Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Pirates – 09/09/09

Game One Hundred Thirty-Eight: Cubs (70-67) vs. Pirates (54-83)
Game Time – 11:35am C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – PNC Park, Pittsburgh

Carlos Zambrano (7-6, 3.80/1.41) vs. Kevin Hart (4-5, 4.67/1.62)

Hopefully the Cubs will have plenty of coffee before taking the field in the finale of the series and the road trip this morning. The Cubs will go for the series sweep against the Pirates behind Carlos Zambrano. But in order to finish the road trip with a 4-2 record, they will have to beat a very familiar face.

Kevin Hart will make his first start against his former team today. Hart was dealt to the Pirates before the deadline along with Jose Ascanio and Josh Harrison for Tom Gorzelanny and John Grabow.

Reed Johnson’s season could be over. According to a report in the Tribune, Johnson’s broken foot is not healing the way the Cubs expected and he is not able to run on it. With only 25 games remaining Reed Johnson, a free agent at the end of the year, could have played his last game as a Cub.

Milton Bradley is expected to miss today’s game after leaving in the bottom of the first inning on Tuesday night with tightness in his legs. Bradley will reportedly be back in time for the opener of the Reds series on Friday afternoon. Alfonso Soriano could be back in the starting lineup at that time as well. There are conflicting reports on Soriano’s status. One from the Tribune mentioned Soriano could have his knee scoped as early as next week and miss the rest of the season while others have indicated he could return at some point during the upcoming homestand … Stay Tuned.

Just a quick reminder, the CCO Radio will air tonight at 7:00pm C.T. with a special guest host.

Today it all begins with Carlos Zambrano and not mailing in the remainder of the season …

Carlos Zambrano put together a good outing in his last start against the Mets. Zambrano received a no-decision in a 6-2 loss but Big Z allowed just one run on three hits in six innings with three walks and seven strikeouts. Zambrano was lifted for Mike Fontenot with the bases loaded and a chance for the Cubs to break open the game, but …

Zambrano rebounded from a horrible August with his first quality start since July 27.

The last time Carlos Zambrano posted win was back on July 22 in the finale of the three-game set in Philadelphia. Zambrano has pitched good enough to win since but has not been able to post the illusive eighth win of the year.

Big Z has pitched much better on the road this year (5-2 in 12 starts with a 3.03 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP) than at home (2-4 in 11 starts with a 4.64 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP).

This afternoon will be Zambrano’s second start of the season against the Pirates. Z received a no decision on May 27 at Wrigley. Zambrano allowed one run, two earned, on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings … the Cubs won the game 5-2.

Zambrano is 10-6 in 25 career games, 23 starts, versus the Pirates with a blown save … a 4.00 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP. At PNC, 6-1 in 13 games, 12 starts, with a 4.25 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP.

  • Ryan Doumit – 5-for-14 with a double and 3 walks
  • Jason Jaramillo – 0-for-3
  • Andy LaRoche – 1-for-6 with a double and a walk
  • Lastings Milledge – 1-for-3
  • Brandon Moss – 3-for-8 with a home run
  • Steven Pearce – 1-for-2
  • Ramon Vazquez – 5-for-12 with 3 walks
  • Delwyn Young – 0-for-5

The Cubs will face a former teammate this afternoon in Kevin Hart. Hart will be pumped up and looking to prove a point today. The Cubs must be patient and make him work. If they allow him to do so, Kevin Hart will beat himself. Hart has excellent stuff but when he gets in trouble is when the wheels come off.

Kevin Hart is 1-4 in six starts with the Pirates with a very large ERA of 6.35. Hart has continued to struggle with his command since the trade to Pittsburgh. In 34 innings Hart has walked 12 batters and has given up 47 hits for a 1.74 WHIP.

Hart has the stuff to be a very successful big league pitcher. As mentioned, the Cubs will get his best this afternoon.

The Cardinals beat up on Kevin Hart in his last outing. Albert Pujols and company scored seven runs, five earned, on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings. Hart struck out three and walked three.

No one on the Cubs active roster has faced Kevin Hart.

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….

Quote of the Day

"When you play, play hard; when you work, don’t play at all." – Theodore Roosevelt