Game Ninety: Cubs (34-55) vs. Mets (54-36)
Game Time – 3:05pm C.T. WGN TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 189
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Carlos Zambrano (8-3, 3.24) vs. Tom Glavine (11-2, 3.48)
Where would the Cubs be if not for Carlos Zambrano over the past three seasons? He is their work horse, their ace and their heart and soul. No matter how good or bad the Cubs are playing you can always bet on the fact that Carlos Zambrano will give the Cubs and the Faithful 110% every fifth day. While Kerry Wood and Mark Prior still get more media attention than Zambrano, the Cubs and the Faithful know who the Cubs true number one starter is. In an attempt to not start a debate, the Cubs have won 202 games in the past 3 1/2 seasons (79-83 in 2005, 89-73 in 2004), Zambrano has won 38 games (14-6 in 2005, 16-8 in 2004) that is 19% of the Cubs victories that Zambrano is responsible for and 21% this season. Zambrano is second in the National League in strikeouts with 124 behind the Reds’ Aaron Harang and is fourth over all in the Major Leagues. Zambrano continues to throw a tremendous amount of pitches per start and he must start limiting his base on balls. Typically a team would like their starter to give up a walk for every three strikeouts and Zambrano is closer to 2 to 1 in that stat. Regardless of the free passes Zambrano has not lost since May 31st when he only gave up 2 runs to the Reds and in his last 13 starts he is 8-1 with a 2.46 ERA and has held his opponents to 2 runs or less in 10 of those games.
The Cubs offense will have their hands full today with Tom Glavine. The veteran lefty has had a very good season pitching for a great team and his stats reflect that. Glavine apparently drank from the same fountain of youth that Maddux did in April and is having his best season in New York. Glavine has not recorded a victory in his last 3 starts, all no decisions, and in those games he has given up 11 runs, 8 earned on 25 hits in 16 1/3 innings of work (4.41 ERA) and has given up 6 walks while recording only 7 strikeouts. Like Trachsel if the Cubs can be patient, Glavine will give them opportunities. After Friday’s game, Trachsel commented that the Cubs were being “very aggressive” at the plate and he felt if he could make good pitches on the first couple of offerings he would be successful, well he was and the advanced scouting really paid off. The Cubs, or any team for that matter, must make the opposing pitcher work and you can bet the Mets will look to do that today with Zambrano.
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