What Did Carlos Zambrano Say That Was Wrong?

Cubs ace says the team stinks. Who's to argue?

After another fun time at the old ballpark gagging away a lead to the Cardinals, Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano decided to do something that apparently you just can’t do.

He told the truth.

He wasn’t ranting and raving like a lunatic, he was standing in front of his locker relatively calmly saying everything that everybody who watched Sunday’s game…and the 56 games before it, already knows.

Bruce Levine asked him about the Cubs serving up a second straight walk-off homer to Albert Pujols and Zambrano said:

"The problem wasn’t Pujols.  We played like a Triple-A team. This is embarrassing. Embarrassing for the team, for the owners. Embarrassing for the fans. Embarrassing. That’s the word here for this team.  We should know better than this. … We should know that Ryan Theriot is not a good fastball hitter.  We should know that as a team. We should play better here. We stink. That’s all I’ve got to say."

Please, somebody stop Carlos…as soon as he says something that isn’t true.

The Cubs have lost six games in a row.  They haven’t won more than two games in a row all season.  It’s June 6 and they’re already 11 games out in a division that isn’t very good.  If you want to criticize Carlos for anything, he may have overrated his team.  I’m not sure Triple-A teams play as poorly as the Cubs have.

It was particularly galling to have the game tied by one of the most irritating Cubs in recent memory.  Carlos is exactly right when he says that "we should know that Ryan Theriot is not a good fastball hitter."  The Cubs saw it first hand after six years of watching Theriot and his slider-speed bat.

Theriot’s good at a few things.  He’s good at taking off his hat and stroking his awful hair at random times during the games.  He’s good at double pumping on routine throws and pulling the first baseman off the bag.  He’s excellent at running blindly from second to third on a grounder to short and being thrown out by 20 feet.  And he’s really awesome at carrying out a teammate’s hat and glove when that guy makes the last out of an inning.

Hitting a fastball, especially a good one like Marmol’s is not on that list.

Marmol has a great slider, one of the best ever, and he had just used it to strike out Cardinal luminaries Daniel Descalso and Colby Rasmus, so why not humiliate Theriot with one, too?

Because if you miss with a 2-2 fastball that he has no chance of getting around on, you still have a 3-2 pitch.  And it’s not like Theriot’s any risk of drawing a walk.  His plate discipline left him for good in 2009.

But really, that’s not the point.  The point is that Zambrano is drawing heat from people who say he’s just being the "same old Carlos" and one of the more mind-boggling takes is a suggestion that the Cubs suspend Carlos until he can be traded.

If your best pitcher and hitter can’t opine on the state of the team, especially when they do it accurately, and especially when the best pitcher and hitter is the same guy, something’s wrong.

It’s not like Carlos was stomping around and screaming inanities in Spanish and English like he did last year in the dugout at US Comiskular.  Yesterday he was irritated and frustrated, but he wasn’t crazed.  He didn’t punch his catcher in the face.  He didn’t take a bat to a Gatorade machine.  He didn’t even swear.

That’s the part that should worry the Cubs.  Carlos wasn’t unhinged.  Whatever he learned in anger management wasn’t forgotten.  He was telling the truth.

He said the Cubs are embarrassing.

They are.

Judging by the way the Rickettses have run this team since they took over, Carlos probably is in trouble now.  The family doesn’t seem interested in honest assessments of the team.

Maybe they’ll even trade him.  He seems more likely than ever to waive his no-trade clause.  If they do, I hope it’s someplace nice.  Because I want to go with.

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