ST. LOUIS - MAY 13: Starting pitcher Bud Norris #20 of the Houston Astros throws against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on May 13, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Astros beat the Cardinals 4-1. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
The Astros take the show on the road, looking to take advantage of the only team in the NL Central with a worse record in the Chicago Cubs.
The Astros and Cubs are the NL Central bottom-feeders and neither team is likely to climb its way out any time soon. But the Astros, with such a favorable schedule since playing the Rangers earlier this month, have a decent opportunity to show all of their good pitching and extra-base hitting to a division opponent and rival.
Houston is coming off a series split with the Padres, a series the Stros should have and would have won were it not for a late-game collapse from Brett Myers and Chris Johnson. The Stros were close to victory a couple of times on Thursday night before someone they call Alexi Amarista hit his 1st career home run with a game winning grand slam.
Still, solid pitching and extra-base hits have been the source of everything positive for Houston in the past week. The Cubs will have the clear advantage as the series opens up, since they had the day off on Thursday while the Stros battled in their seventh game in as many days. This series will make it 10 games in 10 days, so Houston fans have to be worried about a fatigue factor playing into this.
That's where Bud Norris comes in. He's the guy who had to spend some time on the disabled list and is making his first appearance since June 12.
The Cubs are in a rebuilding mode like the Astros are, but both teams have quite a bit of young talent, so this series shouldn't be boring despite what the records show.
Take a look at the series schedule here:
Game 1: Fri, Jun 29 2:20 PM ET
Houston @ Cubs - Probable starters: Bud Norris vs. Paul Maholm (4-6, 5.38 ERA)
Game 2: Sat, Jun 30 4:05 PM ET
Houston @ Cubs - Probable starters: J.A. Happ (6-7, 4.83 ERA) vs. Matt Garza (3-6, 4.06 ERA)