Bret Myers was finally rewarded for another good start as the Astros raced out to an early 5-0 lead and never looked back. Michael Bourn and Angel Sanchez each reached on bunt singles to start the game, making starter-turned reliever-turned starter James Russell look like he had never practiced fielding a bunt before. Each player came around to score later that inning. Bourn also had 2 stolen bases, while the top 3 Astros in the lineup – Bourn, Sanchez and Hunter Pence – went a combined 9 for 15, with 7 RBI’s and 7 runs scored. Ouch.
Russell ended up lasting just 1 2/3 innings in his spot start for Andrew Cashner. He gave up 4 ER on 7 hits and given the outing, the Cubs should really try to figure out a way to use just 4 starters for as long as possible when they can with some off days coming up. Jeff Samardzija wasn’t all that much better – 2 ER on 3 hits in 3 innings of work. His season ERA is 7.50 and his season WHIP is 2.17. Since Samardzija doesn’t have any options, he is going to either have to get better in a hurry or the Cubs may be forced to outright release him. And John Grabow continued to pitch poorly as he recovers from a 2010 injury. Grabow gave up 3 ER on 5 hits in the 8th inning and now has a 2.31 WHIP and 8.31 ERA.
The Cubs did manage to have 11 hits, but scored just 2 runs, one on a solo home run by Tyler Colvin. Marlon Byrd is on fire after a slow start. He had 3 more hits and has a .391 batting average. Starlin Castro had 2 more hits and is hitting .367. If only someone else in the lineup besides the first 3 batters would start hitting, maybe the Cubs could put together some sustained rallies.
Carlos Zambrano and Wandy Rodriguez square off in the rubber game of the series tonight in Houston…