Ted Lilly was activated off of the disabled list on Saturday. Lilly gave the already stacked Cubs’ starting rotation a boost.  In order to activate Lilly, Chicago decided to option Jeff Samardzija to AAA Iowa.

It appears that Samardzija’s act has finally grown tired with Lou Piniella. Samardzija surrendered 11 runs (7 earned) in 3.1 innings pitched in a limited role. Samardzija has been mishandled by the front office. They’ve bounced him around the Minors and the Big League club and can’t decide whether they want him pitching in the rotation or from the ‘pen. However, he doesn’t get a free pass either. The Shark hasn’t developed his secondary pitches and has had a hard time finding the strike zone on a consistent basis.

Teddy Ballgame pitched 6 shutout innings and was absolutely dealing. Lilly allowed only 3 hits while striking out 4 and walking 2. Ted will be the 1st to admit he wasn’t as sharp as he’d like to be, but for his season debut, he got the job done. This is exactly the type of effort that gave him his nickname of “The Bulldog.”

Carlos Zambrano also made his debut. No, not of the 2010 season, but as a relief pitcher. The Opening Day starter, has struggled thus far in 2010 as a starting pitcher. This was Big Z’s 1st relief appearance since 2002.

Zambrano entered in the bottom of the 7th with men on 1st and 3rd and 2 outs. It only took Zambrano 2 pitches to get Ricky Weeks to ground out to end the inning.  When Zambrano tossed the grounder to Derrek Lee, you could tell he was amped up with nerves but he got the job done.

Piniella left Big Z in to pitch the 8th too. Carlos ran into some trouble by putting 2 men on, but struck out Casey McGehee looking for the 2nd out. Corey Hart singled home the Brewers 1st run of the game ( only their 2nd of the series). Z recovered well inducing an inning ending groundout.

Sean Marshall and Carlos Marmol combined to pitch the 9th to end the game.

The Cubs didn’t exactly light up the scoreboard against Doug Davis and the Brewers, but it was just enough. Aramis Ramirez broke out of a 0-21 slump with an RBI single to put the Cubs up 1-0.  The Cubs added another run in the 6th, when the scorching hot Marlon Byrd plated Jeff Baker with 1 of his 3 hits on the night.

Chicago opened it up in the 8th when the North-Siders loaded the bases in the 8th against Brewer reliever Chris Narveson. Narveson allowed walks to Ramirez and Baker while Alfonso Soriano singled. That brought another scorching Cub to the plate in Geovany Soto, who singled to make the score 3-0.

Then it happened.

Silver Slugger Carlos Zambrano made his way to the plate with the bases loaded. Zambrano hit a sac fly to score Soriano. It appeared as if Zambrano tweaked an ankle, but thankfully, Big Z just swung so hard, his shoe fell off. The Cubs added another run when Ryan Theriot singled in Baker. Narveson finally got out of the inning by striking out Byrd.

Final Score: Cubs (8-10) 5 – Brewers (8-9) 1

WP: Ted Lilly (1-0)

LP: Doug Davis (0-2)

Chicago will finish up their 7 game road trip in day game action on Sunday against Milwaukee. The Cubs are looking to sweep. Randy Wells looks to get win number 2 for Chicago. Dave Bush will be on the bump for the Brew Crew. After the game, the Cubs will head home to take on the Nationals.

2 thoughts on “Lilly And Zambrano Dazzle In Debuts As Cubs Win 5-1”

  1. Valpo Cubs Fan

    Great article Culbertson! I like following the Cubs with our writing – it’s like reading a transcript of a sports radio talk show. Keep up the great work!

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