Carlos Zambrano finally broke is his opening day winless streak when the Cubs beat the Houston Astros Monday night 4-2. Zambrano went six plus innings, giving up one run on five hits and striking out six.
Milton Bradley, Kosuke Fukodome and Derek Lee went 0-for-4. Alfonso Soriano connected lead-off home run number 50. Aramis Ramirez also hit a solo shot. One of the not-so-big surprises was Mike Fontenot who went 3 for 4 and scoring twice.
New closer Kevin Gregg got the save after giving up a run in the bottom of the nineth.
The Cubs improved to 43-16 at home with a 11-4 win over the Astros Wednesday. Cubs second baseman Mark Derosa connected for a grandslam in the bottom of the third and Alfonso Soriano followed with a three-run blast.
Jason Marquis scrapped by with the win after giving up four runs in the top of the third. Marquis is now 7-7 with a 4.73 ERA.
The Cubs are now 8-2 for the last ten games. The Cubs have an off day on Thursday before hosting the St. Louis Cardinals for a weekend series. Lilly, Zambrano and Dempster will match up against Braden Looper, former Cub Todd Wellemeyer and the third pitcher will be announced later.
The Cubs are still atop the central division with a five game lead over the Brewers. They hold a 5.5 game lead over the Cardinals. The Cubs continue to hold the best record in the National League.
In other news, the team activated Kerry Wood on Tuesday. To make room for Wood the team designated relief pitcher Scott Eyre for assignment.
Some other stats:
Alfonso Soriano is hitting .395 with five home runs, 11 RBIs and 17 hits over the last ten games.
Mark DeRosa had a five RBI day on Wednesday. He hit his fourth career grand slam in the bottom of the third to put the Cubs ahead for good.
Derek Lee is struggling batting .268 in the last ten games. He went 0-for-4 during Wednesday’s game.
Aramis Ramirez isn’t fairing much better than Lee. Ramirez is batting .306 in the last ten games with 4 RBIs.
Kosuke Fukudome continues to struggle. He’s batting .265 in the last ten games.
Ryan Theriot after having a productive first half, Theriot has begun a backward slide. He’s batting .270 for the last ten games. He is currently batting .200 for the month of August.
Geovanny Soto continues to come out of his July slump. He’s batting .333 for the last ten days. However, he’s batting .235 in the last 30 days. He didn’t start on Tuesday or Wednesday, giving Henry Blanco a chance to get some work in.
Jim Edmonds is earning his place on the team. If there was to be a reflection back on the season of who has contributed to the success of the 2008 Cubs, Edmonds will be at the top of the list.Edmonds is .321 for the last ten games is batting .286 for the last (near his career average) 30 days. Don’t let the numbers fool you… he’s on par to have an average year. And for a guy who didn’t have much of a spring training, that’s a good thing.