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Chicago Cubs vs. Houston Astros Preview, Monday 5/30, 1:20 CT: Memorial Day Matinee

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Write your own caption. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Write your own caption. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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The weather forecast for today, calling for temperatures in the low 90s, appears to be true; at this writing it's sunny and already in the 70s. It will feel as if Wrigley Field has moved from San Francisco (yesterday's fog) or Atlanta (yesterday's thunderstorms) to Phoenix overnight.

As noted in several tweets last night and early this morning, the Cubs have placed Jeff Baker on the DL and recalled D.J. LeMahieu from Iowa; LeMahieu was the Cubs' second-round pick in the 2009 draft and was hitting .358/.386/.492 in 202 plate appearances in Triple-A. You might also remember that he hit a walkoff home run in the 10th inning on March 6 in spring training this year against the Dodgers. LeMahieu is not currently on the 40-man roster so someone will have to be removed for him to be added.

The Cubs haven't had a very good year so far, but the Astros are markedly worse. They rank 11th in the NL in runs scored, but last in runs allowed. The offense, beyond Hunter Pence (who has 38 RBI, nine more than any Cub), is pretty bad (other than Brett Wallace, no one else has an OPS over .700) and their supposed top pitcher, Brett Myers, has an ERA over 5. Brandon Lyon was so bad closing games (four blown saves before he went on the DL with rotator cuff problems) that he was replaced by Mark Melancon, who has been better.

The Astros have lost 10 of their last 14, just got swept by the Diamondbacks, and have the league's worst road record at 8-17. If the Cubs are to do anything to resurrect this season, they really should sweep this series.

And, a Memorial Day salute to all those who have served, and given their lives, in service to the USA.

Cubs lineup:

Fukudome RF, Barney 2B, Castro SS, Ramirez 3B, Peña 1B, Soriano LF, Campana CF, Soto C, Lopez P

Tony Campana turns 25 today. But that still shouldn't put him ahead of Geo in the lineup.

Astros lineup:
Bourn cf, Barmes ss, Pence rf, Lee lf, Keppinger 2b, Wallace 1b, Johnson 3b, Towles c, Rodriguez p
Today's Starting Pitchers
Rodrigo Lopez
Rodrigo Lopez
Cubs
vs. Aneury Rodriguez
Aneury Rodriguez
Astros
making W-L 0-2
his ERA 4.98
2011 SO 23
season BB 12
debut HR 6
vs. Hou -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Aneury Rodriguez 0-2 14 5 0 0 0 0 34.1 35 24 19 6 12 23 4.98 1.37

Rodrigo Lopez, who will wear uniform No. 50 (sorry, Les Lancaster, your number wasn't retired), is making his Cubs (and 2011 season) debut. He hasn't faced many current Astros, even though he's been around a while; only Carlos Lee has more than nine career AB against him (3-for-19). Hunter Pence has a HR off him in those nine AB (five hits).

Lopez last pitched at Wrigley Field April 30, 2010 for the Diamondbacks. He gave up six runs in six innings, but only two were earned.

About Aneury Rodriguez, I have this to say: I know Wandy Rodriguez. And Aneury, you're no Wandy. (Although, they do share three letters in their first names.)

Ahem. Anyway, Aneury made two relief appearances against the Cubs in Houston in April. He threw an inning, allowing two hits (one by Geovany Soto, one by Tyler Colvin) and a run, on April 12; then two-thirds of an inning without allowing anything the next day. He has made five starts, posting a 4.44 ERA and allowing eight walks and four HR in 26.1 innings.

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 p.m. CDT and the overflow threads will post at 2:15 pm, 3:15 pm and 4 pm CDT. If you need more overflows due to extra innings or rain delays, post them in the fanshot section.

Discuss amongst yourselves.