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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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  • It's August 26. Cubs with 14 game lead. And not for #1 draft pick.

    Words I never thought I would type together.

    Jackstraw 11 min 35 sec ago view
  • How well does he hold on runners?

    Tito 18 min 4 sec ago view
  • One more victory to ensure a winning season!

    billybucks 2 hours 27 min ago view
  • If I were a betting man

    Give me the Dodgers tonite, not just because of
    Monty on mound.

    Two nights in LA for the kids? Woooo

    /Prove me wrong

    jacos 2 hours 28 min ago view
  • When Scherzer is on his game, he might the the most dominant and intimidating pitcher. A couple of games he has pitched against the Cubs when he had his stuff, and his mound presence was just powerful.

    billybucks 2 hours 29 min ago view
  • So are lack of chances due to the great pitching?

    jacos 2 hours 31 min ago view
  • TLS watch: 0-4 with Iowa last night. Saving his pinch hits for September.

    Cubster 3 hours 21 min ago view
  • Objectively true. Scherzer's FIP is almost a half point higher than his ERA, mostly I deduce because his BABIP is .249 so something ridiculous like that. It's not like the guy can't be scored on, but when I watch him, I sometimes feel that he's the most in control of the game moving around him.

    John Beasley 4 hours 5 min ago view
  • Certainly might be the hottest pitcher right now, but he's behind a few pitchers by most objective full season standards.

    Rob G. 7 hours 20 min ago view
  • Well noted. You may also note that Lester's Career Playoff ERA is almost a full point lower, and he has a lower WHIP as well.

    Can't have everything, I guess.

    The E-Man 12 hours 26 min ago view
  • i'm happy enough with the Lester signing, but Scherzer has more than earned the extra money so far. If he was in the rotation instead of Lester, this team would feel practically bulletproof to me.

    Blaspheme maybe, but I think Scherzer is the best pitcher in the NL right now.

    John Beasley 13 hours 17 min ago view
  • Maddon was pimping Russell for Gold Glove honors recently as a manager should do...

    Here's some defensive numbers:

    Fangraphs

    1. Crawford (22.2)
    2. Seager (16.9)
    3. Cozart (14.2)
    4. Hechavarria (13.5)
    5. Russell (12.4)

    Baseball Reference

    1. B. Crawford 2.3
    2. Russell 2.0
    3. Hechavarria 1.7
    4. N. Ahmed 1.6
    5. Z. Cozart 1.5

    .....

    13.C. Seager 0.7

    Traditional stats

    Crawford

    .978 FP, 11 E, 333 A, 162 PO, 562 Chances, 4.27 RF, 72 DP Turned

    Russell

    Rob G. 13 hours 51 min ago view
  • Let me guess: Land of Contusion? Puppet Prez Reagan mistakenly blows the world up due to a bum thumb?

    Eric S 16 hours 46 min ago view
  • Favorite Genesis video

    https://youtu.be/QHmH1xQ2Pf4

    jacos 17 hours 15 min ago view
  • Twitterverse reporting that Almora's examination by a hand specialist went okay, it's still just a hand contusion.

    Eric S 17 hours 55 min ago view
  • Attaboy, Eloy! Jimenez named Midwest League MVP and Best Prospect.

    Gonzalez and Morrison also honored.

    VirginiaPhil 23 hours 15 min ago view