Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Angels – 06/20/10

Game Sixty-Nine: Cubs (30-38) vs. Angels (39-32)
Game Time – 12:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 182
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Carlos Zambrano (2-5, 5.66/1.70) vs. Joe Saunders (5-7, 4.70/1.49)

Happy Fathers Day! The Cubs nine-game homestand comes to an end this afternoon. After losing two of three to the White Sox, Lou’s crew showed life against the Athletics just to lose the first two against the Angels. The Cubs are 3-5 in their last eight and a win today would give them a 4-5 homestand and a 6-6 record in Interleague play before Monday’s off day.

The Cubs enter play today eight games under .500 and must win to avoid going nine under .500 for first time since June 2, 2007 (22-31) … their lowest mark under Lou Piniella. The Cubs have not been 10 under the mediocre mark during the Lou Piniella era.

The Angels have already beaten the Cubs’ best two starters this season and today they get the pitcher formally known as Big Z. The Cubs need a good start from Carlos Zambrano this afternoon but they also need the offense and defense to do their job. The Cubs are 12-20 when they commit an error. While errors are no longer the best stat to use to judge a team or player’s defense, any time a team has committed 11 errors in five games, there is a problem … not to mention the 44 unearned runs that have been scored against the Cubs this season.

How will Lou Piniella construct his lineup today? Or has the Cubs’ manager already given up? Piniella said he’s done everything he can to turn the Cubs around … too bad there are 94 games left on the Cubs’ schedule. Tyler Colvin must be in the starting lineup and look for Geovany Soto to be behind the plate … not only is Saunders a lefty but Koyie Hill seemed to tweak something Saturday afternoon. Jeff Baker and Ryan Theriot should be back in as well.

Today it all begins with Carlos Zambrano … but his teammates must hit and catch the ball behind him.

Carlos Zambrano is stuck in the middle of the worst season of his career. Zambrano is a shell of the pitcher he was as recently as 2008. Wear and tear, as well as Zambrano himself, has turned a pitcher with a very bright future into a fourth or fifth starter at best.

Zambrano is coming off another loss, his second at Wrigley this season. Zambrano gave up five runs, two earned, on seven hits in six innings of work. The Cubs defense let him down but Zambrano struggled with his command and threw a lot of pitches.

Since returning to the rotation, Zambrano is 1-2 with a 4.70 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP. Zambrano has walked more batters (11) than he has struck out (9) in 15 1/3 innings.

Z is 0-2 in two starts, 10 games, at Wrigley this season with a 3.79 ERA and a 1.68 WHIP.

Today will be Zambrano’s first career start against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Angels’ Career Numbers against Carlos Zambrano

  • Bobby Abreu – 7-for-13 with 2 doubles, a home run and 4 walks
  • Kevin Frandsen – 0-for-4 with a walk
  • Hideki Matsui – 1-for-4 with 2 walks
  • Juan Rivera – 2-for-6 with a double

The Cubs will get their first regular season look at Joe Saunders this afternoon. Saunders is coming off a rough start against the Brewers in which he gave up six runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings. Saunders walked three and struck out three in one of his worst starts of the year.

The 29-year old southpaw is 2-1 in his last three starts with a 3.48 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP.

Saunders, like the rest of his team, has been very good on the road this season. Saunders is very beatable in Anaheim (1-6 in eight starts with a 6.75 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP) but not on the road.

Joe Saunders is 4-1 in six road starts with a 2.45 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP.

Marlon Byrd (4-for-18 with 2 home runs) and Xavier Nady (1-for-6) are the only two Cubs that have faced Joe Saunders.

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Quote of the Day

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