Series Review 4/11/11-4/13/11: Houston Astros


The Chicago Cubs continued their first road trip of the season by going down to Houston and playing the Astros. Despite the fact that the Cubs took 2 out of 3 games against the Astros, the series left a lot to be desired. Mainly because of how the first and last games of the series turned out.

Game 1–Cubs Barely Get By The Astros with a 5-4 Victory

Game 2–Brett Myers earns the label of “Cubs Killer” as Astros win 11-2

  • James Russell failed to seize the opportunity on Tuesday to be the temporary fifth starter while Andrew Cashner is sidelined with his injury. Astros’ starting pitcher Brett Myers continued his dominance over the Cubs as he cruised to victory.

Game 3- Z Power leads Z Way in Cubs 9-5 Victory

  • While Carlos Zambrano earns his paycheck by pitching, this time it was his offense that carried the Cubs to a series victory. Zambrano along with Alfonso Soriano each had a home run in the game to lead the Cubs to a 9-6 victory over the Astros.

There is not much that needs to be said about this series victory. The Cubs simply did what they are supposed to do. They beat a team in the Astros, who are one of the worst in the major leagues. Last season especially it seemed that the Cubs would have a hard time against the low-level teams like the Astros and Pirates. After the disappointing start against the Pirates, it is good to see that the Cubs are able to take care of business and beat the Astros.

What To Take From This Series?

  • The biggest concern resulting from this series is who is going to be the fifth starter? After James Russell’s train-wreck of a start on Tuesday night, it does not appear that Russell is in line to make his next start. Which brings up the question of who will replace Russell–who is filling in for the injured Andrew Cashner– in the rotation. Mike Quade said some interesting things about Jeff Samardzija the other day, that has lead some reporters to speculate that Samardzija may be moving into the rotation. That does not seem like a realistic option as Samardzija voiced displeasure with the idea of flip-flopping between the rotation and bullpen. If anything, I would expect that the Cubs skip the fifth spot in the rotation, and go straight to Ryan Dempster.
  • It appears that both Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney will become permanent fixtures at the top of the lineup. Mike Quade told reporters that he really likes what those two have to offer at the top of the lineup and plans to keep them there. While I do not think Starlin Castro projects as a leadoff hitter, for the time being, Castro is a better than any for the leadoff spot.

Who’s Hot?

  • Darwin Barney–After going into Spring Training fighting for a spot on the 25-man roster, Barney is now on the verge of becoming an everyday player. After another impressive series that saw Barney hit .364/.500/.636 against the Houston Astros, manager Mike Quade had nothing but praise for the 25-year old second baseman. In fact, Quade has hinted that Barney may soon take over as the full-time second baseman.

Who’s Not?

  • Tyler Colvin–First the good news; this was the best series of the season for Tyler Colvin offensively. The bad news; Colvin only hit .182/.250/.545 with one home run this series. Colvin has gotten off to an incredibly slow start to the season as he is only hitting .147/.237/.382 with 2 home runs. There always is caution about when to start the panic alert for a player, but for Colvin this may be the appropriate time. Going back to last season multiple scouts and insiders insisted that Colvin was not an everyday player, and so far, Colvin is living up to those reports. But to his credit, most of his playing time has been in unfavorable match-ups as he is a left handed hitter facing a left handed pitcher. But that has not stopped certain sites from possibly beginning the Brett Jackson watch.