickly. Especially with rumors of player trades and sending poor performing players down to them minor leagues going around.

Here are the starting lineups for today:

Houston Astros:

1. #44 Justin Maxwell CF

2. #27 Jose Altuve 2B

3. #15 Jason Castro C

4. # 14 J.D. Martinez LF

5. #23 Chris Carter 1B

6. #59 Marc Krauss RF

7. #30 Matt Dominguez 3B

8. #9 Marwin Gonzalez SS

9. #18 Jordan Lyles RHP

Chicago Cubs:

1. #24 Luis Valbuena 3B

2. #13 Starlin Castro SS

3. #19 Nate Schierholtz RF

4. #12 Alfonso Soriano LF

5. #44 Anthony Rizzo 1B

6. #6 Ryan Sweeney CF

7. #53 Welington Castillo C

8. #15 Darwin Barney 2B

9. #29 Jeff Samardzija RHP

You can follow me on Twitter for game updates @GabeSalgado82


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