Mired in a season-long eight-game losing streak, the Chicago Cubs try to salvage the series finale in Houston on Wednesday. Chicago fell 2-1 on Tuesday, the only run coming on Alfonso Soriano’s fourth homer. The blast marked the first time in four games that the Cubs had scored before the ninth inning.
Houston Astros, meanwhile, has won five of seven and is just three games below .500 (20-23). Much improved from last year’s 106-loss team, the Astros are getting solid pitching and some timely hitting. Leadoff hitter Jose Altuve is batting .315 after going 2-for-4 with a solo homer on Tuesday. Houston is 15-10 at Minute Maid Park.
Cubs Astros Betting
When: 8:05 PM ET, Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas
TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, WGN, FS-H
PITCHING MATCHUP: Cubs RH Jeff Samardzija (4-2, 3.00 ERA) vs. Astros LH Wandy Rodriguez (3-4, 2.24 ERA)
Samardzija is 2-1 with a 4.76 ERA in 15 career relief appearances against the Astros. He enters Wednesday on a roll, having allowed six earned runs over his last five starts. Batters are hitting .232 against him, and the strapping 27-year-old has fanned 53 in 51 innings.
The Astros have scored a total of three runs in Rodriguez’s last three starts, all losses. He has a fine WHIP of 1.09, and is holding batters to a .227 average. Rodriguez is 5-6 with a 3.99 ERA in 19 career starts against the Cubs. Alfonso Soriano is 4-for-35 (.114) against Rodriguez with one homer and 11 strikeouts.
1. Chicago is 6-13 on the road.
2. Astros closer Brett Myers has 11 saves in 12 opportunities after pitching a perfect ninth in Tuesday’s win.
3. Cubs SS Starlin Castro went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts Tuesday.