Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Reds – 09/17/06

Game One Hundred Fifty: Cubs (60-89) vs. Reds (73-75)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T. WGN TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 188
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Carlos Zambrano (14-6, 3.50) vs. Eric Milton (8-7, 4.84)

Only 2 weeks left….Carlos Zambrano will make his first start since September 4th; he was cleared by the doctors and is apparently healthy enough to pitch. Zambrano had his shortest outing of the season, just 1 1/3 innings. He threw batting practice to the Pirates and had trouble throwing strikes. Zambrano considers himself a Cy Young candidate and while that is the case, hopefully him taking the mound this late in the season will not have lingering effects in 2007.

Zambrano has had a dominating season for a team with just 60 wins entering today’s game. Before his last start he had cut down on walks allowed, 4 total in his last 3 full starts, but his pitch counts were still the same. Zambrano’s desire to compete is refreshing but it is also reason for concern. Zambrano is 1-2 in 4 games against the Reds this season with a 4.44 ERA. Z has given up 6 home runs to the Reds this season and for him to be successful today he must keep the Reds in the yard. In 15 career starts, 19 games, Zambrano is 6-5 with a 2.83 ERA.

The Cubs get another shot today against Eric Milton. They beat the southpaw back in June (4 runs, 3 earned on 6 hits in 7 innings) but lost to him when there was still hope in April (3 runs, 2 earned on 6 hits in 6 2/3 innings) and in May (2 runs on 6 hits in 7 2/3 innings). Milton is 2-1 in 3 games with a 2.95 ERA this season against the Cubs. Milton has been outstanding of late and has not allowed more than 3 runs in a start since August 19th against the Pirates. Despite not wining his last 2 starts he has only surrendered 1 earned run in his last 11 innings (0.82 ERA) and 6 earned runs in his last 4. Milton is 3-2 in 11 career games against the Cubs with a 5.59 ERA.

The Reds need the win today to keep their playoff hopes alive, they have fallen to 4 1/2 back, but the Cubs and Zambrano just need the game for no other reason but confidence.

Let’s Talk Cubbies Baseball and Go Bears!!

Quote of the Day

"Baseball, just a game as simple as a ball and a bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes." - Ernie Harwell
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