|Ezequiel Astacio||Carlos Zambrano|
|2 - 6, 5.76||14 - 5, 3.17|
What can I say? This is cearly a game that the Cubs should win, with their ace vs. the Astros' # 6 pitcher. Carlos Zambrano faced the Astros August 17, giving up three hits and two runs over 8-1/3. If I were looking for some kind of optimism with this (and I am), I might note that Zambrano has made 31 starts this year, and that he's only won 14, less than half.
Zeke Astacio has not faced the Cubs. If I were looking for some optimism with him (and I am), I'd note what I wrote in our inter-blog discussion with Bleed Cubbie Blue: that the Astros are 6 - 8 in Astacio's starts, which is much better than you'd expect. Astacio pitched last against the Pirates in that insane 12 - 8 game, and it looked like he was actually pretty nasty, but he left one up, as he does, to Brad Eldred, and the ball very quickly left PNC.
He needs to avoid that kind of stuff during his stint against the Cubs today. I think Garner, who very drily suggested that Astacio needed to go nine shutout today, would be ecstatic if Ezequiel could go five, while giving up three.
After watching last night's Phillies-Reds game, I honestly see no way that the Reds without Sean Casey, Ken Griffey, and most importantly, a true closer, can beat the Phillies, but I fear that that's what they'll have to do for the Astros to avoid going into the final week in a dead heat with the Phils for the Wild Card lead.
I hope that this finds all who read in coastal Texas and Louisiana safe, sound, and dry.
Go Astros! Shock me--it wouldn't be the first time this year.