The 2011 Chicago Cubs are far from a playoff team. Many questions are starting to surface in regards to Mike Quade and Jim Hendry’s future, who might be traded by the July 31st deadline, and what is the overall future of the organization. For at least one game, the Cubs put those questions to the side and won an exciting game against the Giants 5-2.
Things didn’t start well for the Cubs (34-48) in the series finale. In a week in which they had two make up games, including a day-night doubleheader Tuesday, they desparately needed a quality start from Carlos Zambrano to give the bullpen a break. Zambrano made it only one one inning before leaving the game with back spasms.
In his one inning of work Zambrano gave up one unearned run on two hits and two walks. The bullpen came through with a fantastic day led by Marcos Mateo. Mateo gave the Cubs five innings of two hit ball giving up no runs and adding six strikeouts.
Matt Cain pitched great for the Giants (46-36). Cain went seven innings and gave up no runs on just four hits. The Giants righty also struck out six Cubs hitters.
Things looked bleak for the Cubs trailing 1-0 in the ninth. Giants closer Brian Wilson entered the game which usually means game over. Aramis Ramirez didn’t get the message. The Cubs third basemen hit a homer to left which tied things up at one.
The game would remain scoreless until the 13th when the Giants took the lead on a Pablo Sandoval homerun. The Cubs wouldn’t go away though. In the bottom of the 13th the Cubs tied the game on a single by Darwin Barney and then pinch hitter Geovany Soto ended the game on a three-run bomb to left.
John Grabow picked up the win for the Cubs to go 1-0 on the season. Ramon Ramirez took the loss for the Giants dropping his record to 2-1.
The Cubs now remain at home this weekend starting round two of the Crosstown Classic with the White Sox on Friday afternoon.
In the first two games of their four game set with the Giants, the Cubs pitching staff was beaten to a pulp. Across the two games, they gave up 19 runs, good for an ERA of 9.50. In game three of the series, Ryan Dempster and Carlos Marmol combined to give up just a single run. Now fans are wondering which Cubs pitching staff will show up in the last game of the series.
The Cubs will hope that they see the good version of Carlos Zambrano on Thursday afternoon at Wrigley. On the season, Z is 6-4 with a 4.38 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. After some hiccups during the middle of June, Zambrano has turned in two solid starts, against the White Sox and Kansas City, across which he had an ERA of 3.00. In his career against San Francisco, Zambrano is 5-1 with a 2.58 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. The only Giant Zambrano might have trouble with is Miguel Tejada, who holds a career .296 average against Zambrano with one double and one home run.
Starting for the Giants on Thursday will be Matt Cain, who is 7-4 with a 3.22 ERA and 1.11 WHIP. In his career against the Cubs, Cain is 5-2 with a 2.38 ERA and 0.94 WHIP. Blake DeWitt has hit him well in his career, with a .333 average against him with one home run.
The weather in Chicago is forecast to be sunny and clear with a game time temperature in the mid-80s. First pitch is at 1:20 P.M., CDT, and the game will be televised on WGN and CSN-BA.