Game Fifty-Two: Cubs (26-25) vs. Reds (28-25)
Game Time – 6:10pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet/MLB Network – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 184
Location – Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati
Carlos Zambrano (3-2, 4.22/1.45) vs. Micah Owings (3-6, 5.10/1.57)
After spending two and a half hours waiting for Thursday’s game to be postponed, the Cubs boarded a chartered flight and headed north to the Queen City…and likely beat the Reds to Cincinnati. Dusty Baker’s team split a four-game series in St. Louis and lost the finale on Thursday night, 3-1. The Brewers swept the Reds in Milwaukee last weekend… the Reds have lost five of their last seven games
Carlos Zambrano will try once again for his 100th win in a Cubs’ uniform tonight…and as mentioned in Thursday’s game preview, it is time for Carlos Zambrano to grow up. The Cubs are paying him ‘ace‘ money and it is past time for him to pitch to his ability and talent. If the Cubs are to play past game 162, they will need Carlos Zambrano to take the next step in the maturation process.
The Cubs will face a very good Reds team for the next three games. Even with Joey Votto (placed on 15-day DL on May 30 with stress related issues), Edwin Encarnacion and Edinson Volquez (placed on 15-day DL on June 2 with tendonitis in his right elbow) all on the shelf, they are playing very good ball right now. The Reds are ahead of the Cubs in the standings by a full game (but even in the loss column). The Reds are better on the road (15-13) than at home (13-12) while the Cubs are 10-15 away from Wrigley Field.
Geovany Soto reportedly voiced his displeasure to Lou Piniella about not being in the starting lineup for the second day in a row on Thursday. Koyie Hill was slated to catch Carlos Zambrano in Atlanta and should stick with that plan again tonight. Soto is struggling both offensively and defensively and maybe sitting for a couple of days will light a fire under the former Rookie of the Year.
Milton Bradley will be out of the lineup this weekend but should be available to pinch-hit. The Cubs are expecting Bradley back in the starting lineup in the series against the Astros that begins on Tuesday.
In his last start Big Z out pitched Zach Duke and was in line for a win. But Alfonso Soriano misplayed the single by Nyjer Morgan that turned into a three-base error. After Morgan was correctly called safe, Zambrano melted down, threw a ball and destroyed the Gatorade machine. The Cubs won the game but once again Zambrano let his emotions get the best of him.
The Cubs need Zambrano to start his season tonight. He has been inconsistent at best, like his teammates. If the Cubs are going to stay in the race this summer they will need Carlos Zambrano to pitch to his talent and ability.
Tonight will be Carlos Zambrano’s second start of the season against the Reds. The young Reds’ offense had a breakout game against the Cubs and beat Carlos Zambrano 7-1. Zambrano worked seven innings and allowed four runs, three earned, on seven hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.
Big Z was 4-0 a year ago against the Reds with an impressive 1.20 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP. The Cubs need a similar performance again tonight.
Zambrano is 14-10 in 28 career starts, 32 games, against the Reds with a 3.06 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP…at Great American, 7-2 in 11 starts with a 2.86 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP.
- Jay Bruce – 2-for-9 with a home run
- Chris Dickerson – 2-for-6 with a triple and 2 walks
- Alex Gonzalez – 6-for-16 with 2 doubles
- Ramon Hernandez – 2-for-9
- Brandon Phillips – 8-for-37 with 3 double, a home run and 5 walks
- Willy Taveras – 5-for-26
Micah Owings is coming off a loss to the Brewers…and has not posted a win since May 12. Owings has pitched rather well for Dusty Baker this season despite the record. Owings will face the Cubs for the second time this season. Back when Lou Piniella’s crew was hitting the ball they beat Owings at Wrigley on April 21, 7-2.
Owings is 2-1 in four starts at Great American this season with a 5.57 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP.
Tonight will be Owings’ fourth career start against the Cubs….0-2 in five games, three starts, with a 6.75 ERA and a 1.88 WHIP.
- Milton Bradley – 1-for-7
- Mike Fontenot – 0-for-3 with 2 walks
- Kosuke Fukudome – 0-for-2 with 2 walks
- Koyie Hill – 0-for-2
- Micah Hoffpauir – 1-for-1 with a home run and a walk
- Derrek Lee – 1-for-7
- Alfonso Soriano – 0-for-4 with 2 walks
- Geovany Soto – 1-for-3
- Ryan Theriot – 2-for-6 with 2 walks
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….