Game Nine: Cubs (3-5) vs. Reds (5-4)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T. Comcast Sports Net, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 188
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Carlos Zambrano (1-1, 6.00/1.50) vs. Aaron Harang (2-0, 3.55/1.34)
Opening Day….Revisited and Happy Friday the 13th. The Cubs will take the field today after a two-day sabbatical….the weatherman is calling for sun and 50 degrees. The Cubs will get another crack at Aaron Harang who made Opening Day, thirteen days ago, very difficult on the Cubs and the Faithful. The Cubs have struggled to put together back-to-back hits and it will not get any easier today. While the Cubs need Alfonso Soriano’s bat to come alive today, they also need Carlos Zambrano to keep his cool and throw strikes. Zambrano was very un-Zambrano-like on Opening Day, he could not find the strike zone and when he did Adam Dunn launched the ball(s) over the right and right center field wall. Big Z threw as many balls (46) as strikes (46), walked 5 and struck out just 2. In his last start against the Brewers he was much more under control, he threw strikes and Derrek Lee made two gold glove caliber plays in route to his fist win of the season. Zambrano issued just 2 walks and struck out 6 but his strike to ball ratio is still too close for the ace of any staff….on the season he has thrown 201 pitches, 113 strikes but against the Brewers he threw 109 pitches, 67 for strikes. Cubs’ pitching staked the Astros a 1st inning lead in both games this past week in route to losing the 2-game series, Zambrano must have a good 1st inning and keep the Cubs from playing catch-up all day against Aaron Harang.
The first place Cincinnati Reds just finished a 3-game series in the desert losing 2 of 3 against the Diamondbacks. In the process, the “feel-good story” of the spring, Josh Hamilton, hit home runs in the last 2 games of the series. Carlos Zambrano will have his hands full against an offense he gave a back handed compliment to last week.
After an impressive Opening Day against the Cubs (7 innings, 6 hits, 1 run, not earned, 2 walks and 5 strikeouts) he struggled against the Pirates but picked up the win. In 5 2/3 innings, Harang allowed 5 runs, all earned on 8 hits. The Cubs cannot allow Harang to get comfortable on the mound or it will be another long afternoon for the struggling offense.
Ken Griffey Jr. needs just one home run to tie Reggie Jackson for 10th on the All-Time Home Run list with 564.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….