Chicago Cubs vs. Houston Astros Preview, Sunday 7/1, 1:20 CT

More Rizzo! Anthony Rizzo of the Chicago Cubs hits a two-run home run against the Houston Astros at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

It's July 1!

And that means we are entering the month where talk of trades should really get going. Just where do we stand right now, Jed Hoyer?

General manager Jed Hoyer said trade chatter has been "probably the same the last week or two. [But] it’s our job to make sure we’re in touch with every team and talking to everyone and [making] sure we know what’s going on.

"Obviously, a lot of teams check in with us, as well. Nothing has changed that way, and I think it will sort of maintain like this until we get a week out [from the July 31 deadline]. And then it heats up."

Meanwhile, the Jorge Soler era began Saturday -- but slowly:

Cuban prospect Jorge Soler, 20, is off to Mesa, Ariz., for a personal "spring training" with a nine-year, $30 million contract the team hopes is an investment in future power.

"We think he’ll provide a ton of power potential to us," general manager Jed Hoyer said. "We scouted him heavily, and obviously he’s a significant commitment for us. We feel he fits well into what we’re trying to do.

"He’s the right age, the right talent, and we’re excited to get him started."

Manager Dale Sveum compared Soler's body type to Glenn Braggs, a Brewers teammate of Sveum's. Braggs had tremendous power potential, but hit just 70 home runs in a seven-year MLB career from 1986-92. We hope for better from Soler. ETA in the major leagues: maybe 2015.

Cubs lineup:

Johnson CF, Castro SS, Rizzo 1B, Baker RF, Soto C, Mather LF, Barney 2B, Valbuena 3B, Wood P

Sigh. The famous RH-hitting lineup that's done sooooo well against LHP this year.

Astros lineup was not available at the time I wrote this post. Check the BCB Twitter feed for Houston's Sunday lineup.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Travis Wood
Travis Wood
Cubs
vs. Wandy Rodriguez
Wandy Rodriguez
Astros
2-3 W-L 6-5
3.54 ERA 3.52
35 SO 67
20 BB 22
7 HR 12
vs. Hou -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Travis Wood 2-3 8 8 0 0 0 0 48.1 38 19 19 7 20 35 3.54 1.20


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2012 - Wandy Rodriguez 6-5 16 16 0 0 0 0 102.1 107 49 40 12 22 67 3.52 1.26

Travis Wood threw into the sixth inning in Houston on May 22, allowing just two hits and two walks, but the Cubs lost the game 2-1. Current Astros are 11-for-55 against Wood with one home run (Jose Altuve). Here's hoping Wood can build on his last outing, which was very, very good.

Wandy Rodriguez threw seven innings against the Cubs May 23 in Houston, allowing just one run as the Astros completed a three-game sweep. Wandy has started 20 games in his career against the Cubs with a 3.84 ERA and 1.27 WHIP, pretty close to his career norms; current Cubs are hitting .256 (41-for-160) against him with five home runs, three of them by Geovany Soto. Perhaps we are not doomed today.

Today's game is on CSN Chicago.

Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Astros site The Crawfish Boxes.

Today's first pitch thread will post at 1:20 p.m. CDT and the overflows at 2:20, 3:20 and 4:05 p.m. CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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