Game One Hundred Twelve: Cubs (66-45) vs. Pirates (51-59)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 188
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Carlos Zambrano (12-4, 2.80/1.22) vs. Ian Snell (4-8, 6.04/1.88)
Lou Piniella’s crew began a stretch of 20 straight out of the All-Star break back on July 18th, the maximum amount of games a team can play without a day off. After winning 4 of the first 10, they have gotten a little of the “swagger” back and are 5-1 over their last 6 games with 4 left to play.
The Cubs will face the new-look Pirates for the last time this season at Wrigley today in the rubber game of the series. The Cubs ended their 3-game losing streak to the Bucs on Saturday and Carlos Zambrano must remain focused and in control this afternoon in order for the Cubs to post their 11th win in 15 games against the Pirates.
In other news…. According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, Mark Cuban appears to be “one of the favorites in the bidding to buy the Cubs.” Cuban reportedly turned in the highest initial bid at $1.3 billion and has not only received support from NBA Commissioner, David Stern, but from John Henry of the Boston Red Sox.
John Henry, along with Tom Werner, John Harrington and Larry Lucchino purchased the Sox in 2002 and turned around the once ‘cursed‘ Red Sox franchise. The Sox have built a solid organization from top to bottom that spends as much money on the big league payroll as it does with player development and scouting. The result has been two World Championships under their leadership and Henry’s group has built a model that every organization in baseball should follow.
According to the Tribune, Henry told the New York Times in an email that “he could think of no one better suited to reverse the fortunes of the Cubs for the long term than Mark Cuban“….stay tuned. Carlos Zambrano is coming off a gem against the Brewers last Tuesday night. Big Z out dueled Ben Sheets and set the tone for the remainder of the series. Zambrano threw 8 shutout innings and allowed only 5 hits while striking out a season high 9 batters with 2 walks. Zambrano’s pitch count has increased in his last few outings and today would be a good time for Zambrano to be efficient, pitch to contact and pick up a win.
Zambrano finished July on a positive note and won his last 2 starts. He was 4-1 in 5 games last month with a 1.78 ERA and a 0.91 WHIP after spending time on the DL at the end of June. Zambrano is 6-0 in 11 home starts this season with a 2.28 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP.
Today will be Big Z’s third start of the season against the Bucs….he is 1-0 in the first 2 with a 4.91 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP while the Pirates offense has hit .283 against him.
For his career Zambrano is 10-6 in 22 games, 20 starts, versus Pittsburgh with a 3.93 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP.
- Jose Bautista – 1-for-14 with a double
- Ryan Doumit – 3-for-10 with a double
- Andy LaRoche – 1-for-2 with a double
- Nate McLouth – 5-for-16 with a double and a triple
- Doug Mientkiewicz – 1-for-3
- Luis Rivas – 0-for-1
- Freddy Sanchez – 7-for-32 with a double
- Ian Snell – 0-for-2
- Jack Wilson – 8-for-39 with a double
Ian Snell was the Pirates’ starter on Opening Day and to say the talented young right-hander has had a challenging season, to this point, would be an understatement….but he is coming off a win against the Rockies in Pittsburgh. Snell has struggled with his command all year and has walked 62 batters and given up 145 hits in 110 1/3 innings….his best month was April, 2-1 in 5 starts with a 4.71 ERA and a 1.64 WHIP.
Last month Snell was 1-1 in 5 starts with a 6.20 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP. On the road this season, 1-6 in 11 starts with a 8.12 ERA and a 2.06 WHIP while opponents have hit .346.
Today will be Snell’s second start of the season versus the Cubs. He lost to the Cubs in Chicago on April 18th and gave up 3 runs on 9 hits in 6 innings with 5 strikeouts and a walk….the final score was 3-2.
Snell is 1-5 in 9 career games, 7 starts, versus the Cubs with a 5.26 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP.
- Henry Blanco – 0-for-3
- Ronny Cedeno – 2-for-5 with a home run
- Mark DeRosa – 3-for-6 with a double
- Jim Edmonds – 4-for-17 with a double and 2 home runs
- Reed Johnson – 2-for-3
- Derrek Lee – 6-for-21 with 3 doubles
- Aramis Ramirez – 8-for-23 with 4 doubles
- Alfonso Soriano – 6-for-12 with 3 home runs
- Geovany Soto – 1-for-2 with a double
- Ryan Theriot – 6-for-14 with a double and 2 triples
- Daryle Ward – 1-for-2
- Carlos Zambrano 1-for-2
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….