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The All-Randy Show (Wells vs. Wolf): Cubs vs. Dodgers Preview, Friday 8/21, 9:10 CT

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Chris DeLuca has an outstanding column today reminding all of us exactly why this team needs Carlos Zambrano:

If Cubs fans have any sense, they will give Zambrano a warm reception. If the Cubs are going to pull out of their doldrums and win a third consecutive division title, they'll need Zambrano.

Really.

Zambrano pitched five scoreless innings against the Clinton Lumberjacks, allowing four hits, striking out five and walking none. After throwing 76 pitches (54 strikes), he said his back was fine, then flexed his muscle to show he's not as lazy as people think.

He was particularly upset by a Carol Slezak column in the Sun-Times this week that included this message: "If I were running the Cubs, I'd be looking for a way to make this lazy pitcher somebody else's problem."

Zambrano's response: "That lady that says I was lazy, I want to see her on Tuesday. I want to be with no shirt so that she can see my body, and she can see what type of body I have. If I'm lazy, lazy people don't have this body, so I'm going to show her my guns so that she can call me lazy again.

"I'm sorry, people get hurt. We are human, and we get hurt. ... We are not machines."

Now, to be fair, Zambrano called himself lazy in not doing the ab work he needs to do to keep his back in shape. But Slezak's comment was a cheap shot. As DeLuca said, like it or not, Z is the Cubs' "ace", regardless of whether he wins 20 games a year or not. He's the leader of the rotation, and with Kerry Wood departed, he is the senior Cub, now in his ninth season -- yes, that's right, he first stepped onto the field as a Cub in 2001. Z became the first major leaguer born in the 1980s when he made his major league debut only two months past his 20th birthday on August 20, 2001, nine years ago yesterday, in the second game of a doubleheader against the Brewers.

Go get 'em, Z, next Tuesday.

One more thing about Aaron Miles. He now has 153 plate appearances and a .462 OPS. That is, courtesy of baseball-reference.com's Play Index, the 40th-worst season for any player in the divisional play era, since 1969, who had that many plate appearances, ranked by OPS. He has had two hits in his last 26 AB dating back to June 18.

But you go right ahead pinch-hitting him in key situations, Lou.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Randy Wells
Randy Wells
Cubs
vs. Randy Wolf
Randy Wolf
Dodgers
9-5 W-L 7-6
3.01 ERA 3.43
71 SO 123
27 BB 43
9 HR 19
vs. LA -- vs. Cubs

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Randy Wells 9-5 18 18 0 0 0 0 113.2 109 41 38 9 27 71 3.01 1.20


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Randy Wolf 7-6 27 26 0 0 0 0 162.2 143 66 62 19 43 123 3.43 1.14

The Cubs have faced only 26 lefthanded starters so far this year -- that's the fewest in either league (most: Rays and Royals, 45). They are 13-13 in those games; one of the losses was to Randy Wolf on May 28 at Wrigley Field. The only run off Wolf that day was a home run by Bobby Scales. That may not bode well for tonight, but it's time for the Cubs to step up vs. LHP. Geovany Soto is 4-for-11 vs. Wolf with a double.

Randy Wells was Wolf's opponent in that May 28 game, his only start vs. the Dodgers; he threw seven good innings, allowing only two runs, but the Cubs had no offense that day. If Wells throws 6.1 innings tonight, he will appear in the qualified league leaders for ERA for the first time. All of the hits Wells allowed on 5/28 were singles, except for a double by Andre Ethier.

The Cubs are on CSN Plus tonight -- that's CLTV in Chicago. "Check local listings". For other games today see the MLB.com Mediacenter.

MLB.com Gameday

Baseball-reference.com game preview

SB Nation game preview

Please visit our SB Nation Dodgers site True Blue LA.

Overflow comment threads will post today at 10 pm, 11 pm and 11:45 pm CDT.

Discuss amongst yourselves.