Chicago (71-59) at Washington (55-75)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Montreal, QC
Temp: 81° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Mon Aug 30, 2004
  • TV: WGN, ESPN2
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Chicago Cubs hope Greg Maddux can help them snap a three-game losing streak as they open a three-game set with the Montreal Expos at Olympic Stadium.

The Cubs lost 10-3 to the Houston Astros, remaining winless since taking eight of nine games. The loss dropped Chicago back into a tie with San Diego and San Francisco atop the NL wild card standings.

The Padres beat the Expos 11-3 on Sunday, and the Giants beat the Atlanta Braves 9-5.

“They got behind early in the last three games,” manager Dusty Baker said. “Playing catch up is hard in this league. We go on the road, have the first at-bat, and, hopefully, they can play catch up.”

Corey Patterson and Moises Alou each hit a solo homers for Chicago, which trailed 3-1 after two innings.

“We lost a few games in the past few days, but we have to bounce back and get the Expos the next few days,” Patterson said. “We know what we have to do and what to expect from each other. Sometimes it’s not us, sometimes the other team is better than you that day. Maybe we didn’t play that well.”

Starter Matt Clement left the game in the fifth inning with an upper back and neck strain, but said he does not expect to miss a start.

The Cubs hope Maddux can help them build an early lead. The veteran right-hander, who won his 300th career game earlier this month, threw eight strong innings in his last start on Wednesday, giving up just one run and four hits and striking out eight. However, he did not receive the decision in the Cubs’ 4-2 win.

“We’re looking forward to Greg pitching,” Baker said of Monday’s game. “It’s a little different game on turf, a quicker game. We haven’t played on turf since last year in Puerto Rico, and they’ve been playing pretty good ball since the break. We have to take them seriously.”

Endy Chavez doubled in a run in the Expos’ loss, their fourth in six games. Brad Wilkerson was hit by a pitch in the right knee in the ninth inning and was helped off the field by manager Frank Robinson and assistant trainer Tim Abraham.

“It hit pretty good,” said Wilkerson, who was taken to the hospital for precautionary X-rays and will be re-evaluated Monday.

“I hope he’s not down for very long, but who knows?” Robinson said.

STANDINGS (through Aug. 28): Cubs - 2nd place, 14 GB, NL Central. Expos - 5th place, 20 1/2 GB, NL East.

CUBS PROBABLE STARTER: Maddux (12-8, 3.86 ERA). Maddux is 23-16 with a 2.54 ERA in 55 career appearances against the Expos.

EXPOS PROBABLE STARTER: Rocky Biddle (4-7, 7.42 ERA). Biddle allowed a season-high seven runs and six hits in 4 2-3 innings of Tuesday’s 10-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 28-year-old right-hander is 0-0 with a 1.93 ERA in seven career appearances, including one start, against the Cubs—his best ERA against any NL team besides the Expos, whom he faced once while still with the Chicago White Sox.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Cubs - Aramis Ramirez, .317 avg.; Alou, 33 HRs, 86 RBIs and 84 runs; Patterson, 25 SBs. Expos - Jose Vidro, .294 avg.; Wilkerson, 25 HRs and 90 runs; Tony Batista, 84 RBIs; Chavez, 22 SBs.

2003 SEASON SERIES: Tied, 3-3.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Cubs - Baker is just one win shy of 1,000 as a manager. … C Michael Barrett, who spent the first six seasons of his career with the Expos, went 0-for-3 Sunday, snapping his 12-game hitting streak. … 3B Ramirez did not start Sunday after aggravating his sore groin. He was listed as day to day. … SS Nomar Garciaparra, who is playing with a tender right Achilles’, may be held out of one game during this series so he will not have to play three straight on turf. Expos - Rookie OF Ryan Church was unavailable Sunday because of the flu and SS Alex Gonzalez missed his third straight start with a bruised right wrist. … SS Gonzalez, who was acquired by the Expos from the Cubs in a four-team deal that sent Garciaparra to Chicago at the trading deadline, is batting .273 since joining Montreal. … Montreal, which has made the second-fewest errors in the NL, had five in Sunday’s game—one short of the franchise record.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Cubs - 34-31 on the road; Expos - 31-34 at home.

INJURIES: Cubs - OF Todd Hollandsworth (shin), 15-day DL; RHP Joe Borowski (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Kyle Farnsworth (knee), 15-day DL. Expos - 1B Nick Johnson (cheekbone), 15-day DL; RHP Francis Beltran (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Zach Day (finger), 15-day DL; RHP Jon Rauch (oblique), 15-day DL; RHP Tomo Ohka (forearm), 60-day DL; RHP Dan Smith (shoulder), 60-day DL; 2B Vidro (knee), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

G. Maddux LAD vs. R. Biddle Was
16-11 Record 4-8
4.02 ERA 6.92
151 K 51
33 BB 31
1.18 WHIP 1.65