Game One Hundred Twenty-Seven: Cubs (53-73) vs. Phillies (64-62)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T. WGN TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Carlos Zambrano (13-5, 3.34) vs. Cole Hamels (6-6, 4.40)
Here is the good news….Carlos Zambrano is scheduled to take the ball today for the Cubs. Here is the bad news….the Cubs will face a left-handed rookie in Cole Hamels, not a good recipe to avoid a sweep and for Zambrano to become the first 14-game winner in the National League. Big Z has pitched well of late but Hamels has actually out pitched him over his last 4 starts, this one should be a dandy. Zambrano bounced back in his last two starts from back-to-back losses to the Pirates and Brewers. He was spectacular in Houston and gave up only 2 runs on 6 hits against the Cardinals last Saturday but the bullpen could not hold the lead and kept Zambrano from winning his 14th of the season. The Cubs need a big start from Zambrano and, of course, a win. The Cubs are the only big league team not to register a complete game and while that would be great, 8 strong from Zambrano and a solid performance from Ryan Dempster might get the job done.
After a rough start to his Major League career, something clicked….Hamels has put it together of late and is 3-1 in his last 4 games with a 1.33 ERA, just 4 earned runs in 27 innings while striking out 34 and walking just 4….that is not a typo. The Cubs will have their hands full and it should be very interesting to see how they handle a pitcher they have never faced and a lefty at that, this game could be over in 2 hours. Hamels has struck out as many as 12 in a game twice this season and in his last 50 1/3 innings he has allowed just 13 free passes. The rookie throws strikes but the question is, will the Cubs be able to get a hit, much less score a run?
The over and under on this game should be around 2 and should be decided by the bullpens….if Z is on his game.
Let’s Talk Cubbies Baseball….