Game One Hundred Thirty-Two: Cubs (81-50) vs. Pirates (57-74)
Game Time – 6:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 184
Location – PNC Park, Pittsburgh
Carlos Zambrano (13-5, 3.29/1.26) vs. Ian Snell (5-10, 5.60/1.83)
The Cubs will try to win their fourth game in a row tonight behind Carlos Zambrano….and pick up their 9th consecutive series win in the process. The last time the Cubs won nine consecutive series of two or more games was in 1907 when they won 10 in a row. In order to accomplish that feat they will have to beat Ian Snell who is coming off his best start of the season against the St. Louis Cardinals.
For more historical facts, the Cubs are 16-6 this month with 6 games remaining on the schedule. Lou Piniella’s crew has won 15 games in each of the first 5 months for the first time since 1969.
Lou Piniella reminded the Faithful that his team still has plenty of work to do this season and the next step would be a win tonight against the Bucs while the Brewers and Cardinals are battling each other in St. Louis…. Carlos Zambrano is coming off his first win in the month of August since 2006. Zambrano once again struggled with his command and himself….but fought through his troubles and picked up his 13th win of the season. The Reds scored only 1 run on 6 hits in 7 innings against Big Z while he walked 4 and struck out 4. Zambrano did hit his 4th home run of the season.
While Zambrano may love hitting, the Cubs need him to do what he is paid to do….and that is pitch. Zambrano has not been very Zambrano-like since his start in Milwaukee on July 29th. And despite the performances by Ryan Dempster, Rich Harden and Ted Lilly, the Cubs must get their ace back on track.
Reportedly Zambrano is rushing his pitches and has altered his arm angle. Both Lou Piniella and Larry Rothschild know what is wrong and it is up to Big Z to fix it….
Every game is important from now to the end of the season but after next Wednesday the Cubs schedule becomes very difficult to say the least. After facing the Astros for 3 games at Wrigley (no cake walk there), they hit the road for 16 of their remaining 22 games. For the Cubs to finish the season strong and make it into the playoffs, Carlos Zambrano must be the pitcher he is capable of being….remember, this team goes as Zambrano goes and Big Z must start with a solid outing tonight in Pittsburgh.
Zambrano is 6-4 in 11 road starts this season with a 3.72 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP. Tonight will be his fourth start of the year against the Bucs and he is 1-0 in his first 3 with a 3.94 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP.
- Ryan Doumit – 4-for-12 with a double
- Andy LaRoche – 1-for-4 with a double
- Adam LaRoche – 6-for-25 with 2 doubles
- Nate McLouth – 5-for-17 with a double and a triple
- Nyjer Morgan – 1-for-6
- Brandon Moss – 1-for-2 with a home run
- Freddy Sanchez – 7-for-32 with a double
- Ian Snell – 0-for-2
- Jack Wilson – 8-for-41 with a double
The Cubs will get their third look of the season at Ian Snell tonight. The Pirates’ Opening Day starter has had a rough season but is coming off his best start of the year against the Cardinals. Snell tossed 7 innings of shutout ball against Albert Pujols and company and allowed only 4 hits with a walk and 8 strikeouts. Snell said following the game that the performances by CC Sabathia since arriving in Milwaukee have inspired him to become a better pitcher. Whatever the case, it worked for at least one game.
Snell’s start against the Cardinals has given the Pirates hope for next season and beyond for one of the top arms in their system. Snell is having his best month of the year. He is 1-2 in his last 4 games with a 3.52 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP.
Snell is 3-3 in 11 starts at home this season with a 3.92 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP….more than four runs less per 9 innings at PNC than on the road.
This year Snell is 0-1 in 2 starts against the Cubs with a 6.30 ERA and a 2.00 WHIP while the Cubs have hit a robust .356 against him….both games were at Wrigley. If the offense allows him to get comfortable and gain confidence, it could be a long aggravating night at the plate.
- Henry Blanco – 0-for-3
- Ronny Cedeno – 2-for-5
- Mark DeRosa – 4-for-8 with a double
- Jim Edmonds – 5-for-18 with 2 doubles and 2 home runs
- Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-5 with a triple
- Reed Johnson – 2-for-3
- Derrek Lee – 6-for-23 with 3 doubles
- Aramis Ramirez – 8-for-25 with 4 doubles
- Alfonso Soriano – 7-for-15 with 3 home runs
- Geovany Soto – 3-for-4 with 2 doubles
- Ryan Theriot – 6-for-17 with a double and 2 triples
- Carlos Zambrano – 2-for-4 with a double
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….