Game Twenty-Three – Cubs 0 Brewers 9
The Cubs were shutout for the first time this season and did not end the month of April with a win, but did finish the month 13-10, 3 games over .500. Chris Capuano threw a gem allowing only 5 hits (2 in the 8th and 1 in the 9th), he struck out 6 and did not issue a walk. Capuano threw first pitch strikes to 27 of the 30 batters he faced and recorded his first career complete game shutout. Capuano only threw 91 pitches in 9 innings and Carlos Zambrano threw 103 in 4+ innings….Capuano was on the mark and kept the Cubs guessing all day.
The Cubs were outscored on Saturday and Sunday 25-2. Cubs pitching allowed 27 hits, 8 of them were home runs, 17 walks and only struck out 16, while the Cubs offense only managed 13 hits, 6 walks and struck out 10 times in those 2 games. The biggest story of Sunday was the ineffectiveness of Carlos Zambrano. Other than the first inning, the lead off hitter was on base every inning against Zambrano and all of the Brewers hits were for extra bases (Carlos Lee a home run in the 2nd, Brady Clark a double in the 3rd, Prince Fielder a double in the 4th and Rickie Weeks a double in the 5th) Zambrano was missing his spots and of the 103 pitches he threw in 4+ innings of work, only 59 were for strikes. Zambrano gave up 7 runs on 8 hits, he walked 5 and struck out 5. Cubs pitching also gave up 2 more home runs, one by Zambrano and the other by Scott Eyre….that is a total of 8 in two games. Z never looked comfortable, other than the first inning….he seemed less than confident with his stuff and looked like he was trying to aim the ball in the 5th….he was doing everything but pitching in Sunday’s ballgame.
Question….could all of the innings that Zambrano has thrown over the past few seasons be catching up with him? Something is going on, Zambrano is 0 for April and has looked very bad in all of his starts. The Cubs are now 3-3 in Zambrano’s six starts of the season.
The bullpen did a better job on Sunday, but the innings those 7 pitchers have thrown in April is alarming. The bullpen has been very sharp, with a few exceptions, but overall a major improvement of the past few seasons. Williamson, Ohman, and Dempster held the Brewers scoreless and Scott Eyre gave up 2 meaningless runs in the 8th inning to Bill Hall. The bullpen as a whole had a fine first month of the season….hopefully they can keep it up.
The offense only managed 5 hits on Sunday….Capuano was dominating and the Cubs were unable to string together base runners the entire day. Capuano did make a Bush League play in the 1st inning on a run down that involved Ronny Cedeno. Capuano attempted to tag out Cedeno at 1st when he did not have the ball; Cedeno slid into 1st for no reason and risked injury. Gary Matthews argued with Capuano….but to no avail.
Hopefully the Sean Marshall will be able to put an end to the 2 game skid on Monday against the Pirates and all of the time he has spent with Greg Maddux will pay dividends for the Cubs.