Game One Hundred Seventeen: Cubs (48-68) vs. Cardinals (65-49)
Game Time – 3:10pm CDT
Coverage – TV: FOX Saturday Baseball – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 183
Location – Busch Stadium, St. Louis
Carlos Zambrano (3-6, 5.46/1.79) vs. Chris Carpenter (13-3, 2.89/1.16)
After losing 14 of their last 16 ballgames, the Chicago Cubs enter play this afternoon 20 games under .500. The Cubs began the season with a payroll around $140 million and now they employee an active roster with 10 rookies on it … six of the 10 either in the rotation or in the bullpen. And there is talk that Casey Coleman could replace Thomas Diamond in the rotation, with Diamond going to the pen.
Could this group of players end up losing 100 games this season? The writing is on the wall unless something changes over the final 46 games.
Aramis Ramirez took batting practice Friday and the Cubs are hoping he will be able to play this afternoon. Jeff Baker tweaked his back during infield drills Friday afternoon and was scratched from the starting lineup. If Ramirez and Baker cannot go, Blake DeWitt will get the start again at the hot corner.
Chris Carpenter will make his first start since the brawl in Cincinnati last Tuesday. Multiple reports indicated Carpenter received nasty puncture wounds from being kicked by Johnny Cueto. Cueto received a seven-game suspension for his actions.
Today it all begins with Carlos Zambrano … Carlos Zambrano will make just his 11th start of the season this afternoon, second since returning from the restricted list on July 30. Zambrano was shaky at best in his last outing against the Giants. Z struggled with his command and his velocity. Zambrano tied a career-high in walks with seven … and Z’s fastball registered in the high 80s all night.
Zambrano has been beyond horrible on the road this season. Z is 2-4 in 14 games, seven starts, with a 7.23 ERA and a 1.93 WHIP. Zambrano has issued almost as many walks (26) as strikeouts (33).
This afternoon will be Zambrano’s 25th career start versus the Redbirds. He is 10-6 in 27 games, 24 starts, with a 3.50 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP. At Busch, Z is 4-0 in five starts with a 1.62 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP.
Cardinals Career Numbers against Carlos Zambrano
- Chris Carpenter – 0-for-11
- Matt Holliday – 4-for-14 with a triple and 4 walks
- Felipe Lopez – 14-for-40 with 2 doubles, a triple, 2 home runs and 9 walks
- Aaron Miles – 8-for-31 with a double and 2 walks
- Yadier Molina – 7-for-32 with a home run and 2 walks
- Albert Pujols – 16-for-61 with 4 doubles, 5 home runs and 9 walks
- Colby Rasmus – 1-for-7 with a walk
- Brendan Ryan – 0-for-8
- Skip Schumaker – 10-for-29 with 2 doubles, a triple, a home run and 2 walks
- Randy Winn – 6-for-14 with 2 doubles, a home run and 3 walks
The Cubs’ offense must take advantage of the opportunities Chris Carpenter gives them this afternoon … and there figures to be only a couple of them. Chris Carpenter has slowly turned over his title of the Cardinals’ ace to Adam Wainwright but Carpenter is still one of the top 10 pitchers in all of baseball.
Carpenter has not lost a game since July 8 and is coming off back-to-back wins against the Astros and Reds. Carpenter held the Reds’ offense to two runs on five hits in seven innings last Monday.
Chris Carpenter has owned the Chicago Cubs during a majority of his career in a Cardinals’ uniform. Carpenter is 10-3 in 19 career starts versus the Cubs with a 2.79 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP. The Cubs have not beaten Carpenter since August 10, 2008 and he is 1-0 in two starts against the Cubs this season with a 2.63 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Chris Carpenter
- Jeff Baker – 1-for-4
- Marlon Byrd – 6-for-17
- Starlin Castro – 2-for-6
- Tyler Colvin – 2-for-5 with a home run
- Blake DeWitt – 2-for-6 with 2 doubles
- Kosuke Fukudome – 2-for-13 with 2 walks
- Koyie Hill – 0-for-3
- Derrek Lee – 16-for-52 with 3 doubles, a home run and 3 walks
- Xavier Nady – 0-for-5
- Aramis Ramirez – 15-for-51 with 4 doubles, a home run and 2 walks
- Alfonso Soriano – 13-for-39 with a double, a home run and a walk
- Carlos Zambrano – 6-for-10 with a double
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …