Game One Hundred Twenty-Eight: Cubs (65-62) vs. Mets (58-72)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 188
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Carlos Zambrano (7-5, 3.80/1.38) vs. Nelson Figueroa (1-3, 5.40/1.80)
Can the Chicago Cubs win three in a row? The last time Lou Piniella’s crew won on three consecutive days was from July 22 – July 27 when they posted five straight wins.
Alfonso Soriano had an MRI on his left knee Saturday. The tests showed no damage and Soriano is expected to receive a cortisone shot … which will keep him out of the lineup for a couple of games. Look for Jake Fox in left this afternoon as the Cubs try to complete the sweep against the Mets.
Jeff Baker was scratched from Saturday’s starting lineup after he took a ball off the hand during batting practice. Baker was slated to give Aramis Ramirez a day off. X-rays on Baker’s hand came back negative and he should be available this afternoon.
The Cubs are asking a high price from the Twins for Rich Harden. According to a report from the Tribune, “the Cubs would like one or two top prospects for Harden, but the Twins believe that is too steep a price without having Harden signed long term.” Rich Harden is scheduled to start the opener on Monday night against the Astros.
As for Aaron Heilman, the Cubs continued to talk to the Giants about the reliever … no additional details have been released.
According to a report from the Tribune, Aramis Ramirez will not have surgery in the off-season. His shoulder is fine … rest and strengthening the muscles around the shoulder this winter will be all Ramirez needs to return in 2010 at full strength.
It all starts with Carlos Zambrano, a lot of run support … and after nine innings for Ron Santo to have a smile on his face. Carlos Zambrano will make his second start since returning from the DL. Zambrano has put together a typical ‘Zambrano-August‘. For some reason Zambrano always struggles during the fifth month of the baseball season. While he will make only his third start of the month, Z spent time on the DL and is 0-1 in two starts with an 11.05 ERA and a 2.18 WHIP. Zambrano is coming off a horrible outing against the Nationals … eight runs, all earned, on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings with three walks and four strikeouts. Three of the eight runs Zambrano was tagged with scored on a grand slam by Elijah Dukes off of Aaron Heilman.
Zambrano, for the most part this season, has pitched rather well … despite just winning seven games. Zambrano has kept his team in the games and if the offense was scoring runs on a regular basis he could have 10-12 wins this year.
Big Z is 2-3 in ten starts at Wrigley this season with a 4.45 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP.
This afternoon will be Carlos Zambrano’s eighth start against the Mets. He is 4-1 in the first seven (eight career appearances) with a 3.67 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP.
- Luis Castillo – 6-for-12 with 7 walks
- Nelson Figueroa – 0-for-3
- Jeff Francoeur – 4-for-17 with a double, 2 home runs and a walk
- Daniel Murphy – 0-for-2 with a walk
- Brian Schneider – 4-for-15 with 2 doubles and 2 walks
- Gary Sheffield – 3-for-8 with a double and 5 walks
- Cory Sullivan – 2-for-3
- Fernando Tatis – 1-for-3
Nelson Figueroa will make his fourth start of the season this afternoon … and tenth appearance for the New York Mets. Figueroa has given up 16 runs, 15 earned, on 37 hits in 25 innings with eight walks and 17 strikeouts. The Cubs must be patient once again this afternoon … the same as they were on Saturday against Bobby Parnell.
Figueroa is 1-2 in his last eight games, two starts, with a 5.68 ERA and a 2.00 WHIP … teams have hit .372 against him.
The Marlins scored two runs, one earned, on four hits in five innings against Figueroa in his last outing.
This afternoon will be Nelson Figueroa’s tenth career game, and fifth career start, versus the Cubs. He is 0-4 with a 4.40 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP. The Cubs beat him at Wrigley last season (April 22, 2008). Figueroa gave up three runs on seven hits in five innings with five walks and two strikeouts … the big hit of the game, a grand slam off the bat of Ronny Cedeno.
- Kosuke Fukudome – 2-for-2 with a walk
- Derrek Lee – 1-for-12 with a home run and 2 walks
- Aramis Ramirez – 4-for-9 with a double, a home run and 2 walks
- Alfonso Soriano – 0-for-1
- Geovany Soto – 0-for-1
- Carlos Zambrano – 1-for-4 with a double
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….