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Cubs vs. Astros Preview, Monday 9/6, 1:20 CT: Shooting For Third Place

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What is Geo thinking as he rounds the bases following yesterday's HR?
What is Geo thinking as he rounds the bases following yesterday's HR?

There are some who want to see the Cubs lose to get better 2011 drafting position. I'm not one of those people. Play the games to win.

The Cubs trail the third-place Astros by 5.5 games going into this series; in addition to these three games, the Cubs will finish the season with three games in Houston, so they have plenty of opportunity to catch them (they also have to pass the Brewers, who are currently in fourth place 4.5 games ahead of the Cubs).

As they had done against the Pirates before their last series with them last week, the Cubs have not done well vs. Houston so far this year, losing two of three in all four series they have played. The Cubs have been outscored by only eight runs total in the 12 games -- here's why.

The four Cubs wins have been by scores of 7-2, 8-5, 14-7 and 5-2, total score 34-16 in the four wins.

The eight Cubs losses have been by scores of 4-3, 3-2, 3-1, 6-3, 11-5, 4-3, 6-1 and 8-1; the Astros have outscored the Cubs 45-19 in those games. Three of the losses were by one run; the Cubs have won their last four one-run games.

Onward; let's win this series, too. Also, use this (and the overflow) game threads to follow the Iowa/Memphis game today -- it begins at 1:05 CDT. If Iowa wins, they're in the PCL playoffs; lose and they're out. Here is the MiLB.com Gameday link for the Iowa/Memphis game and here is where you should be able to find the live audio for that game.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Casey Coleman
Casey Coleman
Cubs
vs. Wandy Rodriguez
Wandy Rodriguez
Astros
1-1 W-L 11-12
5.76 ERA 3.71
11 SO 138
10 BB 52
2 HR 12
vs. Hou -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Casey Coleman 1-1 7 3 0 0 0 0 25.0 27 16 16 2 10 11 5.76 1.48


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Wandy Rodriguez 11-12 29 27 0 0 0 0 162.2 159 80 67 12 52 138 3.71 1.30

Wandy Rodriguez has started twice against the Cubs this year, with a win (giving up five runs) and a no-decision (giving up two). You're right: that doesn't make any sense. The Cub he's faced the most is Aramis Ramirez (10-for-34), but A-Ram may not play today. Lifetime he's 5-4, 2.98 in 15 career starts vs. the Cubs.

First, Carlos Silva was supposed to go today. Then they switched him to Tuesday, then back to today... and finally, settled on him going tomorrow. So, today's start goes to Casey Coleman. Coleman has thrown pretty well in his last two starts; result: a win and a loss. He is making his first career start (and appearance) against the Astros.

Today's game is on WGN and FSN Houston. 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 Crawfish Boxes.

Today's first pitch thread will be up at 1:15 pm CDT, and the overflows will post at 2:15 pm, 3:15 pm and 4 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.