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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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  • Trading Schwarber actually makes a lot of sense because his actual position is currently being taken by Anthony Rizzo, unless they vote in the DH this offseason.

    Trading him for a reliever is never going to happen though. I don't think you can trade Schwarber unless you get a CF'er for a few years (presume Fowler finds his multi-year deal next offseson) or a couple of high end young starters...or an established starter...a good one like Chris Sale.

    Rob G. 5 min 57 sec ago view
  • I don't see what the Yanks have that the Cubs need.

    Ryno 10 min 46 sec ago view
  • peter gammons on MLB network pushing the yanks/schwarber angle...says insiders from the yanks say brian cashman highly covets him.

    unless that conversation starts with a.miller (2/18m left on contract) i dunno how you even start that conversation given the "not trash, but no stars" state of the yanks minor league system.

    they got corner OF'r aaron judge, C gary sanchez, RHP james kaprielian's questionable elbow, RHP domingo acevedo...all interesting, none expected to impact the game like schwarber's power potential.

    crunch 44 min 10 sec ago view
  • Zo, Heyward, KB, Riz, Contreras (LF), Baez (SS), Szczur (CF), Ross, Lester

    Cubster 52 min 2 sec ago view
  • damn. low sample size blah blah whatever, but that slash got sneaky good. 10 hits, 4 walks, 2hr, 1 double through 39 PA...nice

    crunch 1 hour 11 min ago view
  • Buddy Ryan takes his place alongside George Allen as the great Bear head coaches who never were.

    VirginiaPhil 4 hours 6 min ago view
  • Well, at least he can still hit: Jake slashing .294/.368/.868. Forget hitting 8th -- he should hit 6th.

    billybucks 4 hours 24 min ago view
  • Curious to see today's lineup vs. a LHP: Ross needs to catch Lester, Joe likes Javy at 3B when Lester pitches. Heyward with back-to-back good games at the plate, and is actually hitting a little better against LHP (.247/.341) than RHP (.232/.321), although neither is much to write home about. But, tomorrow is an early day game, so some regulars will probably sit either today or tomorrow.

    Maybe Willson in LF, KB in RF and Almora in CF? If so, Albert Jr., assume every ball is yours.

    billybucks 4 hours 29 min ago view
  • "Pitching prospects not looking so hot"

    That reminds me that Lucas Giolito will start for the Nats tonight.

    VirginiaPhil 4 hours 32 min ago view
  • Well, there you go. Federowicz is one of the best at balls in the dirt.

    VirginiaPhil 4 hours 52 min ago view
  • Reds pitching meeting tomorrow:

    "Hey coach...maybe we should walk Bryant?"
    "No...keep challenging him with fastballs! What kind of man are you?! The Cubs walked Harper, and look what happened there! They got teased for it, by one of the Nat players! Is that what you want?"

    billybucks 15 hours 33 min ago view
  • How can I get that feature? I think it woudl be a win-win for all involved.

    billybucks 15 hours 37 min ago view
  • Ian Happ is hitting.733 after 5 games at Tennessee. He went into tonight's game hitting .667 -- and went 3-for-3 to raise his average.

    2-for-3, including a bomb, for LaStella at Iowa. Pierce Johnson very bad -- 2IP, 5ER. Pitching prospects not looking so hot -- Underwood has been awful.

    Did Jiminez get hurt? I noticed he came out early yesterday.

    billybucks 16 hours 25 min ago view
  • Contreras keeps hitting/walking like this, and Miggy keep up the poor D and lack of offense - the kid could be the #1 catcher very soon.

    billybucks 16 hours 31 min ago view
  • it doesn't hurt that the Cardinals lose the KC and the Pirates lost too.

    Cubster 16 hours 31 min ago view
  • ...still trying to process what I just saw. From both KB and Jake. Walking Billy Hamilton twice is a cry for help. I think the nudie photos are messing with Jake's head.

    billybucks 16 hours 34 min ago view