The Return Of The Prodigal Z: Cubs vs. Giants Preview, Monday 8/9, 9:15 CT

SAN FRANCISCO -- It was like going from summer into fall in a period of four hours. It's sunny here in the Bay Area this afternoon, but if you aren't in the sun, it feels like a Chicago September rather than the hot, humid summer we've had. And having been to ballgames in SF before, I know that once the sun goes down, you always need one more layer of clothing than you appear to have.

Meanwhile, as is always the case with flying these days, the actual flight was the best part. The rest, dealing with the TSA and delays on both departure and sitting on the tarmac for arrival, I could do without. No wonder more people are taking driving trips these days.

As far as Carlos Zambrano is concerned, he'll be limited to about 80 pitches tonight. If it's the bad Z, that could be only four innings. If he stays within himself and remembers that his hard sinker is his best pitch, maybe he could even give the Cubs six or seven decent innings tonight and help rebuild his trade value -- I still think the relationship between the Cubs and Z is almost irretrievably broken and he'll have to be dealt in the offseason.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Carlos Zambrano
Carlos
Zambrano

Cubs
vs. Madison Bumgarner
Madison Bumgarner
Giants
3-6 W-L 4-4
5.61 ERA 3.20
57 SO 39
29 BB 13
6 HR 6
vs. SF -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Carlos Zambrano 3-6 28 9 0 0 0 0 59.1 75 41 37 6 29 57 5.61 1.75


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Madison Bumgarner 4-4 10 8 0 0 0 0 50.2 50 20 18 6 13 39 3.20 1.24

Madison Bumgarner just turned 21 a week ago. He was the Giants' top pitching prospect last year, and was expected to be a big part of the rotation. His velocity was down in spring training and spent two months in Triple-A before being recalled. He's made eight starts, most of them good. He has never faced the Cubs. Doesn't his name sound like a character from a bad 80's sitcom starring Michael J. Fox?

In some ways, it's most appropriate for Carlos Zambrano to make his rotation return in San Francisco. It was the site of his last truly dominant start, a two-hit shutout of the Giants on September 25, 2009. It would be nice if Z could get back even close to that -- either he'll have more trade value, or there might be a very small chance he and the Cubs could patch up their relationship and he could be a part of the 2011 rotation. Current Giants are hitting .226 (28-for-124) against Z.

Tonight's game is on the CSN's, Chicago and Bay Area. Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Giants site McCovey Chronicles.

Tonight's first pitch thread will be up at 9:15 pm CDT, and the overflows will post at 10:15 pm, 11:15 pm and midnight CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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