The Houston Astros will open a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs at Minute Maid Field tonight at 7:10 PM CT.
The three-game series will be the only regular-season matchup between the two clubs this year, and I’m willing to lay good money that they won’t meet in the postseason. Houston has had an up-and-down run of things to start the 2023 campaign, but have won four of their last five to land at 21-19 at the quarter-pole.
In their last series, the Astros took two-of-three from the Chicago White Sox, punctuated by yesterday’s 4-3 victory in the finale. Yainer Diaz collected his first major league home run, while Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker each pitched in with respective multiple hit efforts. Hunter Brown performed admirably despite falling one out short of a QS, striking out eight and allowing three earned runs over 5 2⁄3 frames. Ryan Pressly collected the final three outs for his seventh save of the year.
The Cubs have started their campaign with a 19-21 mark, most recently dropping a 16-3 nail-biter against the Minnesota Twins. Matt Mervis collected a pair of hits in the loss, while Christopher Morel and Seiya Suzuki each went deep. A septet of Cubby pitchers combined to allow 16 earned runs on 18 hits (including three home runs) and five walks while striking out eight.
The last time Houston played against the Cubs was in 2019 between May 27 and 29. Houston won the first two of the series before losing the finale, 2-1. Astros hitting only managed four hits, including a pair by Michael Brantley. Wade Miley took the loss, giving up two runs on six hits and a walk over seven frames, striking out nine.
The Astros hold a 380-334 advantage in all-time matchups versus the Cubs. a winning percentage of .532. That’s their 11th best record out of their 29 all-time opponents.
Houston Astros: 21-19, .525, 4 GB, 1 WCGB, second in the AL West, eighth in the AL, 13th in MLB, Last 10: LWLLLWWWLW, on pace for 85-77, Playoff Odds: 91.4 percent B/R, 65.8 percent FG.
Chicago Cubs: 19-21, .475, 4 GB, 1 WCGB, third in the NL Central, ninth in the NL, tied for 19th in MLB, Last 10: LWWLLLWWLL, on pace for 77-85, Playoff Odds: 43.7 percent B/R, 20.4 percent FG.
AVG: Ian Happ & Nico Hoerner .303, Mauricio Dubon .291, Yordan Alvarez .288, Dansby Swanson .275
OBP: Ian Happ .425, Yordan Alvarez .388, Dansby Swanson .380, Kyle Tucker .358, Nico Hoerner .348
SLG: Patrick Wisdom .587, Yordan Alvarez .568, Cody Bellinger .496, Ian Happ .465, Kyle Tucker .443
OPS: Yordan Alvarez .956, Patrick Wisdom .925, Ian Happ .890, Cody Bellinger .834, Kyle Tucker .801
HR: Patrick Wisdom 12, Yordan Alvarez 9, Cody Bellinger 7, Yan Gomes, Jeremy Peña & Kyle Tucker 6
RBI: Yordan Alvarez 37, Kyle Tucker 26, Patrick Wisdom 23, Jeremy Peña 21, Cody Bellinger 20
BB: Ian Happ 31, Dansby Swanson 26, Alex Bregman 25, Kyle Tucker 21, Yordan Alvarez & Patrick Wisdom 17
SB: Nico Hoerner 12, Cody Bellinger 9, Jeremy Peña & Kyle Tucker 6, Corey Julks 5
ERA: Justin Steele 1.82, Framber Valdez 2.38, Drew Smiley 3.05, Marcus Stroman 3.24, Hunter Brown 3.43
WHIP: Drew Smiley 0.97, Cristian Javier 1.01, Justin Steele 1.03, Framber Valdez 1.04, Marcus Stroman 1.18
K: Framber Valdez 57, Cristian Javier 54, Hunter Brown & Marcus Stroman 47, Justin Steele 39
Chas McCormick is finally back, but Michael Brantley will be out for an indeterminate amount of time. Jose Altuve will likely be back in two weeks or so, and Lance McCullers Jr. could be right behind him. Jose Urquidy is expected around the All-Star Break, and Luis Garcia should be ready about this time next season.
Gametime & Starting Pitchers
Tonight at 7:10 PM CT — Jameson Taillon (0-2, 6.41) vs. Framber Valdez (3-4, 2.38)
Tuesday at 7:10 PM CT — Justin Steele (6-0, 1.82) vs. Cristian Javier (3-1, 3.47)
Wednesday at 7:10 PM CT — Drew Smyly (4-1, 3.05) vs. JP France (1-0, 0.77)
Who’s Hot (highest WPA vs. White Sox)
JP France (.242)
Ryan Pressly (.213)
Bryan Abreu (.188)
Kyle Tucker (.164)
Mauricio Dubon (.152)
Who’s Not (lowest WPA vs. White Sox)
Corey Julks (-.101)
Alex Bregman (-.102)
Cesar Salazar (-.103)
Jose Abreu (-.194)
Rafael Montero (-.323)
How many times will Houston club the Cubs?
This poll is closed
Break out the brooms for the good guys!
Win the series, lose the sweep
Prevent a sweep, but barely
Break out the brooms...for the bad guys!