Cubs fans got a nice surprise about five minutes before the start of Friday night’s series-opener at Colorado: News came down that Carlos Zambrano had been scratched from his start with lower back stiffness, and Sean Marshall was taking the hill in his place.
I don’t know how many innings Lou Piniella was hoping to get from Marshall, but he ended up only getting 2, and not very effective ones at that. The Cubs were down 3-1 by the end of the first and never really climbed back into it.
Jeff Samardzija relieved Marshall, and proved a bullpen saver with his 4 innings of work. That performance might have won Samardzija the emergency starter job from here on out.
Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez had some control problems, walking 5 in 6 2/3 innings, but for the second straight game the Cubs were unable to mount any rallies. The middle of the order – Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and a newly-returned Geovany Soto – went a combined 0-11 with 4 strikeouts (Soto accounted for three of those K’s himself, so I guess that means he’s rusty).
We will have to wait and see whether Zambrano receives his second DL stint of the season. All I can say is, thank goodness for Tom Gorzelanny and Randy Wells. Never thought I’d be saying that at the start of the season.