Is this the new “real” Carlos Zambrano. Zambrano picked up his 3rd straight win in as many starts with a dominating 7-inning outing against the Mets. Zambrano scattered 4 hits and 2 walks during his outing and gave up only 2 ER. He racked up 8 K’s and only needed 103 pitches to go the full 7 innings. Most importantly, Big Z maintained his composure after the Mets pulled off a rare double-steal of 2nd base and home in the 4th inning which allowed the Mets to score a run on a strikeout. Zambrano struck out Lucas Duda, but when Carlos Beltran eluded the tag at 2nd base by Starlin Castro, Luis Castillo was able to score from 3rd base for the Mets first run of the game. In the past, a play like that would have sent Big Z into a tizzy. But on Saturday, he kept his composure and was able to strike out Ike Davis to end the inning. Back in the dugout, Castro apologized to Zambrano, but Big told him not to worry about it. Amazing?! Big Z later said — “I’m still going to the doctor, you know. Still have, like, six more sessions… You realize that he’s still learning. It’s still his first year in the big leagues.” Unbelievable. Not sure if this is the Zambrano we’re always going to see, but if he really starts to make an effort like that, you have to like his chances for staying with the Cubs in the future and actually being productive. We’ll be following this closely as the season closes and as the winter meetings heat up in December.
Castro had 2 more hits and a run scored. Castro became the first Cubs rookie to have a multi-hit game in 6 straight games since Don Johnson (not the Miami Vice Don Johnson) did so back in 1944. His batting average is now .321 – still good for 3rd place in the NL.
Aramis Ramirez had 2 hits including his 21st home run of the season in the 7th inning. Marlon Byrd also had 2 hits as every Cubs starter – including Zambrano – had a hit.
Andrew Cashner picked up his 11th hold of the season despite giving up a run on a walk and a hit in the 8th inning that cut the Cubs lead to 5-3. But Carlos Marmol notched his 27th save with a scoreless 9th inning. Marmol struck out the side despite allowing the tying run to come to the plate when he gave up a hit to Ike Davis with 1 out in the 9th.
The Cubs go for the sweep over the Mets this afternoon. Ryan Dempster looks to rebound from his worst start of the season (7 ER in 3 innings of a 14-7 loss to the Pirates on Tuesday night) in the Sunday afternoon finale.