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The Return of Z: Cubs (24-29) @ Pirates (22-31)

UPDATE: Wednesday night's game was rained out and will be made up this coming Monday at 11:35am, Chicago time. According to the Tribune's Paul Sullivan, Lou Piniella has yet to determine if Carlos Zambrano will start on Friday, when the Cubs open a three-game series in Houston.

 


From starter to set-up guy to long relief man to who-knows-what and finally, back to starter, Carlos Zambrano's strange season takes its next turn tonight at PNC Park. Zambrano will be making his first start since April 20th, when he threw 119 pitches and gave up two runs over six innings in a 4-0 loss to the Mets. Lou Piniella said he will limit Zambrano's workload tonight to 70 pitches or so. Can't help but wonder if that will get us through the second or third inning...

 

Cub-Fan Misery Loves Company

It's not that there is absolutely nothing positive to say about the Cubs right now. It's that the positives are so deep beneath so much raw sewage, I just don't have it in me to go baling through the muck to uncover them.

Instead, I have decided that the best way to get through this latest low spot in this awful season is to find a National League team even more woeful than our Cubs.

There are some solid candidates:

Game preview: Cubs (24-28) @ Pirates (21-31)

"I don't know, I don't know, I don't know, I really don't know. I'm going to be honest with you, I wish I had some answers."

When your manager brings insight like that to the ballpark, how can you question his methods?

As promised/threatened, Mr. Piniella has made a number of changes in his lineup tonight. Young Castro moves back up to the second spot, Nady gets a spot start in place of Derrek Lee, Colvin escapes for a night from Piniella Purgatory to spell the slumping Marlon Byrd in center, Baker gets back on the field for the first time since suffering that ocular migraine last week against the Dodgers, and Hill catches while Soto (.200/.333/.329 in May) sits.

Good Thing They Didn't Lift Niemi for John Grabow

In the spirit of honoring the Chicago Blackhawks, who are now just two games away from the Stanley Cup championship, and temporarily ignoring the black comedy that is the Chicago Cubs, here is a video that will warm the heart of every Hawks fan who remembers the joy of listening to the great Lloyd Pettit. (Pettit, of course, also worked alongside Jack Brickhouse in the Cubs broadcast booth for several years.)

Z will be in, Cashner will be up, plus Cardinals vs. Cubs

The long-awaited announcements have been announced:

Carlos Zambrano will make his return to the starting rotation on Wednesday in Pittsburgh and Tom Gorzelanny be moved from the rotation to the bullpen, where he will joined by a new teammate...

Andrew Casher, who will be summoned from Iowa on Monday, according to Carrie Muskat. Cashner has given up four hits and a run in two innings pitched since the I-Cubs moved him into the pen. Overall, his numbers at Triple-A this year have been stunning. 0.86 ERA and 17/2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 17 IP.

Saturday Game Thread: Cardinals (28-21) @ Cubs (23-26)

Another indescribably beautiful summer day in Chicago; not bad since we're still in May.

Rookie Adam Ottavino, a first-round draft pick back in '06, has been called up to make this start for the Cardinals in place of the injured Kyle Lohse. I don't actually know what the Cubs' recent record is against guys making their Major League debuts, but I feel like it's horrendous. (This game from earlier this year leaps to mind, though Leake has certainly performed well overall.)

Game Preview: Cardinals (27-21) @ Cubs (23-25)

UPDATE: Aramis Ramirez, who received a cortisone injection in his aching left hand yesterday, is back in the Cub lineup. Here's the batting order: Fukudome 9, Theriot 4, Lee 3, Ramirez 5, Soriano 7, Byrd 8, Soto 2, Castro 6, Wells 1


It's such a spectacular day in Chicago today, it's easy to imagine I live somewhere else.

As for this afternoon's matchup at Wrigley, if it seems late in the year for the Cardinals and Cubs to be meeting for the first time, that's because it is. Not since 1999 have the clubs gone this deep into the calendar without looking directly into each other's hate-filled eyes.

Our Cubs, winners of 8 of 11, seem to have dodged two injury bullets: Jeff Baker's problem yesterday, which included the loss of vision in his right eye, has been diagnosed as an ocular migraine. According to @CarrieMuskat this morning, he is now fine and is uniform. Also, Carlos Zambrano has fully recovered from whatever he had yesterday that seemed like it might be appendicitis but turned out not to be, and he is also ready to go. (BREAKING NEWS: Z's problem was "food-related." Do you really need to know any more?)

Ted Lilly's Cheatin' Foot

Watching some daytime MLB. Camera just zoomed in & didn't realize it caught a pitcher cheating. Don't ask me who/what. Tricks of the trade.

