Carlos Zambrano is making it tough off the Cubs management with another “good” start in the Cubs 14-2 win over the Pirates on Monday night at Wrigley Field. The Cubs handed interim manager Mike Quade his 1st managerial win at the Friendly Confines in an easy win.
Zambrano gave up just 1 unearned run in 5 1/3 innings as he evened his record at 6-6. He scattered 4 hits and 4 walks while striking out 7 Pirates hitters. While he hasn’t had the best control since returning to the rotation in early August, Zambrano has has not allowed more than 2 ER in any of his 5 starts. In his last 3 starts, he has allowed just a total of 2 ER. Zambrano is still owed $39 million over the next 2 years, so the Cubs have a major decision with what to do with the big righty. If the Cubs can find a taker for Big Z without having to eat a major chunk of the remaining money owed to him, I would think that the Cubs would move him without thinking twice about it. But if a team willing to take Zambrano would want the Cubs to pay a large chunk of that $39 million, the Cubs should pass on it. Assuming Zambrano keeps his act together for the rest of this season and assuming he shows that he is willing to work hard in the off-season, it would be better for the Cubs to take their chances with the big righty. He can still be effective as a starter as he has shown the last 5 starts and would fit in nicely in the middle of the rotation assuming the Cubs can bring in a bigger name free agent pitcher this off-season.
The Cubs offense exploded in the win:
Aramis Ramirez led the way with 2 hits and 4 RBI’s.
Starlin Castro had 3 hits and 3 runs scored and his .313 batting average now puts him 5th in the National League for the batting crown.
Jeff Baker in the lead-off spot again against the lefty Paul Maholm notched 2 hits, driving in 2 runs and scoring twice.
Marlon Byrd did the same – 2 hits, 2 RBI’s and 2 runs scored.
Xavier Nady and Koyie Hill each had 2 hits, while Carlos Zambrano hit a 2-run home run in the 5th inning.
18 hits, 14 runs scored – one of the bets nights all season long for the Cubs.
Cubs fielding, however, continued to be an issue. Errors by Darwin Barney and Alfonso Soriano led to unearned runs scoring in the 6th and 8th innings. In a closer game, those errors could have come back to haunt the Cubs.
In a pre-game ceremony, the Cubs honored Andre Dawson for his 2010 induction into the Hall of Fame. Dawson spent 6 seasons on the north side of Chicago and he won the NL MVP Award with the Cubs back in 1987. Dawson was excited to share the special night with his favorite Cubs fans — “You are the greatest fans ever. Without you I wouldn’t be standing here tonight.”
Ryan Dempster looks to make it 2 in a row for the Cubs over Jeff Karstens and the Pirates. Dempster has had a great August — 4-0 with a 1.31 ERA in 5 starts — and he has 12 wins with a 3.42 ERA overall.