Astros-Cubs Preview

The Houston Astros’ Brett Myers recorded his first win this
season with a strong performance against the Chicago Cubs.

He’s still searching for his second.

The struggling right-hander will try to snap a four-game skid by
continuing his dominance of the Cubs and leading the Astros to
their first sweep at Wrigley Field in three years Wednesday
afternoon.

In his third start this season, Myers (1-4, 5.11 ERA) allowed
one run over seven innings in an 11-2 rout of Chicago at Minute
Maid Park and could use another outing against the slumping Cubs
(23-30).

The right-hander is 0-4 with a 6.52 ERA in his last eight starts
but just missed a chance to end that losing streak Friday against
Arizona. Despite giving up four runs over his final two frames, he
exited with Houston leading 6-4 in the sixth inning, but the Astros
(21-34) fell 7-6.

“A couple of leadoff walks (one each in the fifth and sixth
innings) did him in,” manager Brad Mills said. “That’s not like
him. He does such a great job getting it back. Tonight wasn’t the
case.”

Myers will try to rebound with his seventh consecutive win over
the Cubs. He’s won nine in a row as starter and is 11-3 with a 2.15
ERA in 18 career matchups.

He has the chance to lead Houston to a season-high fourth
straight road win with Chicago hitting .215 while losing four of
five. The team’s leading home run hitter, Alfonso Soriano, went on
the disabled list Tuesday with a strained left quad.

The Cubs had seven hits Tuesday and held a 3-1 lead in the
eighth inning. Closer Carlos Marmol then gave up six runs – one shy
of matching his career high – in a 7-3 defeat, including a
three-run homer to Hunter Pence.

Pence has homered in consecutive games and is hitting .451 (23
for 51) in his last 12.

“It was a bad day. What can you do about it,” Marmol said. “They
swung at your best pitch (slider) and they hit it.”

The Cubs haven’t been swept at home by the Astros since Sept.
1-3, 2008, and struggling Doug Davis will attempt to help them
avoid that.

The veteran left-hander is still seeking his first win since May
5, 2010. Davis (0-3, 6.75) missed most of last season with
inflammation in the lining around his heart and tendinitis in his
pitching elbow.

He’s received a combined two runs of support in his three
consecutive losses and none in a 4-2 loss to Pittsburgh on Friday.
Davis gave up all of the Pirates’ runs over 4 2-3 innings, walked
six batters and committed a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt.

“Having a year off and everything else, I certainly didn’t
expect he was going to be a guy that was going come in here ultra
sharp, give us seven, eight innings,” manager Mike Quade said.

Davis hasn’t usually been sharp against the Astros, who have
dealt him more career losses than any other opponent. The
left-hander is 3-11 with a 4.59 ERA in 17 matchups and will face
them for the first time since May 13, 2007.

Houston has won four straight at Wrigley Field, its longest win
streak since an eight-game run May 4, 2000-Sept. 27, 2001.