A Day In Wrigley Field History: April 18, 2011

Carlos Zambrano pitches against the Padres, April 18, 2011 - MCT via Getty Images

In which we are reminded of what might have been.

These are getting tougher and tougher to find. The Cubs won just 39 home games in 2011 on their way to a 91-loss season. They had just one winning month (August) and that was mostly on the road (they won just seven home games in August).

So instead, we'll flip the calendar back to April, a brutally cold Monday night, with Carlos Zambrano on the mound against the Padres. Here's what I wrote in the BCB recap of the Cubs' 1-0, 10-inning win over San Diego:

On one of the coldest nights in recent Wrigley Field history -- 34 degrees with a 12 MPH wind blowing in strongly over CF, creating a wind chill of 25 degrees -- one of the slowest runners on the team scored the winning run from first base on a double, after he was safe at first base on what ordinarily would have been a double play ball.

Geovany Soto scored the gamewinner on Tyler Colvin's double, great news for Colvin as he's been badly slumping, and the Cubs beat the Padres 1-0 in 10 innings Monday night, evening up their record once again at 8-8. The Cubs have been at .500 at every win count this year (1-1, 2-2, etc. on to 8-8), the longest such string they've had since 1930.

I have more numbers for you. Carlos Zambrano had 10 strikeouts; it's the first time he's struck out 10 in a game since his no-hitter in 2008. Better than that, he gave up only three singles and a walk in eight outstanding innings, dropping his season ERA to 4.21, and although he didn't get the "win", he looked like the guy who dominated the National League in August and September last year.

That weird little season-opening .500 streak got to 10-10 before the losing took over. And it was not even four months later when Zambrano stomped off the mound after getting pounded in Atlanta and was suspended by the team for the rest of 2011. If only Big Z had been able to keep his emotions under control, he might still be pitching for the Cubs. His tremendous talent has been wasted; he's likely done with major-league baseball at age 32. It's just sad.

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