Game Thirty-Eight: Cubs (22-15) vs. Padres (14-24)
Game Time – 7:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Carlos Zambrano (5-1, 1.80/1.11) vs. Randy Wolf (2-2, 4.14/1.26)
After an impressive weekend against the Diamondbacks, Lou Piniella’s crew opens a 4-game series tonight with the San Diego Padres. The Cubs have not faired too well this season against teams with a losing record and must not give back to the Padres what they just earned against Arizona.
The Padres are a better team than their record indicates. After a rough week that included releasing Jim Edmonds, they won their last two games against the Rockies in San Diego over the weekend. The Padres will be playing in the third different time zone since finishing a series in Atlanta on Thursday. The Padres can throw the ball with the best of them….it is hitting it right now that is the challenge for Bud Black’s team.
The Padres have been a thorn in the Cubs side for many years, and to this day the name Steve Garvey still raises the blood pressure of many of the Faithful. The Cubs must not take the Padres lightly and build on the momentum from the last 3 games. Carlos Zambrano has become the ace of Lou Piniella’s staff after being the Cubs number one pitcher for the last several seasons. After the roller coaster ride that was his 2007 campaign, Zambrano appears to have finally put it together. The mark of a good pitcher is the ability to win games on days he does not have his best stuff….and that describes Zambrano’s last two outings. In those two outings, however, he has given up a total of 1 earned run in 14 1/3 innings on 10 hits with 6 strikeouts and 5 walks, against the Reds and the Brewers.
The biggest difference in Zambrano this year is his ability to throw strikes, keep his pitch count down and limit all of those free passes that has cut his outings short in the past. In 55 innings (8 starts) he has 38 strikeouts and only 14 walks. The Cubs are 5-3 in Big Z’s 8 starts.
Zambrano has pitched very well in the past against the Padres. He is 4-1 in 7 career starts with a 1.94 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP while holding the Padres to a .211 batting average. Zambrano lost his only start against the Padres last season. Zambrano started and finished the Derrek Lee-Chris Young game on June 16th at Wrigley. Zambrano threw a complete game but lost 1-0 after Russell Branyan went deep off Z in the 9th inning.
- Brian Giles – 2-for-12 with 2 doubles
- Adrian Gonzalez – 0-for-2 with 2 walks
- Khalil Greene – 0-for-13
- Tadahito Iguchi – 2-for-11 with 2 walks
Randy Wolf has been solid in his first year for Bud Black in San Diego. After starting only 18 games for the Dodgers in 2007, Wolf had season ending surgery and signed with the Padres this past winter. He has completed at least 6 innings in all but one of his first 7 starts.
Wolf has not posted a win in his last 3 outings and the Padres have lost those games by a total of 13-5. The Padres’ offense is what has struggled at the beginning of the season, not their pitching.
Wolf is 2-5 in 12 career starts against the Cubs with a 4.35 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP. Wolf beat the Cubs last year in Los Angeles on May 27th. Wolf threw 6 innings of shutout ball and allowed just 3 hits. Angel Guzman hit Juan Pierre in the 11th inning to force in the winning run.
Tonight will be Wolf’s 7th career start at Wrigley, he is 1-3 in the first 6 with a 4.21 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP.
- Mark DeRosa – 5-for-25
- Derrek Lee – 6-for-29 with a double and a triple
- Aramis Ramirez – 3-for-13 with a double and a home run
- Alfonso Soriano – 1-for-8
- Ryan Theriot – 0-for-3
- Daryle Ward – 0-for-2
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….