Game Fifty-Eight: Cubs (36-21) vs. Padres (23-35)
Game Time – 9:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 186
Location – PETCO Park, San Diego
Carlos Zambrano (7-1, 2.33/1.19) vs. Cha Seung Baek (1-1, 5.23/1.32)
Lou Piniella’s crew opens a big 7-game road trip tonight with the first of three against the Padres. Carlos Zambrano will look to end the Cubs 2-game road losing streak and get them to within 2 games of .500 away from Wrigley Field (10-13). The Cubs have played better on the road than the record indicates. Lou Piniella mentioned in his pre-game show on Sunday that his team is failing to execute on the road and that is the biggest difference in the home-road record.
The Cubs were scheduled to face Shawn Estes for the second time this season but he slipped on the dugout steps in San Francisco and broke the thumb on his left hand. Bud Black has decided to insert newly acquired Cha Seung Baek in Estes’ spot in the rotation.
The Cubs are 26-8 at home and 10-13 on the road and the Padres play better ball in San Diego, 13-15, compared to a 10-20 record away from PETCO. This is a big test for the Cubs. They have posted identical 2-4 records in their last two trips (4-8) and play 23 of the next 32 away from the Friendly Confines. A winning trip out West will answer a lot of questions and would be a good way to begin a very difficult month. Carlos Zambrano is coming off a solid start against the Dodgers. Zambrano struggled with his command and threw a season-high 130 pitches. Zambrano made only one mistake, a bases loaded walk to Blake DeWitt and left the game in the 8th inning trailing 1-0. The Cubs offense could not figure out Derek Lowe but scratched out a run in the 9th and won the game in the 10th after a 1-out double by Mike Fontenot and a single by Alfonso Soriano.
Zambrano stuck around for 8 innings, only the second time this season, and allowed only 6 hits but walked 4 and struck out only 3….the first outing of the year in which Zambrano walked more than he struck out.
As good as Zambrano has been this season….he’s been even better on the road. Zambrano is 3-1 in 4 starts with a 2.25 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP. Take out the horrible start against the Pirates at PNC on May 17th and Zambrano is 3-0 with 1.13 ERA….only 3 earned runs in 24 innings.
Zambrano beat the Padres at Wrigley on May 12th. He allowed 3 runs on 6 hits in 7 innings with 5 strikeouts and 2 walks. In 8 career starts against the Friars, Zambrano is 5-1 with a 2.19 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP….in 2 career starts at PETCO, Zambrano is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP, no runs allowed in 14 innings with only 7 hits, 7 walks and 17 strikeouts.
- Michael Barrett – 0-for-2
- Jody Gerut – 1-for-2 with a home run and 2 walks
- Brian Giles – 2-for-15 with 2 doubles and 2 walks
- Adrian Gonzalez – 1-for-5
- Khalil Greene – 1-for-16
- Tadahito Iguchi – 3-for-15
The Cubs will get their first look at Cha Seung Baek tonight. Baek was acquired from the Mariners last week for right-handed pitcher Jared Wells. Baek was designated for assignment by the Mariners on May 21st and will make his first start for the Padres tonight after picking up a win for Bud Black last Friday in San Francisco. Baek made one start for the Mariners this season….in Oakland on April 25th and allowed 1 run on 1 hit with a walk and 4 strikeouts in 6 innings.
Baek is 11-9 in 38 career games, 24 starts, at the big league level with a 4.93 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP.
Mark DeRosa (1-for-6) and Reed Johnson (2-for-5) are the only two Cubs that have faced the 28-year old right-hander.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….