Houston (33-66) at Chicago (40-60)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Chicago, IL
Temp: 57° F
  • Game info: 1:05 pm EDT Sat Jul 23, 2011
  • TV: FSH, CSN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Judging by his recent production, the Chicago CubsAramis Ramirez(notes) doesn’t appear too concerned about any trade rumors.

Even the hot-hitting Ramirez, though, might not have enough to help his team if Randy Wells’(notes) struggles continue.

The right-hander will try to earn his first win since April 4 on Saturday during his first matchup this season with the major league-worst Houston Astros.

Ramirez’s two-run shot in the fifth inning Friday led the Cubs to a 4-2 victory that ended a five-game home skid to the Astros (33-66).

The Cubs third baseman is batting .378 with 13 homers and 27 RBIs over his last 26 games while his teammates are hitting .241 with 15 homers over that span.

Ramirez said earlier this month that he would veto any trade, citing family concerns. Derrek Lee(notes) gave a similar reason last July for thwarting the Cubs’ attempts to trade him to the Los Angeles Angels but was shipped to Atlanta in August.

For now, the Cubs (40-60) will try to use Ramirez’s surge to win back-to-back games for the first time this month. A better performance from Wells (1-3, 6.71 ERA) would also help.

The right-hander is 0-3 with a 7.38 ERA in his last nine starts and has given up at least four runs in five consecutive starts. He allowed four runs over six innings Sunday - three in the opening frame - and did not get a decision in a 7-5 loss to Florida.

“I’m hoping for as good an outing as I’ve seen from him in quite some time,” manager Mike Quade told the team’s official website.

Wells, who has given up a combined 12 runs in the first innings of his past five outings, went 0-3 with a 6.88 ERA in three matchups with Houston last season. He did not allow an earned run to the Astros over 20 2-3 innings in 2009, winning two of three starts.

Pitching opposite Wandy Rodriguez(notes) (6-6, 3.67) might give him a shot at another win. The Astros left-hander is 0-2 with a 7.41 ERA in his three starts this month.

He tied a career high with 11 strikeouts Sunday against Pittsburgh but also failed to protect a pair of one-run leads, blowing one by giving up a two-run double to Pirates starter Kevin Correia(notes). Rodriguez avoided another loss when Houston rallied to tie the game in an eventual 7-5 defeat.

“I think my biggest mistake today was when the pitcher was hitting,” Rodriguez said. “I got behind in the count, and I tried to make a good pitch, and he hit the pitch very well.

Rodriguez is 5-5 with a 4.04 ERA in 17 career starts against Chicago and gave up five runs over five innings during a 9-5 loss in Houston on April 13. He’s 2-0 with a 3.55 ERA in his last six at Wrigley Field after going 0-3 with an 11.08 ERA in his first three.

He might find it difficult to earn another win in Chicago as the Astros have dropped 13 of 17 on the road and are one loss shy of matching a season-high six-game skid May 7-19.

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Starting Pitchers

W. Rodríguez Tex vs. R. Wells Tex
11-11 Record 7-6
3.49 ERA 4.99
166 K 82
69 BB 47
1.31 WHIP 1.39

Scoreboard

Saturday, Jul 23