I attended my first game of the season Wednesday night and saw the latest episode of Jason Marquis’ serial drama, “I’m Gonna Prove That All You People Didn’t Know What The Hell You Were Talking About,” co-starring Larry Rothschild as The Mentor. It was a joy to behold, so much so that I was almost oblivious to the fact that one of our hitters
left nine of his teammates out on the bases.
Anyway, I got home too late to post anything. Now, I’m at the keyboard and in the interim, Carlos Zambrano went out and struck the latest blow in his battle to become our fifth starter. As the game report at cubs.com
points out, opponents are hitting .361 against Zambrano in their first-inning at-bats, and Z has yielded 13 first-inning runs in 8 starts. To date, the chief suspect has been arm angle, as in, Carlos’s has been too low or too all over the place. In Carrie Muskat’s piece
, Lou Piniella also mentions another possible cause of Zambrano’s problems:
"It's my opinion that we have to get him a little closed," Piniella said of Zambrano's delivery. "I think the hitters are getting a pretty good view of him. A good case in point is we bring [Rocky] Cherry into the ballgame, and he stays nice and closed, and left-handed hitters are having a hard time picking him up. To me, I think if [Zambrano] stays closed, and hides the ball from the hitter, he'll have better success.”
Carlos swears he’s not frustrated, but it sounds like he is
getting frustrated by the number of queries about his frustration level. (The unfavorable comparison to Rocky Cherry also can't be a mood elevator.)
So if you see Zambrano on the street in Philadelphia or New York, don’t bring the frustration thing up. Just tell Carlos we already have a couple candidates for the #5 job.
But we sure wouldn't mind him pitching like a #1.