Game Forty-Five: Cubs (22-22) vs. Pirates (21-25)
Game Time – 1:20pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 184
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Carlos Zambrano (3-2, 4.64/1.43) vs. Zach Duke (5-4, 2.77/1.08)
Weather permitting…The Cubs will try to make it two in a row today behind Carlos Zambrano and win their first series since sweeping the Padres during the last homestand (May 12-May 14). Derrek Lee is expected back today after missing the last three days with the flu. Carlos Marmol is expected back as well after missing the last two games for the birth of his child. With the southpaw on the mound today, Reed Johnson and Geovany Soto should get the start…hopefully Bobby Scales is fully recovered from his bout with the flu and is healthy enough to start today.
A quick show reminder…The CCO Radio will air live tonight at 7:00pm C.T. following the Cubs final game of the Pirates series on Blog Talk Radio. To listen to the 60-minute call-in show live, click on this link and go to Blog Talk Radio. The podcast of the show will be available around 9:00pm C.T. and can be accessed through the player on the right side of the CCO or through Blog Talk Radio.
Discuss the Cubs-Pirates game and everything Cubs with Brian and Shaun. The call-in number to talk Cubs with Brian and Shaun live is 347-237-4020. Possible topics for Wednesday night…The Cubs’ Power Outage, the ‘Bull’-pen, Wednesday’s Roster Moves, Milton Bradley, Lou Piniella and is the ownership affecting the team more than anyone realizes. Carlos Zambrano will make his second start today since returning from the DL on May 22. Zambrano struggled with his command in the first inning but settled down and turned in a better outing than his line indicates.
Zambrano took the loss against the Padres and Jake Peavy. Big Z gave up three runs on three hits with four walks and seven strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. Zambrano appeared to be getting on track before his stint on the DL and his team needs him to step up today.
The Cubs’ number one pitcher has struggled at Wrigley this season. Zambrano is 1-1 in three starts with a 5.68 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP. If the Cubs are going to turn the season around they must start getting wins from Carlos Zambrano.
Big Z has not fared well against the Pirates over the past two seasons. He is 10-6 in 24 career games, 22 starts, against the Bucs with a 4.12 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP…last season, 1-0 in four starts with a 5.75 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP. One of the main reasons for Zambrano’s struggles against the Pirates is all of the lefties in their lineup. Zambrano is getting hit hard this season by left-handed hitters to the tune of a .322 batting average and a 1.95 WHIP.
- Zach Duke – 0-for-2 with a walk
- Eric Hinske – 1-for-3
- Andy LaRoche – 1-for-4 with a double
- Adam LaRoche – 7-for-28 with 3 doubles and 4 walks
- Nate McLouth – 5-for-19 with a double, a triple and 6 walks
- Nyjer Morgan – 1-for-8 with a walk
- Brandon Moss – 3-for-5 with a home run
- Freddy Sanchez – 8-for-34 with a double and 2 walks
- Jack Wilson – 9-for-44 with 2 doubles and 3 walks
The Cubs will face a familiar face today in Zach Duke…and probably one they would rather have missed. The young southpaw has owned the Cubs in the past and the offense must not allow him to get comfortable today.
Duke pitched a gem on the South Side in his last start…but was a hard luck loser. Duke allowed just two runs on six hits in eight innings and lost 2-0 to the Sox. Duke has allowed more than two earned runs in only three of his nine starts this season. The Cubs must play fundamental baseball today and Lou would do well to insert a couple of lefties in the lineup.
Lou Piniella always plays the percentages but Duke dominates right-handed hitters (.214 batting average) and struggles against lefties (.214 batting average)…Piniella needs to throw away the book today.
Zach Duke is 4-5 in 13 career starts against the Cubs with a 3.07 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP…last season, 0-3 in five starts with a 4.91 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP. Duke is 3-3 in eight career starts at Wrigley with a 3.27 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP.
- Milton Bradley – 2-for-4 with 2 doubles
- Ryan Freel – 3-for-8
- Kosuke Fukudome – 1-for-6
- Reed Johnson – 6-for-14 with 2 doubles
- Derrek Lee – 10-for-35 with 2 doubles, a home run and 2 walks
- Aaron Miles – 5-for-13 with a walk
- Alfonso Soriano – 14-for-25 with 3 doubles, 2 home runs and 2 walks
- Geovany Soto – 3-for-12 with a double and 2 walks
- Ryan Theriot – 8-for-25 with 3 doubles and 2 walks
- Carlos Zambrano – 2-for-4
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….