Coming off their first series win since mid-June, the Houston Astros now head to the only ballpark where they have pulled off a sweep in 2011.
It seems they have a reasonable chance for another one at Wrigley Field, especially if the Chicago Cubs keep playing so poorly in the field.
As Houston goes for a third straight win, the Cubs look to avoid their worst error streak in more than 30 years as the majors’ worst teams open a three-game set Friday.
The only team with a worse record than Chicago (39-60) is the Astros (33-65), but they are coming off consecutive victories over Washington.
It was their first series victory since taking two of three versus the Los Angeles Dodgers from June 17-19.
The Astros haven’t won three games in a row since taking a season-high four straight from May 30-June 3, a stretch which began with three victories at Wrigley.
Houston scored 22 runs and hit .336 in that series but was helped by four errors from the Cubs, who haven’t been any better defensively of late.
They have committed at least one error in nine consecutive games. Chicago hasn’t had an error in 10 straight since Sept. 14-24, 1980.
“Now, it’s a matter of putting the negativity behind us, play with some … intensity and continue to work on the fundamentals,” manager Mike Quade said.
The Cubs, 2-5 on a 10-game homestand, haven’t won a series since taking three of four against Milwaukee from June 13-16.
Carlos Zambrano(notes) (6-5, 4.78 ERA) takes the mound for Chicago. He’s coming off a dreadful return from the disabled list, allowing a season-high eight runs in 4 2-3 innings Saturday in a 13-3 loss to Florida.
“I felt good, my fastball was good,” said Zambrano, who was out with a sore back. “My arm, body (were) good. Intelligence? Not good.”
Norris missed a chance to win his second straight outing Saturday. He blew a 3-0 lead as he gave up four runs and nine hits, including a season-high three homers, in 5 2-3 innings of a 6-4 win over Pittsburgh.
The Astros have won nine of 11 at Wrigley.