SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 01: Paul Maholm #28 of the Chicago Cubs pitches in the six inning against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park on June 1, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Cubs Finish Off Sweep With 3-0 Victory Over Astros

Travis Wood was dazzling in a 3-0 win that give the Cubs a sweep of the Astros

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13 Total Updates since June 29, 2012
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Cubs Vs. Astros Score Update: Chicago Secures Sweep With 3-0 Win

All the Chicago Cubs needed to pull off their second sweep of the season was a visit from the struggling Houston Astros. The Cubs pitching once again had the Astros on their heels, as they picked up their second shutout of the series with a 3-0 win at Wrigley Field.

Travis Wood was excellent on the mound for the Cubs, pitching seven shutout innings and allowing just three hits to earn his third victory of the season. Wandy Rodriguez was impressive for the Astros, as he gave up just five hits and three earned runs in seven innings.

The Cubs did all of their damage at the plate in the sixth inning, with Jeff Baker driving in two runs and Anthony Rizzo driving in a run as well.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more in-depth coverage of this series, head over to Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue and Astros blog Crawfish Boxes. For more from around Major League Baseball, visit Baseball Nation.

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Ian Stewart Injury: Third Baseman Likely Needs Wrist Surgery

Chicago Cubs third baseman Ian Stewart is likely headed towards surgery on his left wrist as a series of injections hasn't provided the expected relief, as Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago reports. Stewart has been on the disabled list since June 14, dealing with soreness in the wrist that has persisted for weeks.

Cubs GM Jed Hoyer spoke with reporters recently about the injury, with Padilla grabbing the quotes:

Yeah, I think it’s a strong likelihood is a strong way to characterize it. He may be able to avoid it but to this point we have tried to exhaust every option to avoid it and it may well end up with surgery. It’s been frustrating for Ian and frustrating for us.

Stewart has been a major disappointment in Chicago since being acquired from the Colorado Rockies last offseason for a package based around outfielder Tyler Colvin. Over 202 plate appearances this season, he's hit .201/.292/.335 with five homers, the second consecutive season that he's put up essentially unacceptable numbers at the big league level.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more in-depth coverage of this series, head over to Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue and Astros blog Crawfish Boxes. For more from around Major League Baseball, visit Baseball Nation.

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Cubs Vs. Astros: Rain Delay Pushes Start Time To 2:15 P.M. CDT

Sunday afternoon's game between the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros has been delayed by weather around Wrigley Field, with the start time being pushed back to 2:15 p.m. CDT. While things were clear in the morning, storm clouds rolled in during the early afternoon to force a game delay.

Travis Wood looks to continue his recent streak of success with the team, so hopefully the weather hasn't knocked him out of rhythm. Over eight starts this year, Wood has a 3.54 ERA with 35 strikeouts and 20 walks in 48.1 innings of work. A win on Sunday would give the Cubs a nice sweep over Houston at Wrigley.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more in-depth coverage of this series, head over to Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue and Astros blog Crawfish Boxes. For more from around Major League Baseball, visit Baseball Nation.

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Cubs Vs. Astros Preview: Wood, Wandy Battle On Sunday

On Wednesday, the Chicago Cubs had a chance to grab their second sweep of the 2012 season vs. the New York Mets. The result of that game was a 17-1 loss, but they find themselves in the same position heading into Sunday's game vs. the Houston Astros.

Leading the Cubs as they try to finally get that second sweep is Travis Wood, who has quietly lowered his season ERA to 3.54 and his WHIP to 1.20. In his eight starts this season, Wood has posted a quality start in all but one, in which he gave up six earned runs in five innings to the San Diego Padres on May 28. Wood has yet to face the Astros in 2012, but he has a solid chance to extend his quality start streak to six.

The Cubs, meanwhile, will be facing familiar nemesis Wandy Rodriguez. Rodriguez has faced the Cubs once this season, giving up a single earned run in seven innings back on May 23. The good news for the Cubs is that Rodriguez slipped a bit in June, posting an ERA of six and a BAA of .306 in five starts.

Game date/time: Sunday, July 1, 1:20 p.m. CT

Location: Wrigley Field, Chicago, Ill.

TV: CSN

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more in-depth coverage of this series, head over to Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue and Astros blog Crawfish Boxes. For more from around Major League Baseball, visit Baseball Nation.

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Cubs Vs. Astros Score Update: Rizzo Home Run Gives Chicago Win

With the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros out of any postseason contention at this point, the youth movement for both teams will be key. The Cubs received a huge boost from one of their top young guys, as Anthony RIzzo hit the first home run of his career to propel Chicago to a 3-2 win.

Rizzo, who hit his two-run homer off of J.A Happ in the 5th inning, has been an immediate hit since coming up from the minor leagues. Rizzo now has 4 hits in 15 at-bats. Matt Garza pitched well to earn his 4th win of the season. Garza allowed only two earned runs in 5 innings pitched. Despite allowing nine hits, Garza was able to stay out of trouble to help the Cubs come away with their second straight win.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more in-depth coverage of this series, head over to Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue and Astros blog Crawfish Boxes. For more from around Major League Baseball, visit Baseball Nation.

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Cubs Roster 2012: Volstad Set To Return On Tuesday

After struggling during the first two months of the season, the Chicago Cubs believe that Chris Volstad is ready to return to the rotation. ESPNChicago reports he is scheduled to start on Tuesday:

Chris Volstad is on his way back and will take the mound Tuesday for the Cubs in Atlanta.

The tall right-hander had been cut down to size early in the season when he began the year 0-6 and the Cubs had lost each one of his eight starts. He was finally sent down to Triple-A Iowa, where he delivered mixed results.

His 4.44 ERA at Iowa was better than his 7.46 mark with the Cubs, but he has gone just 2-3 at Triple-A. He has pitched better of late, though, and Tuesday is his regularly-scheduled day to pitch.

Volstad will need to continue to work on his mental ability according to Cubs manager Dave Sveum, who commented on Volstad's tendency to struggle and have a meltdown inning:

"Who knows what it is; that’s always the million-dollar question," Sveum said, "It’s been mainly getting through an inning when a little trouble comes up. That’s what he had trouble doing. He had as many shutout innings as anybody, he just couldn’t reduce some of those (big) innings to one run. It was always multiple-run innings."

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more in-depth coverage of this series, head over to Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue and Astros blog Crawfish Boxes. For more from around Major League Baseball, visit Baseball Nation.

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Cubs Vs. Astros Lineups: Soriano Hits Cleanup As Chicago Looks For Second Straight Win

After opening their series against the Houston Astros with a shutout victory, the Chicago Cubs will turn the ball over to Matt Garza this afternoon. In the series-opener, Paul Maholm was dazzling on the mound, throwing 8.1 shutout innings and striking out six batters to improve his record to 5-6.

Garza has been solid over his past five starts, allowing three earned runs or less in each of his appearances. Garza picked up a loss in his last outing, although he allowed only three earned runs and struck out seven batters in 7.0 innings.

Cubs Astros
1. David DeJesus (L) CF 1. Jordan Schafer (L) CF
2. Starlin Castro (R) SS 2. Jed Lowrie (S) SS
3. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B 3. Carlos Lee (R) 1B
4. Alfonso Soriano (R) LF 4. Brian Bogusevic (L) RF
5. Bryan LaHair (L) RF 5. Chris Johnson (R) 3B
6. Geovany Soto (R) C 6. Jason Castro (L) C
7. Darwin Barney (R) 2B 7. J.D. Martinez (R) LF
8. Luis Valbuena (L) 3B 8. Scott Moore (L) 2B
9. Matt Garza (R) P 9. J.A. Happ (L) P

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more in-depth coverage of this series, head over to Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue and Astros blog Crawfish Boxes. For more from around Major League Baseball, visit Baseball Nation.

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Astros Vs. Cubs: Matt Garza Starts On Saturday

The Chicago Cubs grabbed a 4-0 victory on Friday behind a stellar performance from Paul Maholm (four hits allowed over 8.1 innings), and Matt Garza will try to keep that trend going against Major League Baseball's worst road team when he takes the mound on Saturday afternoon. Houston starter J.A. Happ (6-7, 4.83 ERA) has struggled on the road, posting a 7.36 ERA over 25.2 innings away from Minute Maid Ballpark. Meanwhile, Garza (3-6, 4.06 ERA) has been strong at home, compiling a 2.36 ERA over 34.1 innings at Wrigley Field this season.

Here is the TV schedule and first pitch for Saturday:

Game 2 Date & Time: Saturday, June 30, 3:05 p.m. CT

TV: WGN

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more in-depth coverage of this series, head over to Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue and Astros blog Crawfish Boxes. For more from around Major League Baseball, visit Baseball Nation.

