Game Sixty-Three: Cubs (39-23) vs. Dodgers (29-32)
Game Time – 2:55pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: FOX Saturday Baseball – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 188
Location – Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
Carlos Zambrano (8-1, 2.51/1.22) vs. Derek Lowe (3-5, 4.17/1.33)
Lou Piniella’s crew will try to get back on track behind Carlos Zambrano in front of a nationally televised audience this afternoon. The Cubs need their ace to step up today, throw strikes, keep his pitch count low and give his team a chance to figure out how to plate runs against Derek Lowe. The Dodgers’ sinkerballer is back on track, after a horrible start to the year, and the Cubs must be patient and make him work. If the offense uses the same approach as it did against Lowe back on May 28th….it could be a short game with more zeroes on the scoreboard.
Lou Piniella mentioned after Friday’s game that he was going to look into how Jose Ascanio has pitched since returning to Iowa, 10 days ago. Look for a roster move soon and hopefully a number change for Kevin Hart, who has not looked like the same pitcher as the one that made the playoff roster last fall.
Rich Hill picked up a win on Friday for Iowa. He allowed only 1 run on 1 hit and struck out 5 in 5 innings….the concerning stats, 7 walks and 98 pitches. And it appears Mark Cuban is “going to pull out all the stops” in his pursuit of purchasing the Cubs….stay tuned. Bruce Levine thinks the group led by John Canning is still the favorite to buy the Chicago Cubs. Carlos Zambrano is coming off one of his worst starts of the season. Zambrano struggled with his self control once again but was able to right the ship after he picked off Jody Gerut and recorded a hit of his own. The end result was positive for Zambrano but the way he got it was a little concerning. Zambrano ran up his pitch count with 4 walks (third time this season Big Z’s walked 4 batters in a game) and recorded just 3 strikeouts….it was the second start in a row that Zambrano walked more hitters than he struck out.
Zambrano has pitched very well on the road this season (4-1 in 5 starts with a 2.73 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP) and must bring his A-game today with Derek Lowe going for the Dodgers. Zambrano cannot get in his own way in order for his team to be successful. As Aramis Ramirez said recently, the Cubs go as Big Z goes.
Zambrano received a no decision the last time he faced the Dodgers on May 28th at Wrigley. Big Z walked Blake DeWitt with the bases loaded in the 4th inning….the only run he allowed in 8 innings (1 run on 6 hits with 4 walks and 3 strikeouts). Zambrano is 2-2 in 7 career starts, 11 games, against the Dodgers with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP, at Dodger Stadium….2-0 in 4 starts, 6 games, with a 0.86 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP.
- Blake DeWitt – 0-for-3
- Andre Ethier – 4-for-9 with a double
- Jeff Kent – 6-for-29 with a double
- James Loney – 2-for-7
- Russell Martin – 5-for-9
- Juan Pierre – 5-for-28 with a double and 5 walks
Unfortunately for the Cubs, Derek Lowe and his sinker are back. Lowe has been sensational in his last 3 starts but has just one win to show for it. Lowe dominated the Cubs at Wrigley (0 runs on 4 hits in 7 innings with 2 walks and 5 strikeouts) and has allowed only 3 earned runs on 14 hits in his last 22 innings (3 starts) with 13 strikeouts and 5 walks.
For all of Lowe’s problems this season, they have been on the road. At Dodger Stadium Lowe is 3-2 in 6 starts with a 2.97 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP.
- Henry Blanco – 2-for-6 with 2 doubles
- Mark DeRosa – 1-for-8 with 2 walks
- Jim Edmonds – 5-for-30 with a double and a home run
- Mike Fontenot – 2-for-3
- Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-3
- Reed Johnson – 3-for-8 with a double
- Derrek Lee – 10-for-25 with a double and a home run
- Aramis Ramirez – 2-for-10 with a double
- Alfonso Soriano – 12-for-49 with 2 doubles and 2 home runs
- Ryan Theriot – 2-for-6 with a double
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….