Game One Hundred Thirty-Six: Cubs (70-65) vs. Dodgers (71-65)
Game Time – 3:05pm C.T. WGN TV, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 186
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Carlos Zambrano (14-11, 4.06/1.34) vs. Esteban Loaiza (1-0, 1.84/0.95)
Happy Labor Day from everyone here at the CCO…. Lou Piniella’s crew opens up a big 4-game series today against the Los Angeles Dodgers on the “Unofficial Last Day of Summer.” The Cubs have won 4 of the last 5 series but they have not played too well over the past 6 weeks against teams with a winning record. That must change, especially at the Friendly Confines.
The Dodgers took 2 of 3 from the Cubs at the end of May in Dodger Stadium but the Cubs could have swept the series. The Dodgers always appear to have the Cubs number, it is past time for the Cubs to win a series. Today is a big game for obvious reasons but it is a bigger outing for Carlos Zambrano. Carlos Zambrano’s performances over the last month have been well documented. To put it bluntly, Zambrano has stunk and he knows it. Zambrano promised Piniella after his last outing that he would pitch like he did in the middle of the season his next start, well…. Zambrano was unbelievable in June and July and must find that form once again for the stretch run. The Cubs have won two games in come-from-behind fashion with contributions from the “stars“, now it is time for their best pitcher to step up and give his team a win.
Zambrano won the only game in L.A. at the end of May. He allowed 2 runs on 8 hits in 7 2/3 innings with 8 strikeouts and 1 walk. Big Z is 2-1 in 9 career games, 5 starts, with a 1.86 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP against the Dodgers.
The key for Zambrano today against the Dodgers is limiting his walks. The Cubs problems with runners on base will only magnify during this series. Juan Pierre and Rafael Furcal will take advantage of the pitching staff’s slow deliveries and Jason Kendall’s arm all 4 games if given the chance. Zambrano has beaten himself lately, it is time he beats the other team and stop issuing walk after walk after walk.
- Rafael Furcal – 3-20, with 2 doubles and a RBI
- Luis Gonzalez – 4-14 with a RBI
- Jeff Kent – 6-27, with a double and 2 RBI’s
- Juan Pierre – 5-23, with a double and a RBI
Esteban Loaiza will make his Dodger debut today as well as his 3rd start of the season. Loaiza has spent most of the season on the DL with a bulging disk in his neck. The A’s activated him just in time to get him a couple of starts in order to trade him before the August 31st deadline. Today will be only the second team Loaiza has faced this season, his first two games were both against the Blue Jays.
Loaiza won his first start, 1 run on 3 hits in 7 2/3 innings and received a no-decision in his last start on August 27th. He allowed 2 runs on 7 hits in 7 innings. In both games he had pitch counts over 100, and threw a lot of strikes.
Today will be his 8th career start against the Cubs. Loaiza is 2-2 with a 3.94 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP.
- Cliff Floyd – 6-26, with 3 doubles, a home run and 7 RBI’s
- Jacque Jones – 9-44, with a home run and 2 RBI’s
- Derrek Lee – 3-14, with a triple, a home run and 6 RBI’s
- Aramis Ramirez – 4-7, with a double
- Alfonso Soriano – 3-27, with a double, a home run and 3 RBI’s
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….