Game Seventy-Six: Cubs (31-44) vs. Royals (31-45)
Game Time – 6:10pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City
Carlos Zambrano (6-4, 4.50/1.33) vs. Danny Duffy (1-2, 5.03/1.79)
The Cubs will try to win their first Interleague series in their last seven tries tonight behind Carlos Zambrano. The Cubs have struggled in Interleague play once again this year and are 4-6 against the Red Sox, Yankees, White Sox and Royals with five games remaining against the American League this season
Reed Johnson is expected back in the starting lineup tonight. Mike Quade said Friday that he would not play Johnson more than two games in a row. The Cubs are trying to keep Johnson as fresh, and injury free, as possible
The Cubs will face one of the Royals top pitching prospects tonight in Danny Duffy. The 22-year old lefty has electric stuff and is one of the many young players that the Royals are counting on to help turn the organization around. Duffy had to leave his last start after straining his calf. Duffy struck out nine St. Louis Cardinals in 3 2/3 innings before the injury cut short his outing.
In other news … Darwin Barney will begin his rehab assignment tonight with Triple-A Iowa. Barney was fitted for a knee brace and is expects to be activated prior to Wednesday night’s game against the Giants. Marlon Byrd will head to Triple-A and start his rehab stint with Iowa on Monday. Byrd and the Cubs are hoping for a July 4th return against the Nationals. And finally, Kerry Wood threw a bullpen session Friday and according to the Sun-Times, Wood will need at least one or two more side sessions before the Cubs set a date for his return from the DL.
Mike Quade should run out a similar starting lineup as the one that faced Bruce Chen on Friday night.
On Aramis Ramirez’s 33rd birthday, it all starts with Carlos Zambrano … Carlos Zambrano is coming off one of his best performances of the year. After allowing three runs to the first four batters he faced, Zambrano settled down and threw seven innings of shutout ball against the White Sox. Z completed eight innings, turned the game over to Carlos Marmol and broke his four-game winless streak.
Zambrano has put together a solid first three months of the season. Big Z is no longer the dominant pitcher he once was but for the most part is still very effective.
Z is 1-2 in his last four starts with a 5.27 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP … and on the road this season, 5-2 in nine starts with a 4.97 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP.
Tonight will be Carlos Zambrano’s first career start against the Kansas City Royals.
Royals Career Numbers against Carlos Zambrano
- Wilson Betemit – 2-for-4 with a double and a home run
- Melky Cabrera – 0-for-1 with a walk
- Alcides Escobar – 1-for-9 with a triple
- Jeff Francoeur – 5-for-25 with a double, 2 home runs and a walk
- Chris Getz – 2-for-5 with 2 doubles and a walk
Baseball America ranked lefty Danny Duffy the seventh best prospect in the Royals system in their pre-season rankings. The Royals selected the 22-year old lefty in the third round of the 2007 draft out of Lompoc, CA (HS). Duffy is coming off a short start against the Cardinals (two runs on six hits with a walk and nine strikeouts) and he’s yet to post a win at home in three tries. Duffy was lifted in the fourth inning against the Cardinals with a calf strain.
Danny Duffy is 0-2 in three starts at Kauffman Stadium with a 6.92 ERA and a 2.46 WHIP. The Cubs must be patient against the extremely talented southpaw.
Duffy can light up a radar gun. His fastball is consistently in the mid to upper 90s (95-97) but not at the start of games. Duffy increases his velocity as his outings progress. Duffy features an above average changeup, a slow curve ball and a slider that he throws from a three-quarters arm slot.
Duffy has made just seven starts at the big league level after receiving his call to the show at the end of May.
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