Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Reds – 09/23/06

Game One Hundred Fifty-Five: Cubs (62-92) vs. Reds (75-78)
Game Time – 5:10pm C.T. WGN TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 186
Location – Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati

Carlos Zambrano (15-6, 3.38) vs. Kyle Lohse (4-9, 5.81)

Carlos Zambrano is scheduled to take the mound tonight in search of his 16th victory of the season. Considering he pitches for a team with just 62 wins entering tonight’s contest it is pretty remarkable. Zambrano is still in the running for the Cy Young Award but according to ESPN he is ranked behind Chris Carpenter and Brandon Webb and in all likelihood will finish 3rd in the voting behind those two. Zambrano has had a tremendous season and will be the cornerstone they build their rotation around next season.

The Cubs will get a chance to take their first look at Kyle Lohse. Lohse was drafted by the Cubs in the 29th round of the 1996 draft and has never faced the team that drafted him. Lohse started the season with the Twins and was acquired at the trading deadline from Minnesota for right-handed pitcher Zack Ward. Lohse has not had a good stint with the Reds and is 1-3 with a 6.65 ERA in his last 4 games. He has given up 16 runs on 27 hits in 21 2/3 innings. Against the Padres on September 13th, Lohse gave up 7 runs on 8 hits in 2 1/3 innings of work. The Cubs will have plenty of opportunities against Lohse.

Carlos Zambrano was very good in his last outing and shutout the Reds in 7 innings of work. Zambrano is pure emotion and for him to finish the season strong would be a plus for next year. Remember he is just one home run short of the Cubs record for a pitcher, 6.

This team will have a different look when it takes the field next season for Opening Day against the Reds. The Cubs have only two pitchers in Zambrano and Hill that should be locks when they leave Mesa, they will have to find three other injury free pitchers to build their rotation. Juan Mateo has looked solid at times but has not been consistent. Sean Marshall has struggled since coming back from the DL and will likely battle Mateo and Jae Kuk Ryu for the 5th spot in the rotation next season. The Cubs will still need to obtain two strong starters without a history of injuries to plug in the other two spots. Wade Miller could figure into the equation but his contract demands could be more than the Cubs are willing to spend for a pitcher with his injury history.

Let’s Talk Cubbies Baseball and Go Irish!!

Quote of the Day

"From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life." – Arthur Ashe