Presumably, it was a joke, but Lou threatened to not use the bullpen at all when Z next started when Carlos complained about being pulled too early in his last outing:
Piniella, who told Carlos Zambrano six days ago he'd let him throw 200 pitches today: "We're going to send the bullpen over to the firehouse."
Notwithstanding the humor in thinking of the idea of Aaron Heilman trying to put out real fires (he has a hard enough time with the baseball ones), Z needs to tone his act down and just pitch. It's one day after the one-year anniversary of his no-hitter and since then Z has been decidedly mediocre; in 26 starts since the no-no, he is 8-7 with a 4.36 ERA. There has been much debate about whether Z is really the "ace" of the Cubs staff on this site. However, of this there is no doubt: if the Cubs do want to finish the season strong and pull off their baseball miracle, excellent performances from Carlos Zambrano would be nearly mandatory.
Among all the player moves made by Jim Hendry since the 2008 season ended, one that got little attention was the waiving of Casey McGehee. McGehee never had overwhelming numbers in the minor leagues, but he did play several positions and could, at least, have provided some competition in spring training. I don't think anyone could have guessed that McGehee would be hitting .304/.370/.517 in over 300 plate appearances in the major leagues this year, with a 131 OPS+ and a chance to get some Rookie of the Year votes. He also started 20 games at second base for the Brewers this season and would have looked just fine filling in for Aramis Ramirez when he was out. To get absolutely nothing in return for him is a real statement that the Cubs didn't know what they had. Clearly, there was unrecognized talent that the Brewers were able to bring out.
|Today's Starting Pitchers|
|2009 - Carlos Zambrano||8-6||31||24||0||0||0||0||143.1||136||67||60||10||66||123||3.77||1.41|
|2009 - Yovani Gallardo||12-11||29||28||1||0||0||0||175.1||140||71||70||20||86||192||3.59||1.29|
Yovani Gallardo defeated the Cubs and Ryan Dempster on May 9 at Miller Park; the final score of 12-6 didn't indicate how well the starters did in that game, as most of the Brewers damage was off Cub relievers, two of whom are no longer with the team. Current Cubs are hitting .320 (16-for-50) off Gallardo.
Carlos Zambrano has a pair of no-decisions vs. Milwaukee this year with a 2.77 ERA in 13 innings. Lifetime he's 10-8, 3.57 in 25 appearances (24 starts) vs. the Brewers. New Brewer Felipe Lopez has hit him well in the past (14-for-39, 2 HR), and so has Prince Fielder (12-for-32, 5 doubles, 2 HR).
Today's game is on CSN Chicago and FSN Wisconsin. For other games today see the MLB.com Mediacenter.
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Discuss amongst yourselves.