Houston (66-63) at Chicago (71-58)

  • Game info: 2:20 pm EDT Sun Aug 29, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Chicago Cubs will try to keep their emotions in check and hold on to their slim lead in the National League wild card race as they complete a four-game series against the surging Houston Astros at Wrigley Field.

The Cubs, whose lead over the Astros is down to five games after dropping two of three in this series, lost Kyle Farnsworth to a right knee injury after the right-handed reliever kicked a metal fan in frustration after giving up six runs in the ninth inning of Friday’s 15-7 loss to Houston. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday and is expected to miss at least three weeks.

Farnsworth had a 1.93 ERA with 19 strikeouts in July, but has compiled a 19.29 ERA in August.

“He’s obviously had a rough go the last month or so. He pitched really well the first half. Obviously, he was frustrated yesterday and it got the better of him,” Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Saturday.

“You wish you could have handled your frustration differently because it affects not just yourself but everyone else. This game is tough enough to keep everybody healthy and you hate to have injuries that cost DL time that weren’t done on the field.”

The Cubs still maintain a one-game lead over San Francisco, which has also lost its last two games, but they will miss their setup man.

“It makes things a little tougher,” Cubs manager Dusty Baker said.

Aramis Ramirez was 3-for-4 with an RBI for Chicago on Saturday. He is hitting .393 (11-for-28) over his last eight games with three homers and nine RBIs.

The Cubs, who had won seven of eight before the Astros came to town, will start Matt Clement. The right-hander is 7-5 with a 2.88 ERA in 15 starts at Wrigley Field this season following his 13-4 win over Milwaukee on Tuesday. He allowed four runs, seven hits and struck out eight over six innings.

Jeff Bagwell drove in three runs with a 3-for-5 effort Saturday as the Astros won for the 10th time in 13 games.

Bagwell is 7-for-12 (.583) with two homers and seven RBIs in the first three games of this series after hitting just .125 (5-for-40) without an RBI in his previous nine contests.

The first baseman is a career .407 (11-for-27) hitter against Clement witih a homer, five RBIs and 11 walks.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Hernandez TB vs. M. Clement TOR
1-3 Record 9-13
6.43 ERA 3.68
26 K 190
23 BB 77
1.74 WHIP 1.28