Game Sixty-Seven: Cubs (31-35) vs. Padres (38-28)
Game Time – 12:05pm C.T. WGN TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 186
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Carlos Zambrano (7-5, 4.89/1.03) vs. Chris Young (6-3, 2.34/1.52)
Seemingly ever time this season when there has been a pitching duel predicted, the game has been decided by the bullpens. While today’s match-up between Carlos Zambrano and Chris Young could turn out that way, at least on paper, this game looks to be a low-scoring one that is if Zambrano can continue to pitch the way he has of late. Zambrano appears to have turned the corner with back-to-back dominating performances against the Brewers and Astros but even with his recent success, Big Z will be Big Z. Zambrano recently made a comment about a gift he received from his new catcher and whoever that may or may not be next season, one thing is for sure, Koyie Hill will be behind the plate today for Lou Piniella’s crew. The Cubs have showed improvement of late but need another solid performance today out of Carlos Zambrano to continue to inch closer to that illusive mark of .500. Zambrano has begun to pitch like, well…. Carlos Zambrano. After an inconsistent start to the season, Zambrano has allowed just 2 earned runs (3 runs total) in his last two starts and the most impressive numbers are his strikeout to walk ratio. In Zambrano’s last 14 2/3 innings he has struck out 17 while walking 4. The only negative stat from his last start was the amount of pitches he threw, 128….a season high.
Zambrano will make his first start of the season today against the Padres and is 4-0 in 6 career starts against the Friars with a 2.17 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP (9 earned runs on 33 hits in 37 1/3 innings with 39 strikeouts and 15 walks).
- Geoff Blum – 5-19, with a double and 4 RBI’s
- Mike Cameron – 0-5
- Khalil Greene – 0-9
The Cubs’ offense will have their hands full today against one of the best pitchers this season in the National League. Chris Young ranks among the league leaders in several categories and ranks 3rd in the NL in ERA (2.34) behind teammate Jake Peavy (1.82) and Brad Penny (2.18)….Rich Hill ranks 6th (2.81) and Jason Marquis is 10th (3.14). Young is tied with Carlos Zambrano for 12th in the league in strikeouts (68) while the Cubs have two other pitchers among the league leaders in strikeouts….Rich Hill is ranked 7th with 78 and Ted Lilly is ranked 11th with 69.
Chris Young set a season high in strikeouts (10) the last time he faced the Cubs on May 24th in San Diego. Young received a no-decision but held the Cubs to 1 run on 3 hits in 7 innings of work (the Cubs scored 2 runs in the 9th off of Cla Meredith to get the win in the series finale). After a 4-1 record with a 1.13 ERA in May, Young has not received a decision in his last two starts and is coming off his “worst start” since April 26th. Young gave up 3 runs on 7 hits in 6 2/3 innings against the Mariners. Prior to his last start however, Young had allowed just 2 earned runs in 21 innings (0.85 ERA) and did not give up an earned run in back-to-back starts against the Pirates and Dodgers (14 innings). Today will be Young’s second career start at Wrigley (0-0 with a 2.57 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP, 3 runs, 2 earned, on 6 hits in 7 innings).
The Padres took exception to Alfonso Soriano’s home run trot on Friday, could there be flashbacks of Tim Hudson today?
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….