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MLB Trade Rumors 2012: Dodgers Favorites To Land Cubs RHP Ryan Dempster, According To Report

According to a report from CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, the Los Angeles Dodgers are considered the frontrunners for Chicago Cubs starter Ryan Dempster.

The Dodgers are viewed as a favorite to land Cubs star starter Ryan Dempster once he returns from the disabled list, sources suggest to CBSSports.com.

While the sides haven't talked since the week before Dempster went on the disabled list, a person familiar with the situation suggested the Dodgers have a very good chance to land the veteran right-hander.

Related: Ryan Dempster Injury Update: Cubs Pitcher Will Not Be Ready Until After All-Star Break

Dempster is currently rehabbing an injury and isn't going to return to the field until after the All-Star break. He's 3-3 with a 2.11 ERA in 2012.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more in-depth coverage, head over to Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue. For more from around Major League Baseball, visit Baseball Nation.

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Astros Vs. Cubs Final Score: Chicago Shuts Out Houston 4-0

The Chicago Cubs defeated the Houston Astros 4-0 at Wrigley Field on Friday afternoon behind a strong start from Paul Maholm and three home runs from the offense

Related: Ryan Dempster Injury Update: Cubs Pitcher Will Not Be Ready Until After All-Star Break

Maholm went 8-1/3 innings and gave up just four hits; he struck out six and walked one. Astros starter Bud Norris lasted six innings and was responsible for all four Cubs runs.

Chicago go the scoring started in the second inning with a solo home run from Luis Valbuena. Steve Clevenger hit a two-run shot in the fourth and Alfonso Soriano rounded out the scoring with a towering solo home run in the sixth.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more in-depth coverage of this series, head over to Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue and Astros blog Crawfish Boxes. For more from around Major League Baseball, visit Baseball Nation.

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Ryan Dempster Injury Update: Cubs Pitcher Will Not Be Ready Until After All-Star Break

Carrie Muskat of Cubs.com is reporting that SP Ryan Dempster will not be ready to return to the Chicago Cubs rotation until after the upcoming 2012 All-Star Break.

Dempster was in the middle of a career year with the Cubs, sporting an impressive 2.11 ERA and 3.25 FIP through 12 starts. The 35-year-old veteran is widely considered one of the team's top trade chips, but as long has he is on the injury list, the team may have difficulty finding a trade partner.

In Dempster's absence, the Cubs have used a variety of starters, including SP Randy Wells -- recently optioned back to Triple-A Iowa -- and SP Travis Wood -- who was acquired in the RP Sean Marshall trade and has pitched well since joining the club.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more in-depth coverage of this series, head over to Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue and Astros blog Crawfish Boxes. For more from around Major League Baseball, visit Baseball Nation.

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Astros Vs. Cubs Lineups: Alfonso Soriano Hitting Cleanup Against Bud Norris

The Chicago Cubs (26-49) have struggled mightily in the 2012 MLB season, but they have a chance to dig themselves out of last place on Friday as they square off against the NL Central's second-worst team, the Houston Astros (32-44).

The Cubs will slot LF Alfonso Soriano in the cleanup slot, hitting a strong .270/.330/.486 slash. Righty SP Bud Norris takes the mound, but Soriano, who has struggled against right-handed pitching over the last few seasons, has an .822 OPS this season against righties. The Cubs are hoping he can continue that resurgence and inflate his curiously limited trade value.

Here is a look at the lineups, courtesy of MLB Daily Lineups:

Cubs Lineup

  1. David DeJesus (L) CF
  2. Starlin Castro (R) SS
  3. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
  4. Alfonso Soriano (R) LF
  5. Bryan LaHair (L) RF
  6. Steve Clevenger (L) C
  7. Darwin Barney (R) 2B
  8. Luis Valbuena (L) 3B
  9. Paul Maholm (L) P

Astros Lineup

  1. Brian Bixler (R) SS
  2. Brian Bogusevic (L) RF
  3. Carlos Lee (R) 1B
  4. J.D. Martinez (R) LF
  5. Chris Snyder (R) C
  6. Chris Johnson (R) 3B
  7. Matt Downs (R) 2B
  8. Jordan Schafer (L) CF
  9. Bud Norris (R) P

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago. For more in-depth coverage of this series, head over to Cubs blog Bleed Cubbie Blue and Astros blog Crawfish Boxes. For more from around Major League Baseball, visit Baseball Nation.

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Astros Vs. Cubs: NL Central Cellar-Dwellers Meet Over Weekend

The Chicago Cubs host the Houston Astros for a three-game series over the weekend.

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