Found June 21, 2013 on
The Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs spent the past few seasons rounding out the bottom of NL Central.
Their poor play is spread over two divisions now.
In the first interleague matchup between these former division rivals, Dallas Keuchel will seek to help Houston beat the Cubs on Friday at Wrigley Field.
The Astros (28-46) are in last place in the AL West and own the league's worst record but head into Chicago having won six of eight. They earned all but one of those wins on a seven-game homestand and took two of three from another former NL Central opponent, Milwaukee, to begin this week.
Former Cubs slugger Carlos Pena helped his team finish off that series with a 7-4 victory Thursday by hitting a three-run homer in the 10th inning.
"What a great homestand. I thought we were in every single game. This is a lot of momentum moving forward," said Pena, who hit a team-best 28 homers for Chicago in 2011.
Pena will face his former club and former Tampa Bay teammate Matt Garza (1-1, 4.98 ERA) for the first time Friday. The two played together from 2008-10 and were members of an AL championship team in the first of those seasons.
Keuchel (4-3, 4.23) will try to help Pena finish on the winning side of that reunion while improving on a 3-1 record and a 2.13 ERA in his last four starts. The left-hander bounced back from his only defeat over that stretch by beating the other Chicago team Sunday.
Keuchel gave up two runs over 6 1-3 innings in a 5-4 victory over the White Sox.
"All you can ask of your guys is consistency, and no doubt that Dallas has given us that more than anybody in the rotation, even when we've been pitching so good lately," manager Bo Porter told the team's website. "He's figured out how to get guys out with all of his pitches."
Keuchel did not get a decision in his only start against the Cubs on Sept. 10, allowing one run over four innings in a 4-1 home defeat.
Chicago (29-42), which is tied with the Brewers for last in the division, edged Houston in the season series 8-7 for the second straight year in 2012 but has won 11 of 15 meetings at Wrigley Field. The Cubs, though, enter having dropped four of five and are 2-7 at Wrigley this month.
They scored one run for the second straight game Thursday, falling 6-1 in St. Louis. Welington Castillo had three of the team's five hits while Starlin Castro's average for the month dropped to .127 (9 for 71).
"I'm working hard every day, I know I can get out of this," Castro said. "When I get out of this, I'll be good for the rest of the season."
Garza allowed two runs over 5 1-3 innings to beat the Astros at home last June after going 0-3 with a 4.64 ERA in his first five matchups with them.
He is coming off a solid showing, tossing seven scoreless innings against the New York Mets on Sunday after getting tagged for a career-worst nine runs in five innings in a loss to Cincinnati five days earlier.
The right-hander, though, did not get a win Sunday as reliever Carlos Marmol's struggles continued in a 4-3 defeat.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
The other day, Alvin Yellon satisfied many of us with a classic example of his stupidity. Like many, Ryno has had a lot of fun with this. Here here is (the rest of this is from Ryno).
Just for fun, I decided to look at Alvin’s open letter as an editor. All bits and hyperbole aside, I wanted to see exactly how much ******** was in there.
Alvin’s original was 2,185 words, and...
The Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory is currently featuring a special "Big Leagues, Little Bricks" LEGO exhibition, with various LEGO sculptures, portraits and stadium replicas on display.
One of the centerpieces of the exhibit is a replica of Wrigley Field, the historic home stadium of the Chicago Cubs, which was created by artist Sean Kenney with 57,960 bricks...
Nashville Sounds 5 @ Iowa Cubs 4 (7 innings)
Logan Watkins! Double triples and a single single. 7 bases in one game is fine with me. Donnie Murphy had a single and a walk, with 2 RBI. Junior Lake had a walk, a strikeout, and an RBI. Brett Jackson had a walk and no strikeout. Brooks Raley had a double and his average is .333.
Brooks Raley is bad at pitching. His ERA sits at 5...
The Houston Astros have signed right-hander Mark Appel, the number one overall pick earlier this month in the MLB draft. While terms of the deal were not announced, slot money for the first overall pick is $7.8 million.Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported Appel and the Astros agreed to a signing bonus between $6 and $6.5 million on Saturday. The right-hander is represented by...
Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig touted the progress the league has made in racial hiring practices while stressing his desire to increase the number of African-American players in the sport.
Selig spoke Wednesday at the MLB diversity business summit.
The league received an A in racial hiring practices in this year's annual report by Richard Lapchick's Institute...
The Houston Astros won last night’s contest against the
Milwaukee Brewers, but they lost right fielder Trevor Crowe to the 15-day
disabled list after he sprained the AC joint in his right shoulder while
colliding with the outfield wall, according to Chris Abshire of MLB.com.
Crowe ran into the wall in the sixth inning of yesterday’s
game while attempting to chase...
The New York Yankees have acquired minor league infielder Brent Lillibridge from the Chicago Cubs on Friday for a player to be named or cash.
Lillibridge is one of several backup infielders acquired by the Yankees this season to help fill in for their injured All-Stars. The trade Friday is the second deal between New York and Chicago this year.
The Yankees acquired Alberto Gonzalez...
Let's get right to the trots!
Home Run of the Day: Carlos Pena, Houston Astros - 26.92* seconds [video]
A monster of a home run for Pena as the Astros walkoff against the Brewers in the tenth inning. The remarkable thing about this trot isn't how slow it feels, but the fact that it's a) only the third slowest trot of the day and b) not even the slowest trot...
According to Buster Olney, the Chicago Cubs are open for business. They’re a rebuilding franchise with no real playoff aspirations and a bunch of interesting veterans who are free agent eligible at the end of the year, so it makes sense for them to make some present-for-future trades. The focus is likely going to be on their pitching, as Matt Garza and Scott Feldman will be two...
Matt Garza turned in his best performance of 2013 allowing just one run over eight innings in a 3-1 win over the Houston Astros.Garza was coming off the start in which he threw seven shutout innings in a no decision against the Mets on Sunday.After walking the first batter in the ninth inning Kevin Gregg came on to get the final three outs and preserved the win. Houston’s lone...
In 1998 Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa took sports fans by storm, going back and forth, trying to break the MLB single season home run record. At that time the record was 61 and it was held by Roger Maris since 1961. On September 7, 1998, Big Mac, 34 years old, slugged home run number 61, off Mike Morgan of the Chicago Cubs, tying the record. It was an amazing thing to witness...
BY ANDREI GRESKAFOXSportsWisconsin.com
Looking to close out the nine-game road trip on a positive note, the Milwaukee Brewers managed to do just the opposite, giving up an eighth-inning lead before falling to Houston 7-4 in the 10th inning off a three-run walk-off from Carlos Pena.
"Defensively we gave them a couple of runs early. Offensively we obviously didn't do the...