Game One Hundred Fifty-Two: Cubs (92-59) vs. Cardinals (79-73)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 188
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Carlos Zambrano (14-5, 3.41/1.25) vs. Adam Wainwright (9-3, 3.20/1.13)
Updated 11:55am C.T. – Geovany Soto Scratched from Today’s Lineup with Hand Injury
The final weekday game on the schedule for the Chicago Cubs….Lou Piniella’s crew opens up the final home series of the season today behind Carlos Zambrano against their archrival St. Louis Cardinals. Big Z is coming off a ‘little gem‘ last Sunday and one of the storylines to watch today is how Zambrano pitches on regular rest.
The Cardinals are hanging on by a thread after dropping 7 of their last 8. But this weekend figures to be similar to the series that was completed last week in St. Louis….all three games were decided by a total of three runs. The Cardinals will be without Rick Ankiel and Chris Carpenter for the remainder of the season.
Look for Kerry Wood to not be available today after throwing 33 pitches in two innings on Thursday.
Finally….A couple of quotes from Jim Edmonds and Lou Piniella:
From the Tribune: “Every year I went to spring training the last 15 years, the goal always has been to win the World Series, not to clinch your division. If we stay on that track, we’ll be under control a little bit and keep that common goal, not champagne one day. Hopefully we can do it two or three or four times.”
From Cubs.com: “I’ve been hearing a lot of stuff on the radio and TV – let’s be clear about this, we still have to win two more games. Let’s not get too excited until it’s over.” Lou Piniella: “It’s been a long season, and we’re getting real close to where we want to go. There’s still a little work to be done, and hopefully, we’ll get it done this weekend.” Carlos Zambrano became the first Cubs’ pitcher to toss a no-hitter in 36 years in his last start and a win today would inch them closer to their first goal of the season. Zambrano silenced his critics and erased concerns over his health in his gem against the Astros last Sunday, but some of the experts questioned Piniella allowing his ace to throw 110 pitches after missing time with a ‘dead arm.‘
Lou Piniella and Larry Rothschild discussed keeping Zambrano around the 90-pitch mark but left him in for obvious reasons….and there is a difference between throwing 110 pitches and THROWING 110 PITCHES. Zambrano appeared in control of himself and displayed good mechanics with an improved arm slot. With facing one over the minimum, he pitched from the stretch only twice. There is a difference.
Today is another big start for Zambrano….and hopefully he can remain calm when he gives up his first hit since September 2nd.
Big Z is 7-1 in 15 home starts this season with a 3.08 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. The last time he faced the Cardinals at Wrigley he was shelled and served up 4 home runs in 4 1/3 innings. St. Louis was very aggressive against Zambrano that Saturday and there should be more of the same today.
On the year Zambrano is 1-1 in 2 starts versus the Cardinals with a 7.84 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP….but tossed a gem in St. Louis on July 4th with 6 shutout innings.
- Troy Glaus – 3-for-9 with a double and 2 home runs
- Cesar Izturis – 1-for-9 with a double
- Adam Kennedy – 4-for-11
- Felipe Lopez – 11-for-34 with a double, a triple and 2 home runs
- Ryan Ludwick – 2-for-3
- Aaron Miles – 8-for-30 with a double
- Yadier Molina – 6-for-25 with a home run
- Albert Pujols – 13-for-52 with 2 doubles and 5 home runs
- Skip Schumaker – 6-for-17 with a double, a triple and a home run
- Adam Wainwright – 2-for-3
The Cubs will get their second shot of the season against Adam Wainwright today. Wainwright received a no decision back on May 2nd in St. Louis and the Cardinals won the game 5-3 in the last big league game of the season for Rich Hill. The Cubs battled back to tie the game but Skip Schumaker hit a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 11th off of Chad Fox on that Friday night under the arch.
Wainwright spent most of the season on the DL and has been very effective since his return….except for his last start. Wainwright had not allowed more than 2 earned runs in his first 4 starts back from the DL but after pitching an 8-inning gem against the Marlins, he was shelled in his last start. The Pirates knocked Wainwright out of the game after 4 innings and 6 runs on 9 hits. With the Cardinals barely alive in the NL Wild Card race, today could be Wainwright’s last start of the season if he struggles again.
Wainwright is 3-2 in 8 road starts this season with a 4.10 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP.
The Cardinals’ former closer is 0-3 in 14 career games, 5 starts, against the Cubs with a 6.44 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP….at Wrigley, no record in 6 appearances, 1 start, with a 7.36 ERA and a 2.18 WHIP.
- Henry Blanco – 2-for-2 with a double
- Ronny Cedeno – 2-for-6
- Mark DeRosa – 1-for-7
- Mike Fontenot – 2-for-3
- Kosuke Fukudome – 0-for-3
- Derrek Lee – 3-for-14 with a double
- Felix Pie – 2-for-5 with a double
- Aramis Ramirez – 7-for-19 with 3 doubles and a home run
- Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-11 with a double and a triple
- Geovany Soto – 2-for-3 with a double
- Ryan Theriot – 6-for-16 with 2 doubles
- Carlos Zambrano – 1-for-5
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….
Update – 11:55am C.T. – According to multiple reports, including one from the Daily Herald, Geovany Soto has been scratched from today’s lineup with a hand injury. Soto’s hand has been a problem all season and according to Bruce Miles “it bothered him” before the home run in the 9th inning on Thursday.
Will update when more information becomes available….