Game One Hundred Fifty-Two: Cubs (79-72) vs. Reds (68-82)
Game Time – 7:05pm C.T. Comcast SportsNet, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 185
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Carlos Zambrano (16-12, 4.14/1.34) vs. Aaron Harang (15-4, 3.65/1.13)
Only 11 games left…. It does not get any easier for the Cubs tonight. While the Reds are trying to accomplish what they did back in 2004, the Cubs have the tall task of beating the Reds’ best in Aaron Harang. Lou Piniella will start Carlos Zambrano tonight on short rest after his solid outing in St. Louis last Friday night. The Cubs picked up a win in the all-important first game of the series on Monday in dramatic fashion but they cannot continue to leave this team hanging around. The Cubs must score early and often against Aaron Harang, but it all starts with Carlos Zambrano. Carlos Zambrano must take the ball tonight with one thought….win the game. Zambrano is coming off one his best outings of the year against the Cardinals. Zambrano threw 8 strong innings and would have taken the mound in the 9th if Tony LaRussa had not forced Lou Piniella’s hand. The most impressive stat from Zambrano’s last start was not the amount of runs he allowed (1) or the hits he gave up (4)….it was the amount of pitches he threw (101). Zambrano was very efficient and by doing so, he had one of his longest outings of the year. With Zambrano going on short rest, he must throw strikes tonight and keep his pitch count as low as possible.
Zambrano is 2-1 in his last 3 starts with a 4.91 ERA but in his last 2 starts….Big Z is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA (2 earned in 14 innings). Zambrano has struggled in his career and this season against the Reds, with the exception of one start at the end of July at Great American. Zambrano is 1-3 in 4 starts this year against the Reds with a 6.56 ERA and a 1.76 WHIP. The Reds have hit Zambrano to the tune of a .300 batting average.
The Cubs will get their 5th look of the season at Aaron Harang. Harang should receive a few Cy Young votes at the end of the year, he has been that good. Harang has nearly 1/4 of the Reds’ victories this year and always gives the Cubs his best.
Harang is 1-1 with a 5.03 ERA in his last 3 starts. After posting a 2-hit, complete game-shutout against the Pirates on August 29th, Harang has given up 11 earned runs on 20 hits in 19 2/3 innings. The Cubs must be patient against Harang and make him work. In his last outing against the Cardinals he threw just 89 pitches in 7 innings.
Harang is 2-1 in 4 starts against the Cubs this year with a 5.68 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….