Game Nineteen: Cubs (7-11) vs. Brewers (11-7)
Game Time – 7:05pm C.T. WCIU, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 185
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Carlos Zambrano (1-2, 7.77/1.86) vs. Claudio Vargas (1-0, 3.46/1.09)
Updated – 6:10pm C.T. – The Cubs recalled Rocky Cherry from Triple-A Iowa and put Wade Miller on the 15-day DL with back spasms before Monday’s game.
Updated – 8:40pm C.T. – Mark Prior, on Tuesday, will undergo a diagnostic arthroscopy on his right shoulder in Birmingham with Dr. James Andrews.
Updated – 8:40pm C.T. – Angel Guzman is expected to be recalled from Triple-A Iowa to replace Wade Miller in the starting rotation….the Cubs will not need a 5th starter until May 1st in Pittsburgh. According to a report on Yahoo.com, Jim Hendry “sounded cautious” about Miller’s future with the Cubs.
Carlos Zambrano better bring his “A” game tonight because the Brewers will have a lot to prove after the statement Zambrano made after beating the Brewers on April 7th. That was then and this is now and the two teams have gone in different directions since Zambrano fired the zinger toward the Brewers and especially their offense. The Cubs have struggled to win back-to-back games and the Brewers have won 6 of their last 9, putting themselves atop of the National League Central while the Cubs are currently at the bottom of the division. The Brewers took the last two games of the series against the Astros after sweeping a 2-game series against the Pirates. Their offense has gotten hot….J.J. Hardy hit home runs in 3 straight games this past week and Bill Hall hit his 4th home run of the season on Sunday. In their last 9 games they have scored 48 runs, but their pitching staff has allowed 50 runs in the same amount of games….the Cubs will need to continue hitting the ball they way the did in the last two games in the Cardinals series if they want to have a winning homestand for the first time this season.
Carlos Zambrano has had a horrible start to the season and after empting the bullpen on Sunday, Lou Piniella will need Zambrano to go deep into the game and show why most consider him the ace of the staff. Zambrano’s biggest problem this season is he cannot throw strikes on a consistent basis and has found himself in hitter’s counts more often than not. In 22 innings this season (averaging just over 5 innings per start) he has allowed 16 walks and 25 hits, add those numbers to the 3 batters he has hit and that is an unbelievable amount of base runners….44. In his previous start against the Braves last Wednesday night, Zambrano gave up 5 runs on 8 hits and 2 more homeruns to run his season total to 6. The Brewers will be looking to make a point tonight and it is too bad Zambrano could have not made his comments against a team he has actually had success against….8-7 with a 4.17 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP in 17 career games (16 starts) against the Brewers. But in his last 29 innings against the Brewers (2-2) he has allowed 23 runs (21 earned) and has given up 5 home runs.
Alfonso Soriano is reportedly going to make his return to the starting lineup tonight but this time in left field….now the question once again becomes, who’s in center?
Claudio Vargas pitched in relief of Dave Bush against the Cubs back on April 6th. Rich Hill dominated the Brewers that Friday night and Bush gave up 6 runs, all in the 1st inning, on 8 hits. Vargas threw 2 innings and gave up 3 runs on 5 hits and a home run to Ronny Cedeno. He pitched very well in his last outing against the Pirates on April 18th and gave up just 2 runs, 1 earned, on 5 hits in 6 innings while striking out 11 and walking just 2. In his 2 starts (11 innings) he has struck out 20 batters and walked 2….great strikeout to walk ratio (10:1). In 5 career games (1 start) against the Cubs, Vargas is 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP….12 runs on 16 hits and 4 home runs allowed in 12 innings.
- Cliff Floyd – 3-7, 2 doubles and a home run
- Cesar Izturis – 4-12, 2 doubles, 1 triple
- Aramis Ramirez – 4-10 with a home run
- Jacque Jones – 2-7 with a home run
The Cubs have to start winning back-to-back games soon and with their “ace” on the hill tonight, it would be a good time to win just one.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….