Houston Astros visiting Chicago this week; does anyone care?

Jeff Samardzija gets the Chicago Cubs off to a good start against the Houston Astros with a 7-1 win Monday night. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune)

The Chicago Cubs were among the sellers at this year’s trading deadline, and that was just fine with most Cubs fans. Out with the old (Dempster, Soto, Reed Johnson, and others) and in with the new (we’ll hopefully know their names a couple of years down the road). This was a turning of the page, a fresh start and a chance to find out how much promise the future holds. And as it turns out, perhaps “Wait ’til next year” won’t be enough time for this team to compete.

The Cubs are 2-10 in the month of August. To put that in some perspective, consider that they were 15-10 in the month of July. The All-Star break skewed those numbers a little bit, but last month’s trading deadline hasn’t turned out to be the boon that we were hoping for. Not yet, anyway.

Perhaps the biggest thing the Cubs have going for them the rest of the way is their schedule. Beginning with Monday night’s 7-1 win against the Houston Astros, the Cubs play baseball’s lowliest team nine times, including six games at home. If the Cubs can’t beat the Astros at home, you can expect even less friendliness than there already is at the corner of Waveland and Sheffield Avenues. Or maybe we’ll be looking at the Empty Confines over the next few days.

Houston seems determined to end its half-century in the National League with a resounding thud. Their road record now stands at a gruesome 11-46, which suggests that their farewell tour to venues like Dodger Stadium and Turner Field has mostly consisted of handing out victories to their hosts.

This won’t be the Astros’ last National League visit to Wrigley Field — we somehow have to wait until October to see that — but there’s no reason at all to expect anything but a Cubs sweep in the coming few days. Anything less will be truly inexcusable.

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