The Chicago Cubs watched former NL Central rival Houston switch to the American League for this season. They may be wishing they had joined the Astros.
The Cubs seek their 14th win in 20 interleague games in 2013 when they host the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night.Chicago will be playing its final game of the year against the AL, looking to close out a dominant performance versus those teams. The Cubs (40-48), who hit a season-high five home runs in a 7-2 victory over the Angels on Tuesday, are batting .286 in interleague play compared to .230 versus the NL.They've compiled a 2.84 ERA against AL opponents, compared to 4.08 against their own league.Alfonso Soriano hit two homers Tuesday to give him five in his last four games, and a .367 average in interleague play this year. Seven of his 15 home runs have come against the AL.Soriano has batted .400 with eight home runs and 17 RBIs in his last 11 contests."I'm not going to tell you how we're trying to get him out, but Soriano is a guy if you miss some spots and sometimes if you're hitting spots, he has the ability to hit a wide range of pitches hard like he did tonight," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.Catcher Dioner Navarro went 1 for 3 with a double Tuesday and is batting .405 with seven extra-base hits against AL foes, compared to .238 with five extra-base hits versus the NL.The Cubs have scored 23 runs and posted a 1.66 ERA while winning four in a row, one shy of tying their season high."We have so much talent in this clubhouse," Soriano said. "It's a long season and they have to believe in themselves because they have the talent."Jeff Samardzija (5-8, 3.54 ERA) will look to bounce back from a rough outing after three consecutive strong starts. Samardzija, who went 2-0 with a 2.82 ERA in those three games, surrendered five runs, nine hits and a season-high five walks in a 6-2 loss to Pittsburgh on Friday. He didn't get a decision.Samardzija will likely face former NL Central rival Albert Pujols, who's 5 for 12 with two home runs against him. Pujols ended a 14-game homer drought with a two-run shot Tuesday and is batting .350 during a five-game hitting streak.The Angels (43-46), who had won seven straight on the road entering Tuesday, will send C.J. Wilson (8-6, 3.49) to the mound.The left-hander had won four straight starts before suffering a 6-2 loss to Boston on Friday. He went 6 2/3 innings and gave up a season-high 10 hits and three runs, though only one was earned.The Cubs scored five runs in 5 2/3 innings of a 5-4 victory in Wilson's second and latest appearance against them May 23, 2010. Soriano has reached base in all three of his plate appearances against Wilson, including a home run.
Albert Pujols has a home run in consecutive games for the first time this season.
Pujols and Hamilton have hit back-to-back home runs for the first time as Angels teammates. It's only the 2nd game in which Pujols and Hamilton have both homered as teammates.
Opponents are batting .304 against Jeff Samardzija's fastball and cutter this season. When Samardzija throws his slider, opponents have hit .179.
Josh Hamilton hit two home runs Wednesday, his first multi-home run game this season and eighth multi-home run game of his career.