Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Cardinals – 07/30/06

Game One Hundred Four: Cubs (42-61) vs. Cardinals (58-45)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T. WGN TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Carlos Zambrano (11-3, 3.27) vs. Chris Carpenter (10-4, 2.68)

Can the Cubs pull off the sweep and win their 4th in a row? On the day that former Cub and Cardinal Bruce Sutter gets inducted into the Hall of Fame, the present and the future of the two teams meet today at Wrigley Field. Both Carlos Zambrano and Chris Carpenter are legitimate Cy Young award candidates this season and today is the second match-up of the year for the two aces. Today’s game could be decided by who scores first.

The Cubs offense has been hitting on all cylinders lately and the last two times Zambrano has taken the hill the Cubs have hit back-to-back home runs for him and he has helped himself as well with the 4 home runs he has hit this season. Today should be a pitchers duel to the end, just like the first time these two faced off.

Zambrano and Carpenter faced each other back on April 8th and neither one received the decision. The Cubs won 3-2 behind a pinch-hit, 2-run homer by Michael Barrett in the 7th and a game winning solo shot by Derrek Lee in the 8th. Carpenter threw 6 innings, did not allow a run and gave up just 4 hits. While Zambrano threw 6 innings as well, the Cardinals scored 2 runs while he was on the mound but both were unearned. He gave up 4 hits as well, but walked 4 to go along with 5 strike outs.

Carpenter has been lights out of late and statistically has pitched better that Zambrano. Carpenter is 4-0 with a 2.23 ERA in July and has allowed just 9 earned runs in his last 5 starts. He threw a complete game, 2-hit shutout against the Dodgers on July 14th and has pitched into the 7th inning in 8 of his last 9 starts. Carpenter was 2-2 with a 3.27 ERA in June, has allowed more than 3 runs twice in his last 10 starts and has shutout his opponent twice out of his last three starts. The Cubs will have to play excellent fundamental ball to break through against Carpenter.

Zambrano on the other hand has won his last 8 in a row and is 5-0 with a 4.36 ERA in July. He has had 2 bad starts, for Zambrano, in those 5 games. Against the Mets and White Sox he allowed 12 of his 16 earned runs for the month. Zambrano has been throwing more strikes as of late and has cut down on his walk total. In order for Zambrano to win his 9th in a row he will have to do more of the same and not give the Cardinals any extra base runners for them to take advantage of.

This is a big game for the Cubs today, despite the season record. A 4-game sweep against the Cardinals would go a long way to rebuilding this organizations fractured psyche.

Useless Trivia Alert – This comes courtesy of the AFLAC Trivia Question during Friday’s game. With Bruce Sutter being inducted into the Hall of Fame today, beside Sutter who are the other two players in the Hall of Fame that wore both the Cubs and Cardinals caps in their career? Answer – Lou Brock and Dizzy Dean

Let’s Talk Cubbies Baseball….

Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon