Game Nine: Cubs (4-4) vs. Brewers (3-5)
Game Time – 1:20pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 184
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Carlos Zambrano (1-1, 11.88/1.92) vs. Jeff Suppan (0-0, -.–/-.–)
It is Jackie Robinson Day in Major League Baseball
Lou Piniella’s crew will try to complete the three-game sweep of the Brewers this afternoon behind Carlos Zambrano. Zambrano is coming off a good outing against the Reds.
Derrek Lee is expected back in the lineup this afternoon. Lee received a cortisone shot in his thumb on Monday and was told not to take BP on Wednesday. Reports on Wednesday also suggested Tyler Colvin would be a part of the starting nine today. Colvin should get the start in left for Alfonso Soriano … solely based on Soriano’s career numbers against Jeff Suppan.
Not only would a win today put the Cubs over .500 on the very young season but a 3-0 start to the home part of the schedule would go a long way toward making last week a distant memory … Which Carlos Zambrano will take the mound this afternoon? The one from Opening Day or the one that improved in every inning in Cincinnati.
Carlos Zambrano is coming off a quality start against the Reds last Saturday. After getting off to a rocky start, Zambrano appeared to get stronger as the game wore on. Zambrano left after seven complete and put together one of his better innings in years to finish his afternoon.
Following the game, Zambrano admitted he was checking the radar gun at Great American Ball Park in order to monitor his velocity. Zambrano needs to build off his last start and put his team in position to win their third game in a row.
Big Z struggled last year at Wrigley and posted just two wins (2-5 in 13 starts last seasons with a 5.03 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP). Wins are not the best way to evaluate a pitcher’s performance but one thing is certain, Zambrano has been inconsistent at Wrigley the past two years … and he must work on throwing the ball better in his home ballpark.
Today will be Zambrano’s 26th career start against the Brewers. Zambrano is 10-8 in 26 games, 25 starts, with a 3.74 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP … last year, Big Z did not have a decision in three starts with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP. Zambrano made it easy on Milwaukee’s offense … 10 walks and 18 hits in 18 innings with only 19 strikeouts.
Brewers’ Career Numbers against Carlos Zambrano
- Ryan Braun – 7-for-26 with a double, a home run and a walk
- Craig Counsell – 7-for-30 with 2 doubles and 6 walks
- Jim Edmonds – 8-for-40 with a double, a home run and 8 walks
- Alcides Escobar – 1-for-2 with a triple
- Prince Fielder – 12-for-33 with 5 doubles, 2 home runs and 11 walks
- Jody Gerut – 2-for-4 with a home run and 3 walks
- Corey Hart – 7-for-23 with a double, a triple and 4 walks
- Casey McGehee – 2-for-6
- Jeff Suppan – 1-for-7
- Rickie Weeks – 8-for-32 with 2 doubles and a home run
- Gregg Zaun – 0-for-5
The Cubs will get another look at a very familiar face. Jeff Suppan will make his first start of the year after missing his first turn in the rotation with cervical disc pain. Suppan was placed on the DL on March 26 and will be activated for this afternoon’s game.
For the 24th time in his career, Suppan will take the mound against the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs have struggled against Suppan in the past and must make him work. If Piniella’s offense goes to the plate swinging, it could be a long day at the Friendly Confines.
Suppan is 6-9 in 23 starts versus Chicago with a 3.63 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP … at Wrigley, 4-4 in 12 starts with a 3.77 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP. Last year, Suppan was 0-3 in four starts against Lou Piniella’s crew with a 3.80 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP. The Cubs hit just over the Mendoza Line against Suppan (.207).
Cubs’ Career Numbers against Jeff Suppan
- Jeff Baker – 0-for-2 with a walk
- Marlon Byrd – 5-for-14 with a double and a walk
- Mike Fontenot – 4-for-11 with a double and a walk
- Kosuke Fukudome – 3-for-11 with a double, a triple and 7 walks
- Koyie Hill – 1-for-6 with a double and 2 walks
- Derrek Lee – 22-for-51 with 7 doubles, 5 home runs and 10 walks
- Xavier Nady – 4-for-16 with a double, a home run and a walk
- Aramis Ramirez – 11-for-45 with 4 doubles, a home run and 4 walks
- Alfonso Soriano – 9-for-46 with 2 doubles, 2 home runs and 3 walks
- Geovany Soto – 2-for-11 with 2 home runs and 2 walks
- Ryan Theriot – 8-for-24 with a double and a walk
- Chad Tracy – 4-for-18 with a walk
- Carlos Zambrano – 4-for-9 with a triple
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …