We all remember Z's last start in Milwaukee, the no-hitter he threw on September 14, 2008 against the Astros. Z threw well again vs. Houston in his first 2009 start, and now returns to the scene of his greatest triumph. More importantly, the Cubs need the win to even the series with the Brewers.
Bruce Miles returned to the road with the Cubs for this series and recounts this exchange between Lou and a radio reporter yesterday:
Lou Piniella had little patience with a radio reporter's question after the game. Piniella was asked if he thought about walking Corey Hart intentionally in the ninth inning of a tie game with Rickie Weeks on second base and Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder coming up. Hart wound up walking anyway after a wild pitch.
"What are you talking about, walking Hart?" Piniella shot back. "I don't even know what you're talking about. To face Braun and Fielder? You manage that way, you'll be fired about a month into the season."
Well, this is what we discussed at length in the recap last night. While Lou might be right about intentionally passing Hart, once Hart did walk, I think walking Braun was a no-brainer, to set up a force at every base. You can argue about whether Braun's grounder could have been a DP ball (I say no, because Ryan Theriot's momentum was taking him away from second base), but while both Braun and Fielder are powerful hitters, Fielder's a much easier DP possibility given his lack of speed.
Anyway, it's done. Onward; will some of the regulars get a day off today or tomorrow? Lou's thinking about it. Maybe all you Micah Hoffpauir fans will get to see him today, although he's 0-for-2 in his career vs. today's Milwaukee starter, Dave Bush.
|Today's Starting Pitchers|
Aramis Ramirez (.320, 3 doubles, 3 HR) and Alfonso Soriano (.320, 1 HR) like to feast off Dave Bush. In fact, the entire Cubs team likes to hit him -- he had a 6.10 ERA against the Cubs in 2008, and they beat him twice.
Prince Fielder is 9-for-28 with a homer off Z, but other than Fielder, oddly, the Brewer who hits Z the best is his former catcher, Jason Kendall (10-for-33, .303, all singles). Ryan Braun is 5-for-16 vs. Carlos. All told, he allowed Milwaukee only one run in 21 innings over three 2008 starts (a 0.43 ERA).
Today's game is on broadcast TV in the Milwaukee area (WMLW, Ch. 41), on CSN Chicago, and at the MLB.com Mediacenter. Don't be fooled by the Mediacenter listings: it says WGN, but that's wrong. It also says that the regional Fox-TV games are being carried by the respective regional cable outlets, but that's also wrong. Seems they still haven't worked out the bugs.
Discuss amongst yourselves.