Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Dodgers – 05/26/07

Game Forty-Seven: Cubs (21-25) vs. Dodgers (28-20)
Game Time – 2:55pm C.T. FOX TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 188
Location – Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles

Carlos Zambrano (4-4, 5.61/1.52) vs. Mark Hendrickson (2-1, 3.22/1.34)

Carlos Zambrano and the Cubs have spent much of the past week trying to explain that nothing is wrong with the either the mechanics or the arm of their ace. Several reports surfaced, most notably an article on the Hardball Times that compared Zambrano’s arm slot this year with his arm slot from 2005. Many suggest he is hurt and just not telling anyone. Zambrano can prove everyone wrong today by pitching the way he did against the Mets and putting a win on the board.

The Cubs offense had another big inning on Friday night but not only did they score a lot of runs and hit the ball well, they took pitches, worked the count and made the pitcher work. If the proverbial light has turned on and they have finally bought into what Lou Piniella and Gerald Perry is teaching it will allow the rest of the team to relax and just go out and perform the way they are capable. The best test to see if the offense has turned the corner will come today against lefty Mark Hendrickson. While he might not be the craftiest of lefties, he is still a southpaw and a big day for the offense might give Piniella’s team some much-needed confidence.

Carlos Zambrano has been plagued by the big inning this season. In several outings this year he has appeared to be on his way to putting together a solid, Zambrano-like start just to stumble with 2 outs and not be able to complete the inning. Zambrano has reportedly been concerned about the amount of walks he has allowed this season and his performance on the mound has suffered. In his last 4 starts he has struck out only six more batters than he has walked (18 strikeouts, 12 walks) and for the season he has walked 31 batters in 61 innings. Zambrano is beating himself and the other teams are sitting back and waiting for it to happen.

Zambrano is 1-1 in 4 career starts (8 games) against the Dodgers with a 1.74 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. In 31 innings he has not allowed a home run and has struck out 30 while walking 12. At Dodger Stadium he is 1-0 in 3 career starts (5 games) with a 0.38 ERA….just 1 earned run in 23 2/3 innings.

Lou Piniella has to be very familiar with Mark Hendrickson, the 6’9″ lefty was with the Devil Rays from 2004 until last season, and after starting the season in the Dodgers’ bullpen has struggled in the rotation after throwing 6 innings of 3-hit shutout ball against the Diamondbacks on May 2nd. In his last 17 innings he has given up 16 runs, 12 earned, on 22 hits while walking 9 and striking out 8….along with 4 home runs. The Cubs will have plenty of opportunities to even the series.

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….

Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax