Game Five: Cubs (1-3) vs. Reds (2-2)
Game Time – 12:10pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati
Carlos Zambrano (0-1, 54.00/6.00) vs. Aaron Harang (0-1, 5.40/1.40)
How will the Cubs respond today after another tough loss? Lou Piniella’s crew could easily be riding a three-game winning streak but instead have just one win under their belt after four games.
Tom Gorzelanny was originally scheduled to pitch this afternoon’s game but was pushed back to Sunday. The Cubs plan on keeping Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster and Randy Wells on regular rest until April 19.
The pitching plans could be changing with the latest meltdown by the bullpen. Ted Lilly is scheduled to pitch for the Iowa Cubs on Sunday and if all goes well there are rumblings the Cubs could bring him back early and slide Gorzelanny to the pen. When Lilly returns, one of the young arms will be sent to Iowa.
Geovany Soto is expected back behind the plate this afternoon. And don’t be surprised if Piniella uses his fourth different lineup of the season.
The big question for this afternoon’s game against the Reds … Which Carlos Zambrano will take the hill for the Chicago Cubs?
Zambrano promised a better season … and he should treat today as his first start of the year.
Carlos Zambrano has been very good against the Reds in his career. In 33 career games against Cincinnati, 29 starts, Big Z is 15-10 with a 2.95 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. Z dominated the Reds last season to the tune of a 1-1 record in two starts with a 1.98 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP … and it was more of the same in 2008 (4-0 with a 1.20 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP). Zambrano struggled against the Reds two full seasons ago. In 2007, the Cubs number one pitcher was 2-4 in six starts versus Cincinnati with a 5.30 ERA and a 1.63 WHIP.
Zambrano is 8-2 in 12 career starts at Great American Ball Park with a 2.62 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP.
Reds’ Career Numbers against Carlos Zambrano
- Jay Bruce – 3-for-10 with a home run and 3 walks
- Orlando Cabrera – 2-for-4 with a double and a walk
- Miguel Cairo – 2-for-7 with a double and 2 walks
- Chris Dickerson – 2-for-8 with a triple and 3 walks
- Aaron Harang – 1-for-12
- Ramon Hernandez – 2-for-12
- Laynce Nix – 0-for-3
- Brandon Phillips – 8-for-40 with 3 doubles, a home run and 5 walks
- Scott Rolen – 8-for-44 with 3 doubles, 2 home runs and 3 walks
- Joey Votto – 8-for-20 with 4 doubles and a walk
The experts think Aaron Harang is the key to the Reds season … and they could be right. Harang is the Reds number one pitcher but he has not pitched like one the past two years because of two games … in May of 2008 in San Diego and in May of 2009 against the Astros.
Harang took the loss on Opening Day against the Cardinals. He allowed four runs, three earned, on five hits in five innings with two walks and two strikeouts.
Harang is very talented and over the years he has given the Cubs all they can handle.
This afternoon will be Harang’s 23rd career start against the Cubs. He is 9-8 with a 4.63 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP.
Cubs’ Career Numbers against Aaron Harang
- Marlon Byrd – 3-for-6 with a home run and a walk
- Mike Fontenot – 7-for-18 with a double, 3 home runs and 2 walks
- Kosuke Fukudome – 6-for-15 with 2 doubles and 4 walks
- Koyie Hill – 1-for-5 with a walk
- Derrek Lee – 15-for-56 with 3 doubles, 5 home runs and 6 walks
- Xavier Nady – 10-for-27 with 3 doubles and a home run
- Aramis Ramirez – 15-for-49 with a double, a triple, 4 home runs and 2 walks
- Alfonso Soriano – 8-for-31 with 2 doubles and a walk
- Geovany Soto – 5-for-15 with 2 doubles, a home run and 2 walks
- Ryan Theriot – 10-for-36 with a double and 2 walks
- Chad Tracy – 4-for-20 with a double
- Carlos Zambrano – 3-for-15 with a double and a home run
Today will be the eighth time Carlos Zambrano and Aaron Harang have squared off against one another. In their head-to-head match-ups, Zambrano is 1-5 with a 6.37 ERA while Harang is 4-2 with a 4.30 ERA.
The CCO Radio returns on Tuesday night at 7:00pm CDT. Mark it in your calendar and call in to the Internet talkshow.
Follow the CCO on Twitter … www.twitter.com/TheCCO
Wanna win tickets for the Cubs Home Opener at Wrigley Field?
The CCO received an email from Banyan Branch and Clear Events and was asked to pass along information on the Super Fan Contest. The winner will receive tickets to the Cubs’ home opener on April 12 against the Brewers. Click here to learn more about the contest.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …