Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Giants – 08/09/10

Game One Hundred Twelve: Cubs (47-64) vs. Giants (63-49)
Game Time – 9:15pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet Plus – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 186
Location – AT & T Park, San Francisco

Carlos Zambrano (3-6, 5.61/1.75) vs. Madison Bumgarner (4-4, 3.20/1.24)

Updated – 5:58pm CDT – Carlos Silva needed Mark DeRosa Surgery. According to the Sun-Times, “relatively minor cardiac ablation to fix irregular heartbeat.” Silva had the procedure on Monday.

Updated – 7:01pm CDT – Marcos Mateo recalled from Triple-A IowaMitch Atkins Optioned to Triple-A Iowa

The Cubs begin a very difficult seven-game road trip tonight with the first of four against the Giants. The Cubs appeared lifeless during the homestand (1-5) and will face some of the top pitchers in the league over the next seven games. After tonight, the Cubs free-swinging, undisciplined offense will square off against the likes of Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito, Matt Cain, Chris Carpenter and Jamie Garcia.

If the Cubs do not wake up they could find themselves more than 20 games under .500 by the time they return to Chicago.

Lou Piniella flew to Tampa following Sunday’s loss and will miss the trip to San Francisco. Lou’s mother was hospitalized and he flew home to take care of her. According to Gordon Wittenmyer, Piniella’s mother has not been well all season.

Alan Trammell will call the shots in Lou’s absence.

Geovany Soto and Tyler Colvin are expected back in the starting lineup tonight. Soto has been dealing with an injury (right shoulder tendonitis) and Colvin needed a break. Both should help offensively. The Cubs have lost 10 of 11, their worst stretch in four years, and have been outscored 88-42 over that span.

Trammell will need an effective outing from Carlos Zambrano tonight. Z is expected to throw between 75-80 pitches and if he goes only three innings it will put more of a strain on an already beat up bullpen. The Cubs are in a stretch of 20 in a row without a day off (tonight is game four) and could make a roster move to bring another young arm up from the minors. The pen was taxed on Sunday (six innings in relief of Thomas Diamond) and with Z on a pitch count, an innings eater might be needed.

The Cubs will have to deal with Rookie of the Year candidate Buster Posey over the next four days. Posey is the leader in the proverbial clubhouse right now. While Tyler Colvin and Starlin Castro have been mentioned in the same conversation with Posey, ROYs have not worked out too well for the Cubs in the past. The Giants catcher is welcome to take the award home this fall …

Tonight it all begins with Carlos Zambrano

Carlos Zambrano’s last big league start was more than memorable, but for all of the wrong reasons. Z melted down back on June 25 at the Cell then spent time in anger management. Zambrano will make his first start and fourth appearance since returning to the team on July 30.

Zambrano has not thrown the ball well and has struggled all season. Z is a shell of his former self and at 29 years old his better days appear to be behind him.

Z’s last appearance came last Wednesday against the Brewers. He pitched a scoreless inning and gave up just one hit, a walk and struck out two.

The last time Carlos Zambrano had a good outing came in San Francisco at the end of last season. Zambrano tossed a complete game gem and allowed only two hits. Z walked one and struck out eight … and out pitched Tim Lincecum.

Zambrano is 5-1 in nine career games, eight starts, against the Giants with a 2.76 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP … at AT & T Park, 3-1 in four starts with a 2.45 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP.

Giants Career Numbers against Carlos Zambrano

  • Pat Burrell – 3-for-12 with a double and a home run
  • Travis Ishikawa – 0-for-3
  • Buster Posey – 0-for-3
  • Edgar Renteria – 12-for-31 with a home run and 7 walks
  • Aaron Rowand – 0-for-10
  • Freddy Sanchez – 8-for-34 with a double and 2 walks
  • Pablo Sandoval – 0-for-4
  • Juan Uribe – 4-for-24 with a double, a home run and a walk

The Cubs will get their first look at another very good southpaw tonight. Madison Bumgarner has been more than solid this season … and is just another in a long line of excellent pitchers to come through the Giants’ system.

Bumgarner is coming off a rough outing against the Rockies (four runs on nine hits in four innings) but posted an impressive 4-2 record in six starts last month with a 2.27 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP.

Madison Bumgarner will make his ninth start of the season … and the 10th of his big league career tonight.

Blake DeWitt (0-for-1) is the only Cub that has faced Bumgarner.

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