9/16 Extra bases
Starlin Castro drew a walk to leadoff the first inning Friday and now has reached base safely in a career-high 29 straight games. He’s the second Cub since 2003 to do so in at least 20 games since Ryan Theriot reached in 28 in a row in 2007.
* With 12 games remaining, the Cubs have three relievers who have appeared in at least 70 games, led by Sean Marshall with 73 appearances. Mike Quade said he’ll make sure not to overuse Marshall, who set a career high with 80 games last season. Rookie lefty John Gaub can take some of the pressure off in the final games. The Cubs are 11th in the National League in relief appearances with 465 heading into Friday’s game against the Astros, and the bullpen has compiled a 3.62 ERA.
* The Cubs will try to get Ryan Dempster three more starts in the final 12 games to give him a chance at 200 innings. The Cubs have an off day Thursday, and will likely tweak the rotation after that.
* The Brewers’ magic number to clinch the National League Central is eight heading into play Friday. After a three-game set in Cincinnati, Milwaukee comes to Wrigley Field on Monday. There’s a chance they could win the division with wins against the Cubs.
“Obviously, we don’t want that to happen,” Quade said.
— Carrie Muskat