Game Ninety-Eight: Cubs (51-46) vs. Cardinals (45-50)
Game Time – 7:10pm C.T. Comcast SportsNet, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – Busch Stadium, St. Louis
Carlos Zambrano (12-7, 3.69/1.26) vs. Kip Wells (4-12, 5.75/1.53)
Updated – 5:15pm C.T. – With News From the Wire….Ronny Cedeno Recalled – Scott Moore Optioned
After a well-deserved day off, the Cubs open a 3-game series tonight against the Cardinals and play their next 6 games on the road against division opponents. The Cardinals enter play tonight 5 games back of the Cubs and 8 games back of the first place Brewers. They are looking at the upcoming week as a way to make up ground against the teams they are chasing and get back in the race for the Central Division crown….the Brewers go to St. Louis for a 3-game weekend series. Today starts a string of 20 consecutive days without a day off for Lou Piniella’s crew.
The Cubs have a great opportunity to put distance between themselves and their archrivals but in order to do so, they obviously need to get their offense back on track and score some runs, something they failed to do in the last 14 innings they played. Derrek Lee is expected back in the starting lineup and should give the offense a much-needed lift, but it all starts with Carlos Zambrano. Lou Piniella’s needs his ace to step up tonight, be a stopper and put an end to the mini 2-game losing streak. Carlos Zambrano has pitched very well on the road this season (7-2 with a 3.13 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP) and has been just about unhittable of late. Zambrano has not allowed an earned run in his last 2 starts (11 2/3 innings) and has given up just 5 hits with 5 walks and has recorded 10 strikeouts. He is 3-1 in his last 4 starts with a 1.42 ERA. Zambrano is tied with Brad Penny of the Dodgers with 12 wins on the season, most in the National League.
Zambrano beat the Cardinals back on April 28th in St. Louis, his first and only career start at new Busch Stadium. He allowed just 1 run on 7 hits in 7 innings of work, did not allow a walk and struck out 2….his best outing of the year at the time. Zambrano is 6-4 in 17 games, 16 starts, against the Cardinals in his career with a 2.43 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.
- Albert Pujols – 9-41, with 2 doubles, 3 home runs and 7 RBI’s
The Cubs will get their first look at Kip Wells tonight in a Cardinals’ uniform. Wells has been a disappointment in St. Louis this season but is coming off his best start of the year. Wells tossed a 2-hit, 8-inning shutout against the Marlins on July 18th. On July 13th, Wells lasted just 1-inning against the Phillies and gave up 6 runs, 4 earned, on 8 hits. Wells is 2-4 with a 4.69 ERA at Busch compared to a 2-8 record with a 6.71 ERA on the road this season.
Wells is 3-3 in 14 career starts against the Cubs with a 3.06 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP.
- Jacque Jones – 8-19, with a double, 2 home runs and 3 RBI’s
- Derrek Lee – 5-23, with 2 home runs and 2 RBI’s
- Aramis Ramirez – 4-13, with a double, a home run and 4 RBI’s
- Alfonso Soriano – 6-8, with 2 doubles and 2 RBI’s
- Carlos Zambrano – 1-2, with a double and 2 RBI’s
The Cubs are 3-2 in 5 games against the Cardinals this season and 2-0 at Busch Stadium.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….
Update – 5:15pm C.T. – According to several reports out of Chicago, Ronny Cedeno has been recalled from Triple-A Iowa and Scott Moore has been optioned back.