After Wrigley Field, where he's hit half (nine) of his 18 career homers, Minute Maid Park is Carlos Zambrano's favorite place to go deep. He's homered four times there in 12 career starts, including a two-run shot off his future teammate Wade Miller that tied this key game on July 25, 2003, a game the Cubs eventually won; and one on August 17, 2005, helping the Cubs to another win.
I'll settle for a well-pitched victory tonight, but you know Z will be aiming for the fences, too. He's got only five hits all told in 31 career AB in Houston -- four of them homers.
Speaking of which, here is tonight's lineup (via Twittermyer as always); in this lineup, Z should be hitting seventh:
Soriano, lf; Theriot, ss; Bradley, rf; Lee, 1b; Johnson, cf; Soto, c; Scales, 3b; Miles, 2b; Zambrano, p
Gordo also tweets that Fox will play every day -- somewhere -- at Iowa in order that he'll be ready to return to DH in the interleague games at AL parks beginning on June 23, and also, the Astros have switched starters for tomorrow's day game again. Instead of Mike Hampton, the Cubs will face Russ Ortiz.
Bruce Miles has some thoughts on Brett Jackson, the rest of the draft, and more on Jake Fox:
The Fox move makes sense for now. I speculated yesterday that the Cubs could do some roster shuffling in two weeks, when they play at Detroit and then come "home" to play the Sox at the Cell. At that point, they can, and probably should, bring Fox back and have him DH. The Cubs really didn’t miss Miles. Bobby Scales and Andres Blanco filled in capably, and that two-year deal the Cubs gave Miles after he was non-tendered by the Cardinals isn’t looking so hot.
A player sent down has to stay down for 10 days (barring injuries, which is what happened when Miles got hurt and Bobby Scales got a reprieve from an Iowa trip). The Cubs won't need a DH until June 23 at Detroit, so Fox could come back then.
And a-freakin-men on the Aaron Miles statement by Bruce Miles (no relation, right, Bruce?). That has to be one of the worst free agent signings -- ever.
I've posted a poll (which you can find either by clicking that link or on the right sidebar) where you can weigh in on the selection of Brett Jackson as the Cubs' #1 pick this year.
|Today's Starting Pitchers|
|2009 - Carlos Zambrano||4-2||14||9||0||0||0||0||55.2||52||25||23||4||26||53||3.72||1.40|
|2009 - Wandy Rodriguez||5-5||12||12||0||0||0||0||72.2||72||31||24||5||23||69||2.97||1.31|
Wandy Rodriguez is 4-4, 4.39 in 11 career starts vs. the Cubs, but he always seems to be the kind of guy who ties Cub hitters in knots. He got a no-decision on April 7 in a game the Cubs lost in extra innings. We all shake our heads at the demotion of Jake Fox, who might seem like the ideal guy to face the lefty Rodriguez -- but as a junkballer, he might tie Fox in knots. Jake will be back. In the meantime, Derrek Lee's the guy -- and he's hot right now -- who can pound Wandy; he's 12-for-24 (.500) lifetime against him with 3 doubles, 2 HR and 6 walks.
Z got the win on Opening Day in Houston this year, allowing only five hits in six innings on April 6. Apart from liking to hit in the Juice Box, he's 7-3, 3.42 lifetime there as a pitcher. He handles all the Astros pretty well except for Miguel Tejada (7-for-15, .467, a HR) and his lifelong nemesis, Carlos Lee (17-for-49, .347, 5 doubles, 4 HR). Stop those two, Z, and you'll win tonight.
National coverage tonight on WGN; other coverage via FSN Houston, EI and MLB.TV. For other games today see the MLB.com Mediacenter.
Overflow comment threads will post today at 8 pm, 9 pm and 9:45 pm CDT.
Discuss amongst yourselves.