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Chicago Cubs vs. Houston Astros preview, Wednesday 5/17, 7:10 CT

The Cubs look to get out of Houston with a win.

Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Wednesday notes...

  • WHEW: Seiya Suzuki’s two-run homer in the ninth inning last night prevented the Cubs from setting a team record for being outscored by the most runs in any four consecutive games of a road trip. They have been outscored by 29 runs, 40-11, Saturday through Tuesday.

They were outscored by 30 on July 20-22, 1953, when they lost single games at Brooklyn, 3-0 and 15-4, then were swept in a doubleheader, 9-3 and 11-1, for a combined score of 38-8.

The Cubs also gave up 29 more runs than they scored September 8-12, 2014 (losses at Toronto by 8-0, 9-2 and 11-1, then at Pittsburgh by 7-3) and June 7-12, 2022 (loss at Baltimore by 9-3, then at New York against the Yankees by 2-1, 8-0 and 18-4). (All info in this point courtesy BCB’s John W53)

  • LET’S STOP THIS HERE: The Cubs have lost three in a row. Their last losing streak that was longer was four, from August 27-30, 2022 (two to the Brewers, two to the Blue Jays).
  • GUYS ON HOT STREAKS: Julian Merryweather, last 12 outings (1.80 ERA, 1.200 WHIP, 13 strikeouts in 10 innings), Seiya Suzuki, last six games (.318/.385/.727, 7-for-22, three doubles, two home runs)
  • GUYS ON COLD STREAKS: Eric Hosmer, last six games (2-for-18, .111/.158/.111, six strikeouts), Nick Madrigal, last five games (3-for-21, .143/.143/.143).

Here are today’s particulars.

Cubs lineup:

Astros lineup:

Drew Smyly, LHP vs. J.P. France, RHP

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

Drew Smyly keeps cranking out good starts. In the seven starts he’s made since his first one was a clunker, he hasn’t allowed more than two runs in any of them, and overall in those seven has a 2.04 ERA, 3.12 FIP and 0.808 WHIP, with just eight walks in 39⅔ innings.

Smyly hasn’t faced the Astros since two mediocre starts in 2019, that was a fairly long time ago. Jose Abreu, who is off to a terrible start, has hit Smyly well: 6-for-11 (.545), two doubles, a home run.

J.P. France was the Astros’ 14th round pick in 2018 out of Mississippi State. (Comparison point: The Cubs selected a RHP named Riley McCauley out of Michigan State in that round. He’s been out of baseball since 2019.) Looks like France got his glasses from Jesse Chavez.

France is making his third MLB start tonight. The other two have been quite good, an 0.77 ERA and 0.686 WHIP. He has obviously never faced the Cubs or anyone on their active roster. You know what usually happens in that situation. Perhaps these Cubs will do better.


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.