Carlos Zambrano is going to try to keep his hot streak going. Since returning from the restricted list, Zambrano has pitched great, most recently hitting five wins in a row. He is focusing, rather than letting things get to him; it is paying off.
Andrew Pentis has posted an article of the Chicago Cubs’ website titled “Carpenter has tall task opposite revitalized Big Z.” And so he does.
Carpenter is going to be trying to prevent the Cubs from sweeping the Cardinals at a time when they truly need to win. The Reds are leading St. Louis by seven games and eight in the win column, with just 19 games to play, if my math is correct; there are certainly no guarantees there.
If we look at the pitching, it tells quite a story. First of all, Carlos Zambrano is 5-0 in his last seven starts, with a 1.60 ERA. His overall record is 8-6 with a 3.88 ERA, which tells you where he was before he went on the restricted list. He is what I would call average against St. Louis, with an 11-6 record and 3.49 ERA. However, in his last three games, he is 3-0 with a .86 ERA. Scary!
Chris Carpenter is no piker, with a 15-6 record and 3.09 ERA. Further he is 10-4 with a 2.87 ERA against Chicago. However, in his last three starts, he is 1-2 with a 4.66 ERA. However, Zambrano also brings a nasty bat with him, so Carpenter will face that as well.
The picture I get is that of a pitcher on fire and a pitcher who is struggling. However, it really is much larger than that.
Is there a “key” that we can look at to get an idea who is going to win this third game? Yes, I think there is.
Pitchers often reflect their teams. St. Louis has been struggling and the Cubs have been “up.” They have been playing good, solid ball for the most part while, the jaws of the Cardinals have been in the mud as they have fallen further and further out of first.
However, the “key” is the fact that Albert Pujols stayed out of the lineup on Tuesday. If there was an ounce of hope on that St. Louis team left for the postseason, Pujols couldn’t have been wrestled to the bench by five men.
The Cubs will sweep the Cards behind Zambrano’s pitching, and I don’t look for Pujols to be in the Cards’ lineup.
Chicago Cubs Website, Andrew Pentis, “Carpenter has tall task opposite revitalized Big Z”