The Chicago Cubs need to start another winning streak. After being swept by the Washington Nationals to begin the current road trip 0-4, the Cubs battled back to win four consecutive games. Unfortunately the team dropped a 1-0 game to the Houston Astros on Tuesday, September 11, and must now win the series finale to return to Chicago with a 5-5 record on the trip. For a team that has not had many positive stretches this year, Tuesday's loss was a tough defeat in a game that had no earned runs scored.
Starting pitcher Justin Germano pitched well for the Cubs on Tuesday, allowing three hits and striking out eight Astros batters in five innings. He surrendered just one unearned run, which is all the Astros needed to win the game.
In the third inning, Astros second baseman Jimmy Paredes singled. He advanced to third base on an error by Cubs catcher Steve Clevenger, then scored on a sacrifice fly. Germano struck out the next hitter for the third out in the inning, but the damage was done.
One run should not have been too much for the Cubs' offense to overcome, but Astros starter Jordan Lyles did not give the Cubs any chances to come back. Chicago's batter struggled throughout the game, managing just six hits.
This has been the main problem for this year's Cubs team. As a fan, I don't expect Germano to give the team such a solid outing when he is on the mound. When a pitcher like Germano comes through with a one-run performance, and then the bullpen follows with three scoreless innings, fans expect the offense to be able to turn that into a win. Of course, for the 2012 Chicago Cubs, nothing is certain.
Still, the team has a great chance to even up the road trip record before heading back home. Starter Travis Wood will face Houston's Fernando Abad, and I like the Cubs' chances against the 45-97 Astros. However, at 55-87 themselves, the Cubs are attempting to avoid a 100-loss season, which may come down to the last series of the year, when the team will once again see the Houston Astros on October 1-3.
Mike Patton is a sports fan who grew up in New Orleans cheering for the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Cubs, and LSU Tigers. As a kid in 1987, he made his first trip to Wrigley Field and also slept outside of the Louisiana Superdome to purchase playoff tickets for the Saints' first postseason appearance. Follow Mike on twitter @MikePattonGBS.
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