Carlos Zambrano’s winning streak that stretched back to August of last season has come to an end. The Cubs starting pitcher was not able to repeat his stellar outing against the Padres last week. The Dodgers jumped on Zambrano for five runs in the first inning and never looked back, unlike yesterday when their comeback on the Cubs was answered with a Chicago comeback for the win. Normally, Zambrano gets himself in trouble with wildness that results in walks, but the Dodgers hit their way off of his mistakes today.
The silver lining is that the Cubs bullpen did not give up any earned runs the rest of the way, despite the short five inning outing by Zambrano. Justin Berg, yesterday’s call up from Iowa, put in a scoreless inning of work as he tries to make a permanent stay at the MLB level. But the early season struggles of the starting rotation, even before the injuries, is disappointing.
The Cubs offense featured Kosuke Fukudome at the top again, and his 2 for 5 day kept his season batting average hovering over .400 for another day. We have seen his April hot start act before, so the real test will come in May. Darwin Barney picked up his 11th RBI of the season and with his own 2 for 5 day, the rookie is cementing his hold on the two spot in the order as well as the second base job. Starlin Castro found himself in the three hole again, and again he was unable to translate his early season success out of the top spots in the order into critical third slot in the lineup.
The Cubs do not play well on Sundays, as they have yet to win a game on the final day of the week. However, they are undefeated on Mondays, and will look to reach .500 for the 11th time in 2011 when they host the hot Colorado Rockies at Wrigley Field. In an odd scheduling quirk, the Cubs will be done with the Rockies for the regular season after Wednesday. It is unfortunate that the Cubs will have played Colorado six times already in a stretch where the NL West leaders have been one of the best teams in baseball.