Game One Hundred-Two: Cubs (54-47) vs. Marlins (54-49)
Game Time – 6:10pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Land Shark Stadium, Miami
Carlos Zambrano (7-4, 3.36/1.33) vs. Burke Badenhop (5-4, 3.46/1.33)
It’s the first day of August and the Cubs enter play tonight just a half game back of the St. Louis Cardinals in the Central Division. The Cubs need to return to their patient ways tonight against the Marlins. There were too many early swings on Friday and that is simply not a recipe for winning baseball.
Jake Fox is expected to make another start tonight. With the long stretch of games Piniella began giving his regulars a breathier on Thursday inserting Fox into their spot in the lineup. There was also talk on Friday that Ryan Theriot could receive the night off in favor of Andres Blanco. So Lou Piniella’s lineup could be very interesting …
The Marlins will have a new look tonight. With the addition of Nick Johnson from the Nationals on Friday, the Marlins will slide Jorge Cantu back to third and insert Johnson into the number two spot of their lineup ahead of Hanley Ramirez.
In other news … Geovany Soto will begin a rehab assignment with the Tennessee Smokies on Monday night. The Cubs are hoping to have Soto back in time for the opener against the Rockies next Friday. Tom Gorzelanny will make his Cub debut on Tuesday in Cincinnati as reported by the CCO on Friday. Gorzelanny made the trip to Florida on Friday and is expected to throw a bullpen session today for his new coaches.
Carlos Zambrano and the month of August have not gotten along in the past. The Cubs need Big Z to pitch the way he did in July … and not look at a calendar for the next 31 days.
While the offense must do their job against Burke Badenhop, it all begins with Carlos Zambrano … and one win at a time. Carlos Zambrano completed a very good month of July with a 3-1 record in six starts with a 2.63 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP. Zambrano has lowered his ERA each month this season (4.64 in April, 3.38 in May, 2.91 in June and 2.63 in July) and has given a lot of stability to the Cubs starting rotation that has dealt with two key injuries. The Cubs need Zambrano to continue pitching the way he has this season … as he faces a very rough month for him.
Big Z has struggled in the month of August throughout his career. He is 12-16 in 38 career starts in August with a 4.22 ERA and a 1.36 but the last two years have been even worse. Zambrano posted a 1-1 record in five starts last August with a 7.43 ERA and a 1.73 WHIP. Zambrano walked (15) almost as many has he struck out (18) and team hit .284 against him. In August of 2007 he was 0-4 in five starts with a 7.06 ERA and a 1.88 WHIP … teams hit .309 against him. If the Cubs are going to stay in the race for the remainder of the year, they will need their ace to pitch like it is still July (27-10 in 45 career starts in July with a 2.86 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP).
Zambrano is coming off a no decision to the Astros. He gave up only one run on three hits in seven innings with four walks and four strikeouts. Zambrano has been teetering on the verge of losing it lately, he must remain in control and start the month off on a positive note.
Zambrano beat the Marlins at Wrigley back on May 3. He held the Fish to two runs on four hits in five innings and left with a strained left hamstring. He is 5-1 in 10 career starts against Florida with a 3.09 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP … at Land Shark Stadium, 2-1 in four career starts with a 4.13 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP.
Big Z is 5-2 in 10 road starts this season with a 3.18 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP.
- John Baker – 1-for-8
- Emilo Bonifacio – 0-for-3
- Jorge Cantu – 3-for-7 with a home run
- Ross Gload – 1-for-5 with a double
- Wes Helms – 4-for-10
- Jeremy Hermida – 1-for-7
- Nick Johnson – 1-for-8 with 2 walks
- Hanley Ramirez – 3-for-11 with a double, a home run and 3 walks
- Cody Ross – 2-for-8 with a double
- Dan Uggla – 0-for-6 with 3 walks
The Cubs will get their second look of the year at Blake Badenhop. Badenhop will make only his second start of the year tonight but he pitched in relief against the Cubs on May 1 at Wrigley and picked up the loss. Badenhop gave up four runs in 2/3 of an inning … a grand slam by Ryan Theriot.
The Cubs must make him work and return to the patient approach at the plate that has made them successful in the second half. Badenhop has not pitched more than two innings since June 16 in Boston … he shutdown the Red Sox on four hits in 4 1/3 innings six weeks ago. Badenhop has good stuff and has put it together in the Marlins’ pen this season.
- Milton Bradley – 0-for-1
- Micah Hoffpauir – 0-for-1
- Derrek Lee – 1-for-1
- Alfonso Soriano – a walk in only career plate appearance
- Ryan Theriot – 1-for-1 with a home run
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….