Astros Stay in Chicago

The Houston Astros don't have to travel too far for their next game.

The Astros will change leagues and venues, but won't have to leave Chicago in order to make up a postponed game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Monday.

Houston (26-36) took two of three over the weekend against the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field, losing Sunday's finale 6-3 after starter Wandy Rodriguez allowed seven hits and five runs in five innings.

Oddsmakers have made Chicago -170 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 8 total runs (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 70% of bets for this game have been placed on Chicago -180 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

Now, the Astros will head to Wrigley Field to make up a game that was postponed April 11 because of rain and snow. Houston won the first two contests of that series against the Cubs (27-34).

The Astros were looking to win three straight Sunday for the first time since a four-game run from May 12-16.

"We're in a rotten position right now," manager Phil Garner said. "We need to win (in) streaks."

On Monday, the Astros will face Carlos Zambrano (6-5, 5.38 ERA), who will look to give the Cubs a lengthy outing after a tough weekend for their bullpen.

Chicago relievers pitched 6 1-3 innings on Saturday in a 9-5 loss to Atlanta and were forced to throw another 7 1-3 innings on Sunday after starter Ted Lilly was ejected in the first inning of a 5-4 loss.

Lilly had retired the first two batters before hitting Atlanta's Edgar Renteria with a pitch. Renteria took a couple of steps toward the mound before home-plate umpire Jim Wolf and Cubs catcher Michael Barrett stepped in front of him.

Chicago had a 4-2 lead after Mike Fontenot's homer in the seventh, but Ryan Dempster gave up the go-ahead run on a wild pitch with two outs in the eighth to leave the Cubs with a split of the four-game series.

"Outside of the fact that we have a tired bullpen and a tough loss, I'm not going to talk about it," manager Lou Piniella said of the ejection. "We're battling."

Piniella announced Koyie Hill will catch on Monday instead of Barrett, but said the move was not related to Zambrano and Barrett's fight at Wrigley Field on June 1.

"At some point, we'll reunite the battery mates," Piniella said.

Zambrano recovered from that disastrous June 1 start with a solid effort Wednesday against Milwaukee. He pitched 6 2-3 innings, allowing two runs and five hits while striking out nine in a 6-2 win.

Zambrano, who has alternated wins and losses in his last seven starts, is 8-5 with a 2.57 ERA in 17 starts and two relief appearances against the Astros.

Houston will counter with Woody Williams (2-8, 5.79), who was ejected from his last outing against Colorado on Wednesday after he hit Matt Holliday one pitch after giving up a home run. Williams pitched six-plus innings, allowing six runs and 10 hits in an 8-7 loss.

This is Williams' second start against the Cubs this season. He did not receive a decision in Houston's 5-4 win on April 9 after allowing two runs and six hits in six innings. The right-hander is 3-8 with a 4.55 ERA in 16 starts and one relief appearance against Chicago.

by: Michael Cash - thespread.com – Email Us

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