Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. White Sox – 05/21/06

Game Forty-Three: Cubs (17-25) vs. White Sox (28-14)
Game Time – 1:05pm C.T. Comcast SportsNet(Cubs)/WGN TV(White Sox), WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 181
Location – U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago

Carlos Zambrano (2-2, 3.34) vs. Jose Contreras (5-0, 1.41)

Updated – 2:33pm C.T. with Roster Moves – Rich Hill Optioned, Michael Wuertz recalled and Kerry Wood May Miss Next Start

Carlos Zambrano goes to the mound today in search of his third consecutive victory and to end the Cubs current 3-game losing streak. The White Sox have shown the Cubs in the first two games of the series how to play winning baseball, let’s hope the Cubs have taken notes. Jose Contreras is scheduled to come off the DL today and make his first start since May 4th. Contreras has yet to lose a ballgame this year and as been dominant in the six starts he has made with only allowing 2-runs a game twice, in 44 2/3 innings of work he has allowed only 11 walks and 28 hits.

Carlos Zambrano has been equally as dominant in May as Contreras has been this season. Zambrano is 2-0 with a 0.39 ERA in 3 starts, which is a complete turnaround from his winless April when he was 0-2 with a 5.35 ERA. Zambrano has gotten his control back and the only run he has allowed was on May 10th against the Giants. Walks are still a huge concern for Z, he has given up 35 so far this season in just 56 2/3 innings of work and this White Sox lineup is the best he has faced since April 30th against the Brewers.

How will the Cubs respond from yesterday’s brawl? John Mabry was hurt during the bench-clearing incident and is listed as day to day, he went to the hospital for x-rays. Will Zambrano have a short memory or will his short fuse explode when the Cubs need him most?

The Cubs need this game, with yesterday’s loss they fell a season low eight games below .500 and are now 10 1/2 games behind the division leading Cardinals. They have been outscored this season 206-152 and are in danger of being so far out of the race by the time Derrek Lee (or anybody else) returns that whatever spark he could provide would be pointless.

To borrow an age old cliche, it’s gut check time and with a trip to Florida on the horizon a 4-game winning streak with a day off on Thursday, is just what the Cubs need….let’s just hope they realize it.

Let’s Talk Cubbies Baseball….

Update – The Cubs optioned Rich Hill to AAA Iowa and recalled reliever Michael Wuertz on Sunday. This is a guess…but this probably puts Glendon Rusch back in the rotation.

According to a report Sunday afternoon in the Chicago Tribune by Paul Sullivan, Kerry Wood could miss his next scheduled start on Tuesday against the Florida Marlins. According to the report Wood will throw a side session on Monday and have his scheduled pushed back to the weekend against the Braves.

Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver