Game Twenty-One: Cubs (10-10) vs. Dodgers (11-11)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet, TBS – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Carlos Zambrano (2-0, 4.21/1.25) vs. Hiroki Kuroda (2-2, 3.33/1.19)
Happy Easter from the CCO!
The Cubs enter play this afternoon for a chance to win a series … and move a game over .500. For the fourth Sunday in a row the Cubs have put themselves in position to win a series, in fact, Q’s squad has had a lead (or leads) in each of the three games (0-3) but figured out a way to lose it late … and in turn lose the series. If the Cubs want to leave the mediocre mark behind they must figure out a way to close out series with wins, especially on Sunday.
There are no two ways about it. Mike Quade needs another solid outing from Carlos Zambrano this afternoon. The bullpen is overworked, with the exception of Kerry Wood, and with another ‘Bullpen Day‘ scheduled for Tuesday, plus the Cubs are at the beginning of 13 in a row without a day off (May 5), Q’s veteran starters must start putting together quality starts … and first up is Carlos Zambrano.
In other news … The Cubs all but announced James Russell will make his third big league start Tuesday against the Rockies. After the Cubs acknowledged that Russell is probably better suited as a situational reliever, they have decided to give him another shot in the rotation. The only change is Russell will be treated as a starter this time around and will throw a side session prior to work on his changeup prior to Tuesday.
Today it all starts with Carlos Zambrano … It would be hard to ask Carlos Zambrano to pitch better than he did in his last outing against the Padres. Z took advantage of the weather and a weak hitting team and posted his first 10-strikeout performance since his no hitter in 2008. Z tossed eight innings of shutout ball and allowed just three hits and one walk. Z took a no-decision because the Cubs offense isn’t any better than the Friars’.
Zambrano has been very good this season … but Z’s best stat line is, the Cubs are 4-0 in his first four starts.
Z will make the ninth start of his career against the Dodgers this afternoon. Zambrano is 2-3 in the first eight (12 appearances) with a 3.75 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. Z did not face the Dodgers in 2010 or 2009. The last time he saw a Dodgers team was in the 2008 post-season.
Dodgers Career Numbers against Carlos Zambrano
- Rod Barajas – 0-for-3
- Jamey Carroll – 0-for-6
- Andre Ethier – 6-for-13 with a double and a walk
- Tony Gwynn, Jr. – 5-for-12 with a double and a walk
- Matt Kemp – 3-for-6 with a home run and a walk
- James Loney – 3-for-11 with a walk
- Aaron Miles – 8-for-31 with a double and 2 walks
- Marcus Thames – 0-for-3
- Juan Uribe – 6-for-28 with a double, a home run and 2 walks
The Cubs will get another their third shot at Hiroki Kuroda. While the Cubs are 1-1 in the first two games against Kuroda, hopefully the third time will be a charm. ‘Mr. Complete Game‘ as he was known in Japan has shutdown the Cubs offense in his first two appearances. The Cubs have managed only one earned run (two runs) in 15 1/3 innings with 11 hits and three walks while being struck out 14 times (0.59 Era and a 0.91 WHIP).
Kuroda has been very good for Don Mattingly this season … and has not allowed a run outside of Dodger Stadium this year (one start at PETCO Park, 8 2/3 innings of shutout ball).
Q’s offense must be patience against Kuroda this afternoon … something they have not done in the past.
Cubs Career Numbers against Hiroki Kuroda
- Jeff Baker – 2-for-4 with a triple
- Marlon Byrd – 2-for-3 with a triple
- Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-5 with a walk
- Aramis Ramirez – 1-for-6
- Alfonso Soriano – 3-for-7 with a walk
- Geovany Soto – 1-for-3 with a double
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