Game One Hundred Thirty-Seven: Cubs (55-81) vs. Pirates (54-83)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T. WGN TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 189
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Carlos Zambrano (14-5, 3.33) vs. Paul Maholm (6-10, 4.84)
Updated 11:13am CT with Roster Moves – Marmol Activated – Moore Recalled from Triple-A Iowa
Happy Labor Day….the “Battle for the Basement” continues today and the pitching match-up is a rematch from last Tuesday. Carlos Zambrano is still among the favorites to win the NL Cy Young Award but a repeat performance against the Pirates would put an end to him being discussed among the elite starting pitchers in the National League. Zambrano lost his composure last Tuesday, committed 2 errors in the field and recorded a no-decision against what was thought to be the worst team in the league. Zambrano has had 2 very troublesome outings against the Bucs; he has given up 10 runs on 16 hits in 13 innings of work (6.92 ERA) and is 0-1 on the season. If Zambrano wants to take the title of “Ace of the Staff” he has to earn it and lead by example. While his fire is welcome, what happened last week against the Pirates is inexcusable for a “leader” of a team. With 25 games left, including today, if Zambrano wants to reach 20 he MUST pitch the way he is capable, do not try to throw the perfect pitch, record outs, keep his pitch count low and maybe, just maybe become the first Cub to throw a complete game this season. Zambrano is 2-2 with a 3.63 ERA in his last 6 starts and is 7-3 in 13 career starts against the Pirates with a 3.76 ERA.
Paul Maholm did everything he could to give the Cubs and Zambrano the win last Tuesday. The Cubs scored 4 runs on 7 hits in 5 innings but the 3 walks led to early trouble for Maholm….he threw 113 pitches in those 5 innings. Maholm has trouble throwing strikes and the Cubs must take advantage of his gifts. The Cubs have hit lefties better of late and Derrek Lee should get the start today. Maholm is third on the Pirates staff in wins and is 1-0 in 2 career games against the Cubs with a 3.86 ERA.
The Cubs arguably played their worst ball of the season last week in Pittsburgh and were embarrassed in the 3-game sweep. The Cubs must return the favor or a 100-loss season and a last place finish in the Central as well as the National League are in their future.
Let’s Talk Cubbies Baseball….
Roster Moves – According to a report on Cubs.com, Carlos Marmol was activated from the 15-day DL and Scott Moore was recalled from Triple-A Iowa.