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Which Zambrano Do We Get Tonight, Take Two: Cubs vs. Reds, Friday 6/5, 6:10 CT

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The rainout last night readjusts the rotation:

Carlos Zambrano will start on Friday night at Cincinnati in the opener of a three-game series, and Ryan Dempster will be pushed back to Saturday.

Sean Marshall, who had been scheduled to pitch on Saturday, will go to the bullpen, and Randy Wells will start on Sunday as scheduled.

I've been an advocate of keeping Marshall in the rotation, though I know someone will have to go when Rich Harden comes back. However, right now with the pen in turmoil, maybe having someone like Marshall there will help stabilize it. Marshall will still likely have to make a start or two during the 23-consecutive-day stretch forced by last night's rainout. In this way, maybe he could become what Terry Mulholland was to the 1998 Cubs, a guy who could switch back and forth between the bullpen and starting and be valuable in both roles.

Speaking of Harden, he will have a rehab start at Iowa on Sunday and if all goes well he'll return to the rotation next Friday vs. the Twins at Wrigley Field. That Bruce Miles article also has encouraging news about Aramis Ramirez:

Third baseman Aramis Ramirez, who may be out for at least another month with a dislocated left shoulder, reportedly will begin "baseball activities" this weekend in Cincinnati. Ramirez hurt himself diving for a groundball in Milwaukee on May 8.

So, everything appears on schedule for A-Ram, who was hurt four weeks ago and is with the team in Cincinnati tonight. This should still keep him on target for a return after the All-Star break.

Lineup for tonight via Twittermyer:

Soriano, lf; Theriot, ss; Fukudome, cf; Lee, 1B; Hoffpauir, rf; Fontenot, 3B; Hill, c; Blanco, 2b; Zambrano, p

Can you stand a little more Mark DeRosa talk? No, this isn't about reacquiring him, though the question is asked in Nick Friedell's interview with DeRo.

And, Geovany Soto is getting a "mental break". Geo and Lou had a meeting yesterday:
Soto met with Piniella for nearly 20 minutes before batting practice on Thursday. The closed-door talk included a little hitting demonstration, with the manager leaving his office briefly to get a bat.

That provoked Z into yelling out into the clubhouse that Lou was going to "hit" Soto and there would be "big news in the paper tomorrow!" It was just a hitting demonstration:

"We were talking to Geo a little bit about using his front arm a little more, as opposed to being so back-sided," Piniella said.
Today's Starting Pitchers
Carlos Zambrano
Carlos Zambrano
Cubs
vs. Micah Owings
Micah Owings
Reds
3-2 W-L 3-6
4.22 ERA 5.10
46 SO 35
21 BB 27
4 HR 7
vs. Cin -- vs. Cubs

The Cubs actually catch a break with the rainout, despite now having to play on 23 straight days; they miss seeing Jair Jurrjens, a tough pitcher, and can instead face Micah Owings, a guy they beat handily at Wrigley Field on April 21. That day featured the first-ever homer by a Micah off a Micah, as Hoffpauir went deep on Owings; he gets the start tonight in RF. Oddly, the only other Cub to have homered off Owings is Aaron Miles, who is on the DL and won't play tonight. Owings has walked a lot of hitters this year (27 in 54.2 innings), so waiting him out seems the thing to do.

Z also catches a break; his lifetime record vs. the Braves is poor, but against the Reds he's 14-10, 3.05 lifetime. The Reds did beat him on April 23 at Wrigley Field, but the 7-1 score of that game is misleading; Z left when the Cubs trailed only 3-1 and the bullpen made it worse. With Joey Votto (8-for-20 vs. Z) on the DL, none of the other current Reds really hit him well.

Tonight's game is on cable only in the Chicago and Cincinnati areas. For other games today see the MLB.com Mediacenter.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Overflow comment threads will post today at 7 pm, 8 pm and 8:45 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.