That was a tweet from @CJNitkowski at mid-afternoon Thursday, sent while the former Major Leaguer kicked back and watched sixth-inning action between the Dodgers and Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Bill Shaikin's story in the LA Times explains what caught the attention of Nitkowski and the Dodgers' Casey Blake, who had singled and was standing on first base.

Tags: 

Game preview: Dodgers (26-20) @ Cubs (22-25)

Going for two of three against the Dodgers and some semblance of momentum as the Cardinals come to town over the weekend.

Dodgers against Ted Lilly (1-4, 4.30):
Martin 2, Paul 9, Kemp 8, Blake 5, Loney 3, Johnson 7, DeWitt 4, Carroll 6, Ely 1 

Cubs against John Ely (3-1, 3.41):
Theriot 4, Castro 6, Lee 3, Byrd 8, Fukudome 9, Nady 7, Baker 5, Soto 2, Lilly 1

Get your power failure puns elsewhere; Cubs lose 8-5

Yeeechhh! That was nasty.

Wednesday night at Wrigley, the Cubs spotted the Dodgers a 5-0 lead, squandered opportunities to get the game close or even, then did get the game close, failed to get it closer, and lost.

Here's a professional summary of the 8-5 defeat, which was interrupted by an 18-minute power outage in the fourth inning.

Some quick thoughts...

— Tom Gorzelanny struggled with his command from the outset and all in all, pitched just poorly enough to provide some public relations cover to Jim Hendry and Lou Piniella in the next few days, when, I'm thinking, they will officially yank the lefty from the rotation in favor of Carlos Zambrano.

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  • Phil, I just wanted to say thank you for diligently tracking the Cubs prospects in extended spring training and sharing your knowledge with us. It's remarkable how you're able to keep box scores for multiple games at once. I, and I'm sure others here, appreciate the data and insight you provide for us.

    K Dub 1 hour 5 min ago view
  • Thanks PHIL.

    Boy, that is a nifty K:BB ratio Hudson has going at almost 4:1!

    I hope he continues improving.

    The E-Man 7 hours 3 min ago view
  • And of course the Bucs won again playing AZ (not PHIL). They dont seem to have a problem yet with the bottom feeders.

    They picked up 3 games this last week.

    I'm looking forward to them coming to the Chi.

    The E-Man 7 hours 31 min ago view
  • Don't mess with the SI jinx. Since the Javy/Cubs cover came out, he is 2-for-20 with no walks.

    billybucks 7 hours 41 min ago view
  • BRADSBEARD: If all three are assigned to Eugene, the Cubs can play Galindo, Paredes, and Paniagua at the same time by moving Paredes between SS-3B-DH, Galindo between 3B-1B-DH, and Paniagua between 1B-LF-DH. 

    The Cubs like to have their players (including their minor leaguers) learn to play more than one position even if they eventually are projected to settle at one spot, and I suspect that will be reflected at Eugene, with just about everybody who will be assigned there able to play at least two positions. 

    Arizona Phil 8 hours 2 min ago view
  • Thanks - at least the scorer was consistent

    Eric S 8 hours 16 min ago view
  • I don't think the error call was completely out of the blue but the ball took a very bad hop and would have taken a very good play to get it. Same with one of the Stella throws where I think it could have easily been ruled a hit. Neither were cut and dry calls though imo.

    johann 8 hours 44 min ago view
  • chased a high fastball...

    I think his BABIP during his run has been around .950

    Rob G. 9 hours 1 min ago view
  • Great stuff CubbyBlue!!! I think it inspired today's six spot as well.

    Eric S 9 hours 4 min ago view
  • That's all fine and good, but I think it's short-changing the Arrieta-like affect of his beard

    Eric S 9 hours 8 min ago view
  • Was the error scored on Zobrist's third ab ruled correctly? Ron was saying that it was a pretty tough chance for the fielder

    Eric S 9 hours 17 min ago view
  • Did anybody see that Zobrist strikeout?

    That was extremely disappointing.

    Old and Blue 10 hours 53 min ago view
  • Strangest win of the year, and one of the sweetest. Twice I thought it was easily in the bag, then after the first 2 hitters in the 9th I thought all was lost. Big game for Grimm, Strop & Rondon. But, man, those Cards can hit for power.

    billybucks 11 hours 28 min ago view
  • Very satisfying, gut-check win today. The beers on the trip back to Chicago are going to taste fantastic.

    Eric S 11 hours 44 min ago view
  • It's still very early but this game felt very important to me and probably knocked 2 years off my life. Seemed like every inning was big.

    johann 12 hours 31 min ago view
  • Yes then they moved him two spot then not so much, back batting 7th

    jacos 12 hours 31 min ago view