The two worst teams in the majors square off when the Houston Astros host the Chicago Cubs in a three-game series. Both enter the series on high notes – Houston took two of three from the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago pulled off a three-game road sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cubs are just 20-52 on the road, while Houston (44-96) needs to go 13-9 over its final 22 games to avoid matching last season’s franchise-worst loss total.
Astros rookie third baseman Matt Dominguez hit two three-run homers in the series against Cincinnati and is batting .350 after his first 13 major-league games. Houston acquired him in the deal in which Carlos Lee was sent to the Miami Marlins. Chicago’s Alfonso Soriano is seeking his first 100-RBI season since 2005. He has 94 this season after belting a two-run homer in Sunday’s win over Pittsburgh. Soriano has 28 homers and is vying for his first 30-homer campaign since hitting 33 for the Cubs in 2007. Chicago has lost its last five games in Houston.
Cubs Astros Betting
When: 8:05 PM ET, Monday, September 10, 2012
Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas
TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, Comcast SportsNet (Chicago), Fox Sports Houston
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cubs RH Chris Volstad (2-10, 6.23 ERA) vs. Astros LH Dallas Keuchel (1-7, 5.54)
Volstad lost to the Washington Nationals in his last outing when he gave up five runs and nine hits in five innings. He won his previous two starts to follow a personal 14-game losing skid. Volstad lost to the Astros on Aug. 14 when he gave up four runs and eight hits in five innings. He is 3-1 with a 4.79 ERA in six career starts against Houston.
Keuchel is back with Houston after a short stint in the minors. He had lost seven consecutive decisions and is winless in 10 starts since beating the Cleveland Indians on June 23. Keuchel has pitched fewer than six innings in half of his 12 big-league starts. He has never faced the Cubs.
1. Cubs 2B Darwin Barney has played 125 consecutive errorless games and broke the National League record held by Chicago legend Ryne Sandberg (123 in 1989-90) over the weekend. He is 16 games shy of the major-league mark, set in 2007 by Detroit’s Placido Polanco.
2. Houston INF Brett Wallace is 3-for-9 with a homer and five RBIs against Volstad.
3. Chicago 3B Josh Vitters homered in Sunday’s victory for just his sixth hit in 71 at-bats (.085) in 24 games since being recalled.