Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. White Sox – 05/20/07

Game Forty-Two: Cubs (20-21) vs. White Sox (20-19)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T. WGN (White Sox)/Comcast Sports Net (Cubs), WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 176
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Carlos Zambrano (4-3, 5.13/1.53) vs. Nick Masset (1-1, 6.61/1.78)

Game Three of the Crosstown Classic…. After winning the first two games of the weekend series in come from behind fashion, the Cubs will look for their first 3-game sweep of the White Sox since 2004 behind their ace, Carlos Zambrano. Zambrano is coming off his best outing of the year against the Mets last Tuesday when he pitched 8 strong innings against the best team in the National League.

Ozzie Guillen does not want to leave his favorite place with a .500 team and will do everything he can to prevent a sweep. Jose Contreras was scheduled to start today’s game but due to him pitching the first game of the double header against the Yankees last Wednesday, the White Sox have decided to give Nick Masset his first career big league start.

Lou Piniella is a man of his word and changes have begun to take place with his pitching staff. Angel Guzman has been sent back to the bullpen seemingly paving the way for the Cubs to recall Sean Marshall from Iowa to take his place in the starting rotation. Several rumors on Saturday mentioned the possibility of Piniella converting Ryan Dempster back to a starter but that scenario appears to be on the back burner for now. A report in the Chicago Tribune mentioned the Cubs would likely put Scott Eyre on the DL in order to make room for Marshall to be added to the big league roster.

The Cubs need the Carlos Zambrano that took the ball at Shea Stadium last week, not the one that has been parading around in the familiar number 38 jersey this season. Zambrano recorded his longest outing of the year and his most effective. He completed 8 innings, batted in the top of the 9th and many thought he would take the hill to complete the game. Scott Eyre threw the 9th in mop up duty instead. Zambrano was very effective early in the game for the first time this season and that allowed him to throw one less pitch (116) than his previous outing (117) and go 2 innings longer (8 innings on May 15 – 6 innings on May 10).

Zambrano is 4-1 in 7 career starts (9 career appearances) against the White Sox with a 4.31 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP. Last year Zambrano was responsible for the two wins against the White Sox (May 21st and July 2nd) despite posting a 7.62 ERA in the games (11 earned runs on 11 hits in 13 innings, including 5 home runs).

  • Paul Konerko – 6-17, with 3 home runs and 5 RBI’s
  • Rob Mackowiak – 10-30, with 4 doubles, a triple, a home run, 4 RBI’s and 7 walks
  • A.J. Pierzynski – 3-9, with a home run and 2 RBI’s
  • Juan Uribe – 2-16, with a double, a home run and 3 RBI’s

Nick Masset will make his first career start after spending his brief Major League career in either the White Sox or Rangers’ bullpen. Masset was an 8th round pick for the Rangers in the 2000 draft and was acquired from the Rangers in the Brandon McCarthy trade on December 23rd of last year (John Danks, Nick Masset and Jacob Rasner for Brandon McCarthy and outfielder David Paisano). Masset was a starter in the Rangers’ organization and posted decent numbers in 2006 with stops in Double-A and Triple-A.

  • Double-A Frisco – 2-2 with a 2.06 ERA with a 1.21 WHIP in 8 starts, 20 walks and 40 strikeouts in 48 innings
  • Triple-A Oklahoma – 4-5 with a 4.81 ERA with a 1.59 WHIP in 7 starts (24 games), 28 walks and 65 strikeouts in 67 1/3 innings

Ozzie Guillen stated he is looking for just 4 innings from his starter and will use his bullpen the rest of the way if necessary. Masset pitched 4 2/3 innings of relief on April 5th against Cleveland when he took over for Mark Buehrle when he was hit on his left arm and had to leave the game. Masset has not pitched more than 2 1/3 innings in any outing since with a majority of his appearances being less than an inning. In his last 4 appearances he has pitched a total of 2 1/3 innings and has given up 6 runs on 5 hits. In Masset’s last outing against the Royals he gave up 4 runs on 3 hits with 3 walks in 2/3 of an inning….the last time he recorded a strikeout was April 22nd and since he has walked 4 in 3 innings.

Today will be Nick Masset’s first career appearance against the Cubs….usually a recipe for a long day at the plate for the Cubs offense.

Let’s Talk Crosstown Classic Baseball….

Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver