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Cubs-Astros Preview

Oct 2, 2010 - 4:47 AM By JEFF MEZYDLO STATS Senior Writer

Chicago (73-86) at Houston (75-84), 7:05 p.m. EDT

With little on the line, Carlos Zambrano is having the kind of success the Chicago Cubs hoped he would have had throughout the season.

The enigmatic right-hander looks to continue his recent dominance, finish his eventful season on a positive note and help the Cubs to a third straight victory Saturday night against the Houston Astros.

Late in a season in which he began in the rotation, moved to the bullpen then endured a suspension and anger management therapy, Zambrano (10-6, 3.36 ERA) has finally enjoyed some success.

The former All-Star is 7-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 10 starts since returning to the rotation following a June 25 dugout blowup that banished him to the restricted list and a second stint in the bullpen. About to conclude the third season of a five-year, $91.5 million contract, Zambrano is giving the Cubs (74-86) reason to keep him around for 2011.

"Thank God that he blessed me with this end of the season," said Zambrano, who has allowed one earned run over 27 2-3 innings while going 3-0 in his last four outings.

Zambrano, who has not allowed a run in his last two starts, gave up three hits in seven innings of a 1-0 win at San Diego on Monday.

"I still have confidence in myself and all my pitches are working now," he told the Cubs' official website.

Zambrano is 12-8 with a 2.64 ERA in 28 starts against the Astros, but allowed three runs in 4 1-3 innings of a 3-1 loss at Houston on June 4.

Chicago pitchers ran their scoreless-innings streak to 21 after a 2-0 win over Houston (75-85) on Friday to open this series. Behind a lineup filled with mostly September call-ups, the Cubs improved to 4-1 on their final road trip and 23-12 under interim manager Mike Quade.

Second baseman Blake DeWitt is 12 for 36 in his last nine games for the Cubs, who are looking to win their first series in three tries at Minute Maid Park this season.

Likely to be near the front of the Astros' 2011 rotation, J.A. Happ (6-3, 2.77) takes the ball Saturday. The left-hander is 5-3 with a 3.00 ERA in 12 starts since coming over from Philadelphia in the Roy Oswalt trade July 29.

Happ is 0-1 in his last four starts, but has a 2.53 ERA during that span and has not yielded an earned run his last two outings. He allowed two runs in six innings of a 9-3 loss at Pittsburgh on Sunday, his first defeat since Aug. 20.

Happ allowed two runs in six innings of a 4-3, 12-inning win while with Philadelphia in his only previous start versus Chicago on Aug. 11, 2009.

Houston outfielder Hunter Pence went 2 for 4 on Friday, and is 10 for 25 at home versus Chicago this season. However, he is 5 for 22 lifetime against Zambrano.

The Astros have lost eight of 10.








  • Astros 3, Cubs 8 - FINAL
    CHICAGO CUBS ab r h rbi bb so lob avg
    J Baker 2b 3 3 1 0 1 0 0 .272
    va-D Barney ph-2b 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 .227
    S Castro ss 3 2 2 0 1 1 0 .300
    M Byrd cf 5 1 2 3 0 1 2 .295
    A Ramirez 3b 3 1 1 4 1 0 3 .242
    B Scales 3b 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 .333
    X Nady 1b

    Oct 2 9:58 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY BRETT WALLACE SCORED CHRIS JOHNSON AND BRIAN
    BOGUSEVIC
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, B WALLACE ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHICAGO CUBS 8
    HOUSTON 3 BOTTOM,7TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: J CASTRO (.205, 1-FOR-2)

    Cubs 8, Astros 3  Bot 7, 0 OutsOct 2 9:09 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    FORCE OUT BY CHRIS JOHNSON SCORED HUNTER PENCE
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C JOHNSON ON FIRST, B BOGUSEVIC ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHICAGO CUBS 8
    HOUSTON 1 BOTTOM,7TH
    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: B WALLACE (.217, 0-FOR-2)

    Cubs 8, Astros 1  Bot 7, 0 OutsOct 2 9:09 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    GRAND SLAM BY ARAMIS RAMIREZ (25) TO LEFT CENTER WITH 0 OUT
    IN THE 4TH OFF J.A. HAPP SCORED MARLON BYRD, STARLIN CASTRO
    AND JEFF BAKER.
    CURRENT SCORE: CHICAGO CUBS 8, HOUSTON 0
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: X NADY (.252, 0-FOR-2)

    Cubs 8, Astros 0  Top 4, 0 OutsOct 2 8:11 PM


  • NL
    AT HOUSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MARLON BYRD SCORED JEFF BAKER AND CARLOS ZAMBRANO
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, M BYRD ON FIRST, S CASTRO ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CHICAGO CUBS 4
    HOUSTON 0 TOP,2ND
    DUE UP FOR CHICAGO CUBS: A RAMIREZ (.242, 0-FOR-0, BB)

    Cubs 4, Astros 0  Top 2, 0 OutsOct 2 7:35 PM


  • NL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    CHICAGO CUBS 2 2 2 0
    HOUSTON 0 0 0 (BOT 1)


    CURRENT PITCHERS: CHN - CARLOS ZAMBRANO
    HOU - J.A. HAPP

    DUE UP FOR HOUSTON: A HERNANDEZ (.200, 0 HR, 1 RBI)
    A SANCHEZ (.283, 0 HR, 25 RBI)
    H PENCE (.285, 25 HR, 91 RBI)

    Cubs 2, Astros 0  Bot 1, 0 OutsOct 2 7:19 PM
  • 15
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 15 roots

    Cubs vs. AstrosMay 25 2:01 AM