Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Padres – 04/18/11

Game Sixteen: Cubs (7-8) vs. Padres (7-8)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WCIU – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago

Carlos Zambrano (2-0, 6.11/1.58) vs. Tim Stauffer (0-1, 4.80/1.87)

Weather permitting … the Cubs open a ten-day, nine-game homestand tonight with the first of three against the San Diego Padres. The Padres split a four-game series with the Astros in Houston and are in the middle 20 games in a row without an off day.

The Cubs won three of the eight meetings against the Friars last season with all three wins coming on a late season trip to San Diego that knocked the Padres out of the playoff picture … the last game was a match-up of tonight’s starters and Carlos Zambrano out dueled Tim Stauffer in a 1-0 Cubs victory. But that was then and the Padres have a new look this season with the same shutdown bullpen. Gone is Adrian Gonzalez with Jason Bartlett and Orlando Hudson at short and second respectively … with Brad Hawpe and Jorge Cantu handling the duties at first base.

With all of the problems in the starting rotation and lack of quality starts from Q’s Big Three, the Cubs need for Carlos Zambrano to put together a nice long quality start that results in a win … especially with another ‘Bullpen Day‘ scheduled for Tuesday.

According to a report from Bruce Levine, Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner will be re-evaluated by team doctors on Monday. Wells and Cashner have not picked up a ball since being placed on the DL nearly two weeks ago. If everything checks out with Wells he could begin throwing again this week. The report did not mention a possible target date for Wells to return to the mound.

As for Cashner, the Cubs are being more cautious with him due to his injury being a rotator cuff in his shoulder.

As two 7-8 teams battle it out to reach .500, tonight it all begins with Carlos Zambrano

Carlos Zambrano is coming off five excellent innings and a very bad 2/3 of an inning against the Astros. Z picked up his second victory of the year but took a commanding 6-0 lead in the sixth. The Astros scored five runs off Z, who admitted after the game he lost concentration on the mound after his mammoth homer in the top of the sixth.

The Cubs need for Z to at least put together a quality start. Q’s starters are not pitching deep into games and the bullpen is getting used too much. With another ‘Bullpen Day‘ scheduled for Tuesday, a good long quality outing from Zambrano is a necessity.

Both of Zambrano’s wins this season have come on the road and like Ryan Dempster, Big Z must start pitching better at Wrigley. Zambrano was 3-2 in 16 games, seven starts, with a 2.10 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP at home last season.

Zambrano is 7-2 in 12 career starts versus the Friars with a 2.37 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP … last season, 1-0 in two starts with a 0.69 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP.

Padres Career Numbers against Carlos Zambrano

  • Jason Bartlett – 1-for-3
  • Jorge Cantu – 4-for-9 with a home run and 2 walks
  • Chris Denorfia – 2-for-3 with 2 walks
  • Brad Hawpe – 1-for-12 with a walk
  • Chase Headley – 1-for-6 with 3 walks
  • Ryan Ludwick – 8-for-19 with 2 home runs and 2 walks
  • Tim Stauffer – 0-for-1 with a walk
  • Will Venable – 0-for-2 with a walk

Tim Stauffer is coming off a no decision to the Reds his last time out. Stauffer held the Reds high-powered offense to two runs on six hits in 4 1/3 innings of work. The Padres ended up winning the game 3-2 and are 2-1 in Stauffer’s three starts this season.

Stauffer began his season on a positive note by picking up a win on Opening Day against the Cardinals. Stauffer allowed two runs on nine hits in six innings of work. Since his first start of the season, Stauffer has not completed five innings and has almost walked (4) as many batters as he’s struck out (5).

The Cubs must make Tim Stauffer work tonight … and patience is not a trait of Q’s squad.

Tim Stauffer is 0-2 in three career games, two starts, against the Cubs with a 3.46 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP. The Cubs beat him last year in San Diego 1-0. Carlos Zambrano pitched an excellent game and shutout the Padres on just four hits.

Cubs Career Numbers against Tim Stauffer

  • Jeff Baker – 0-for-1
  • Marlon Byrd – 2-for-3
  • Starlin Castro – 0-for-3
  • Tyler Colvin – 0-for-1
  • Blake DeWitt – 2-for-4
  • Kosuke Fukudome – 0-for-3
  • Koyie Hill – 0-for-3
  • Aramis Ramirez – 1-for-5 with a walk
  • Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-3 with a double
  • Carlos Zambrano – 0-for-2 with a walk

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