Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Diamondbacks – 05/11/08

Game Thirty-Seven: Cubs (21-15) vs. Diamondbacks (23-14)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Carlos Zambrano (5-1, 1.80/1.11) vs. Randy Johnson (2-1, 5.06/1.42)

Updated – 12:47pm C.T. – With the Rain in the Chicago Area – Both Carlos Zambrano and Randy Johnson have been scratched from their starts. Sean Gallagher is scheduled to take Z’s place and the Diamondbacks will go with Edgar Gonzalez.

Happy Mother’s Day from everyone here at the CCO….

For those of you old enough to remember Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood from SNL, “Today’s word boys and girls is ‘big’“. It is the ‘Big Unit‘ versus ‘Big Z‘ in a battle of a former ace and future Hall of Famer against a current ace in a big series finale. The Cubs and Diamondbacks have played two very close games, despite the final score on Saturday, and weather permitting, today’s game should be more of the same.

Lou Piniella’s crew has a chance at a sweep against a pitcher the Cubs’ organization has never beaten. Carlos Zambrano has been looking forward to today’s game since the match-up was announced and hopefully Z will match the performances of Ted Lilly and Ryan Dempster.

Carlos Zambrano’s start to the season is the difference in the team’s record from a year ago. At the end of play on May 10, 2007, the Cubs record was 16-16 and they were 7 games back of the 24-10 Milwaukee Brewers. While the Cubs are in second place in the division, a game back of the Cardinals, they are 6 games over .500 and playing much better ball than they did at the beginning of last season.

There is still a long way to go in the 162-game schedule but Carlos Zambrano’s start has been one of the many bright spots in the first 37 games.

Carlos Zambrano is coming off an impressive outing against the Reds on a night he did not appear to have his best stuff. Zambrano struggled to start the game, ran up his pitch count and it appeared Zambrano would not turn in a quality start. However, Big Z turned his outing around, started throwing strikes and ended up completing 8 innings….his longest start of the year. Zambrano did not allow a run and surrendered just 3 hits to go along with 3 walks and 3 strikeouts.

Carlos Zambrano, like most Cubs’ pitchers, has struggled in the past against the D’Backs. Zambrano is 1-2 in 4 career starts with a 4.88 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP. Today will be Z’s first start in a regular season game against Arizona since Opening Day back in 2005.

  • Chris Burke – 1-for-8
  • Eric Byrnes – 0-for-3
  • Randy Johnson – 1-for-4
  • Jeff Salazar – 0-for-4

After spending most of the 2007 season on the DL, Randy Johnson made his first start on April 14th and has pitched rather well. The Big Unit received a no decision in his first start against the Giants but did not allow an earned run in 5 innings. Johnson has won 2 of his last 3 starts while giving up 10 earned runs in his last 2 outings on 15 hits in 10 innings. The Phillies scored 4 runs on 6 hits against Johnson on May 6th in a 6-4 Arizona win.

The Cubs have never beaten the Big Unit. He is 12-0 in 13 career starts with a miniscule 1.98 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP. Johnson has not faced the Cubs since 2004….he threw 7 shutout innings and allowed just 2 hits while striking out 10.

In 5 career starts at Wrigley, Johnson is 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP….only 4 earned runs on 20 hits in 36 innings.

  • Henry Blanco – 4-for-14 with a home run
  • Mark DeRosa – 1-for-10
  • Reed Johnson – 5-for-12 with a double
  • Derrek Lee – 4-for-22 with 13 strikeouts
  • Aramis Ramirez – 3-for-17 with a home run and 12 strikeouts
  • Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-8
  • Carlos Zambrano – 1-for-3

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….

Quote of the Day

"There are places I remember. All my life though some have changed. Some forever not for better. Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments ... " John Lennon/Paul McCartney