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Open Thread: Cubs vs. Astros, Monday 8/6, 7:05 CT

It's official:

The Chicago Cubs today placed outfielder Alfonso Soriano on the 15-day disabled list with a right quad strain. In corresponding roster moves, Chicago has selected infielder Eric Patterson from Triple-A Iowa and designated infielder Brian Dopirak, currently at Single-A Daytona, for assignment. In addition, pitcher Wade Miller has been placed on waivers to grant his unconditional release.

Patterson will wear uniform No. 3 and looks to make his major league debut tonight in Houston when the Cubs face the Astros at 7:05 p.m. CT.

Ah, Wade, we hardly knew ye. Nor did we really want to. On to tonight's game.

The Cubs haven't played in the Juice Box in Houston for almost a year -- the last Cubs game there was on August 16, 2006, the storybook start of Ryan O'Malley. That entire series was memorable, a Cub sweep: a 3-0 shutout anchored by Carlos Zambrano and an 18-inning win with Rich Hill getting the win in relief were the other two games.

Much has changed for the Cubs since then; even after that sweep they were sixteen games under .500. Meanwhile, the Astros have played poor baseball all year, though better at home (28-25) than on the road (20-38, the worst road record in the NL).

Tonight's Astros starter epitomizes that record. After a disappointing homestand, I'd like to see the Cubs go at least 4-3 on this trip, while the Brewers are going 3-4 (or better yet, 2-5).

Today's Starting Pitchers
Rich Hill
R. Hill
vs. Wandy Rodriguez
W. Rodriguez
6-6 W-L 7-10
3.67 ERA 4.72
118 SO 107
44 BB 36
21 HR 16
vs. Hou -- vs. Cubs
Wandy Rodriguez looks like the second coming of Roger Clemens in his prime when he's pitching at home: 6-2, 1.76. The Astros have won Wandy's last four home starts dating back to June 15. But, Houston is on a downward spiral right now: they've lost five of their last seven, and Rodriguez has a 2-4, 6.09 lifetime mark vs. the Cubs, including getting pounded hard by Derrek Lee (6-for-9, 2 doubles, 2 HR, five walks), Matt Murton (4-for-11, 2 HR), and in very-small-sample-size-bites, Ryan Theriot (2-for-3, 1 HR), and Angel Pagan (1-for-2, a HR).

In addition to the relief appearance in the 18-inning game mentioned above, Rich Hill has one other career relief appearance against Houston. This will be his first start against the Astros; only Brad Ausmus (1-for-1) has had a hit off him.

Today's game is cable-only in both home markets, so check the Mediacenter. Gameday (2007 version) Gameday (2006 version) Gameday for the Brewers/Rockies game

For the Astros fan point of view on this series, please visit my SB Nation counterpart The Crawfish Boxes. Please. They seem kind of lonely over there.

Discuss amongst yourselves.