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Chicago Cubs vs. Houston Astros preview, Monday 5/15, 7:10 CT

The Cubs continue their road trip, hoping for better results than they had on the last stop.

Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s roster moves: Here

Monday notes...

  • THE LAST TIME IT HAPPENED: The last time the Cubs faced a team managed by Dusty Baker was Game 5 of the division series against the Nationals in 2017. That one worked out all right for the Cubs, a wacky 9-8 win. It’s entirely possible this series will be the last managed by Dusty against the Cubs. His contract expires after this season and it’s possible the Astros move on.
  • BATTING COMPARISONS: The Cubs have played 40 games, essentially one quarter of the season. They are 19-21, three games better than their 16-24 a year ago. They have scored 27 more runs, hit 11 more homers, stolen 19 more bases, walked 12 more times, struck out eight fewer times and hit into seven fewer double plays. Their batting average, .266, is 34 points higher. Their on-base percentage, .340, is 29 points higher. Their slugging percentage, .425, is 48 points higher. Their OPS, .766, is 79 points higher.
  • PITCHING COMPARISONS: Over the first 40 games of 2023, compared to 2022: The Cubs have allowed four fewer runs, six fewer unearned runs and seven fewer home runs. They have walked four fewer batters and struck out 11 fewer. Their ERA, 3.91, is just .02 lower than a year ago. Before Saturday, it had been .54 lower through 38 games, 3.38 to 3.92! (Batting and pitching comparisons both courtesy BCB’s JohnW53)
  • THE GOOD, EVEN IN BAD TIMES: Even with the two blowouts over the weekend, the Cubs’ 3.91 team ERA ranks fifth among National League teams, and the team’s .340 OBP leads all N.L. ballclubs, both entering Monday’s action.

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Astros lineup:

Also of interest for tonight:

Jameson Taillon, RHP vs. Framber Valdez, LHP

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Jameson Taillon has just not pitched well since returning from a groin injury. 5⅔ innings, seven earned runs (11.12 ERA), three home runs. It’s just been bad.

Hopefully tonight is better. Taillon didn’t have much luck in his only start vs. Houston last year, May 23 at MMP: 5⅔ innings, six runs, two home runs.

Here’s hoping this is the game where he turns things around.

Framber Valdez has been one of the best pitchers in the league the last couple of years, and that has continued in the early going in 2023.

In his last start, May 9 vs. the Angels, he allowed one run in eight innings and struck out 12. He’s never faced the Cubs, and of the handful of Cubs who have faced him, they are 0-for-13 with six strikeouts.

Clearly, we are doomed.


Today’s game is on Marquee Sports Network. Here’s a list of providers currently carrying Marquee.

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. Gameday game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Astros site The Crawfish Boxes. If you do go there to interact with Astros fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.

The 2023 Game Thread procedure will be like last year’s, similar to what we’ve used for Spring Training.

You’ll find the game preview posted separately on the front page two hours before game time (90 minutes for some early day games following night games).

At the same time, a StoryStream containing the preview will also post on the front page, titled “Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of week/date) game threads.” It will contain every post related to that particular game, including the first pitch thread and the overflow thread, as well as the recap when it’s published. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post.

You will also be able to find the preview, first pitch thread and the overflow thread in the box marked “Chicago Cubs Game Threads” at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). The StoryStream for each game can also be found in that section.

The first pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at 90 minutes after the scheduled game time.

Discuss amongst yourselves.