All throughout Spring Training, Lou Piniella stressed the importance of getting off to a hot start. Apparently his team didn’t get the memo. The front office brought in lengendary hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo to fix to Cubs’ offensive woes from a year ago. That hasn’t exactly happened yet, granted the season is only 14 games old.
Chicago entered Tuesday losing 3 straight. With their ace on the mound, the Cubs were hoping for Carlos Zambrano to pitch like one. After all, he’s being paid to be the ace, but one could argue that Big Z is the Cubs’ 5th best starter.
Zambrano pitched decent – picking up a quality start. Big Z allowed 2 runs on 6 hits in 6 innings. He walked 3 batters but also managed to “K” 9 Met batters. Fernando Tatis added a 2 run shot in the 8th off of John Grabow to make it 4-0. Grabow continues to make the front office look silly for giving him a $7.5 million contract in the off-season.
Only one small problem. The Cubs mighty offense managed to pound out a whopping 3 hits against Mike Pelfrey and the Mets. Pelfrey went 7 strong innings keeping Chicago off the board. The Mets’ bullpen combined to pitch the final 3 innings to secure the shutout.
While Zambrano pitched well, he surrendered the game winning RBI triple to Jose Reyes in the 2nd inning. Reyes went 4-5 on the night and appears to finally be healthy after battling some nasty injures.
It’s hard to win ballgames when you manage to slug 3 total hits in 9 innings. The Cubs’ all or nothing at the plate is being picked apart by the rest of the National League.
Chicago did take 5 walks, but wasn’t able to make the Mets pay for their free passes. The Cubs 3-4-5 hitters were a combined 0-10 with 2 walks (D. Lee). Aramis Ramirez, Chicago’s biggest weapon, looks lost at the dish and isn’t adapting to what pitchers are doing (pitching away, away, away).
Between the atrocious bullpen and inconsistent offense, the Cubs are holding true to their moniker of the “Lovable Losers.” Changes need to be made to shake up this complacent club. Perhaps the hard throwing Andrew Cashner and super phenom Starlin Castro need to be called up from AA to “The Show,” to inject some life into this team.
Changes are in store for the team anyway come Saturday. Ted Lilly will be activated to the rotation, meaning either Carlos Silva or Tom Gorzelanny will be bumped to the bullpen. The numbers suggest that Silva and Gorzelanny should remain and the “ace” Zambrano should be moved to the ‘pen. However, due to his ego and more importantly his contract, Z will remain the “ace” in the rotation.
Final Score: Cubs (5-9) 0 – Mets (6-8) 4
WP: Mike Pelfrey (3-0)
LP:Carlos Zambrano (1-2)
The Cubs will look to bounce back against the Mets tomorrow night at Citi Field. Carlos Silva will look to secure his spot in the rotation for the Cubs while the lefty Oliver Perez will be on the bump for the Mets.