Game Twelve: Cubs (5-6) vs. Astros (3-8)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Minute Maid Park, Houston
Carlos Zambrano (1-0, 5.25/1.50) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (0-1, 6.55/1.64)
The Cubs need for Carlos Zambrano to step up tonight and put together his best outing of the young season. Z has been okay over his first two starts but after Tuesday’s debacle, a long, effective outing from Zambrano would go a long way into Thursday’s off day.
Before the season began many felt the Cubs rotation would be one of the strengths of the team … and 11 games in, it has not been. Q’s rotation has not posted a quality start (at least six innings with no more than three earned runs allowed) since Randy Wells on April 4.
With the uncertainty behind the top three in the rotation, it is time for Carlos Zambrano, Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster to give a little stability to a staff in need of quality innings.
Following Tuesday’s game, Mike Quade said he’s not sure who will take the ball when the fifth spot in the rotation comes back around on either Monday or Tuesday against the Padres at Wrigley. The recently signed Ramon Ortiz could be an option.
Quade mentioned Tuesday he’s toying with the idea of starting Jeff Baker at first base tonight against the lefty, Wandy Rodriguez. Carlos Pena is struggling, Baker hits southpaws and Quade likes what he’s seen from Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney at the top of the lineup. Reed Johnson is expected to start tonight in right field.
The Cubs must start hitting the baseball with runners on base … but tonight it all begins with Carlos Zambrano. Carlos Zambrano is coming off his first win of the season. Z was not that good and not that bad against the Brewers, he did just enough to pick up a win. Zambrano allowed four runs on seven hits in six innings with three walks and five strikeouts to Milwaukee.
Zambrano has been decent in his first two outings of the year but his teammates need a little more from him tonight.
Big Z is 14-8 in 31 career games, 29 starts, versus the Astros with a 2.63 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP … 8-4 in 17 games, 15 starts, at Minute Maid with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP. Z was 1-1 against Carlos Lee and company in two starts last year with a 4.22 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP.
Astros Career Numbers against Carlos Zambrano
- Michael Bourn – 6-for-16 with a double and 5 walks
- Bill Hall – 8-for-41 with 2 doubles, 2 triples and 6 walks
- Joe Inglett – 0-for-1 with a walk
- Carlos Lee – 22-for-58 with 6 doubles, five home runs and seven walks
- Hunter Pence – 5-for-25 with 2 doubles and 2 walks
- Humberto Quintero – 1-for-11 with a double and a walk
- Wandy Rodriguez – 1-for-4
- Angel Sanchez – 0-for-3
- Brett Wallace – 1-for-3 with a double
Wandy Rodriguez has been very bad and very good in his two starts this season. The Phillies torched Wandy in his first start of the season (seven runs on nine hits in four innings with a walk and five strikeouts) then Rodriguez held the Marlins to one run on eight hits in seven innings with no walks and two strikeouts.
Rodriguez has been very good at home throughout his career, which does not bode well for the Cubs tonight.
Rodriguez struggled early his career against the Cubs but has dominated them in recent seasons. In 16 starts, Rodriguez is 5-4 with a 3.79 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP … last year, 1-0 in three starts with a 3.60 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Wandy Rodriguez
- Jeff Baker – 5-for-11 with 3 doubles and a walk
- Darwin Barney – 2-for-3
- Marlon Byrd – 5-for-22 with 2 doubles, a home run and a walk
- Starlin Castro – 0-for-3
- Tyler Colvin – 1-for-6 with a home run
- Blake DeWitt – 2-for-6 with a triple
- Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-6
- Koyie Hill – 1-for-4 with a walk
- Reed Johnson – 5-for-20 with a walk
- Carlos Pena – 0-for-2 with a walk
- Aramis Ramirez – 10-for-34 with a double, a home run and a walk
- Alfonso Soriano – 2-for-26 with 3 walks
- Geovany Soto – 5-for-14 with a home run and 3 walks
- Carlos Zambrano – 2-for-9 with a double and a home run
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