Game Thirty-Four: Cubs (15-18) vs. Cardinals (20-15)
Game Time – 7:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: WGN TV, MLB Network – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 89
Location – Wrigley Field, Chicago
Carlos Zambrano (4-1, 4.23/1.19) vs. Chris Carpenter (0-2, 4.19/1.35)
It’s the first meeting of the year between the Cubs and Cardinals … and this series will have a little extra twist to it. Not only will Albert Pujols have to answer a ton of questions about his future in St. Louis … but a certain former shortstop will make his return to Wrigley Field.
Ryan Theriot made headlines in the off-season when he was traded to the Dodgers to the Cardinals. Theriot stated he is now on the right side of the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry. Theriot has since explained his comments were taken out of context. The Cubs must focus on winning games and not allowing the likes of Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman hit the ball all over Wrigley Field.
The Cardinals are in first place and have won 20 games without Chris Carpenter posting a single victory. In fact the Redbirds are just 1-6 in Carpenter’s seven starts. The Cubs showed they can beat Carpenter last season … but if Q’s squad continues to struggle with runners in scoring position (4-for-24 with RISP and 25 left on base in the Reds series), Carpenter will post his first win of the year tonight.
One of the two teams in the central the Cubs had a winning record against last season was the Cardinals. The Cubs won nine of the 15 meetings and if they want to stick around in the division this season they will have to post a similar record against their long-time rival.
Tonight it all begins with Carlos Zambrano … Carlos Zambrano has posted a victory in back-to-back starts and is coming off an impressive outing against the Dodgers. Big Z held the Andre Ethier-less Dodgers to one run on five hits with a walk and four strikeouts in eight innings. Z was efficient and threw strikes, his lone free pass was not issued until the eighth. While Z has been very good this season, the most impressive stat is the Cubs’ record when Z has taken the ball … the Cubs are 6-1 in his seven starts this season.
Z needs to improve on his outings at Wrigley. Tonight will be his fourth of the season and he’s 0-1 with a 4.26 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP.
Carlos Zambrano is 12-6 in his career against the Cardinals. In 29 career games, 26 starts, Z owns a 3.42 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP versus the Redbirds … last season, 2-0 in four games, two starts, with a 2.03 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP. Mike Quade will need a similar performance tonight from Zambrano in order to start the series on a positive note.
Cardinals Career Numbers against Carlos Zambrano
- Lance Berkman – 11-for-70 with 4 home runs and 15 walks
- Chris Carpenter – 0-for-15
- Matt Holliday – 4-for-19 with a triple and 4 walks
- Jon Jay – 2-for-3
- Gerald Laird – 0-for-3
- Yadier Molina – 7-for-35 with a home run and 3 walks
- Albert Pujols – 18-for-66 with 5 doubles, 5 home runs and 10 walks
- Colby Rasmus – 3-for-12 with a double and a walk
Chris Carpenter has struggled this season … but he’s still Chris Carpenter and he will get a break tonight facing the Cubs’ offense. Carpenter has been tagged with double digit hits in his last two outings (Braves and Marlins, 10 hits) and has given up nine runs, seven earned, on 20 hits with five walks and seven strikeouts in his last 13 innings (4.84 ERA, 1.92 WHIP). The Cubs must wait him out tonight and get into the Cardinals’ pen as early as possible. The Cardinals are an excellent team with a bad bullpen … and a questionable defense.
Carpenter has struggled on the road this season … 0-1 in three starts with a 5.50 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP.
Tonight will be Chris Carpenter’s 23rd career start versus the Cubs. He is 10-6 in the first 22 with a 3.10 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP … at Wrigley, 7-3 in 13 starts with a 3.72 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP.
After years of dominating the Cubs, Carpenter posted a 1-3 record in five starts versus Chicago last season with a 4.20 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP.
Cubs Career Numbers against Chris Carpenter
- Jeff Baker – 1-for-4
- Darwin Barney – 0-for-3
- Marlon Byrd – 8-for-22 with a double
- Starlin Castro – 3-for-11 with a double and a walk
- Tyler Colvin – 3-for-11 with 2 home runs
- Blake DeWitt – 3-for-13 with 3 doubles
- Kosuke Fukudome – 2-for-17 with 4 walks
- Koyie Hill – 3-for-10 with 2 doubles
- Reed Johnson – 0-for-7
- Aramis Ramirez – 20-for-60 with 5 doubles, 2 home runs and 2 outs
- Alfonso Soriano – 14-for-42 with a double, 2 home runs and 3 walks
- Geovany Soto – 3-for-12 with a walk
- Carlos Zambrano – 7-for-14 with a double
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