Zambrano Walks the Talk, as in Base on Balls


The Cubs failures during Carlos Zambrano’s prior two starts led to his frustrations being unleashed last week. Last night Zambrano took the mound opposite Roy Halladay and had the chance to back the talk and show the team how it is done, but he did not come through.

He allowed three runs in the first two innings alone and had trouble with his control all night, as evidenced by the seven walks he issued. Three of those walks came in the bottom of the 7th inning alone, although to be fair one was an intentional walk in an attempt to keep a double play in order. But that strategy back fired on him and manager Mike Quade. Zambrano fell behind 2-0 to Placido Polanco before the Phillies third baseman launched the next pitch into the seats for a grand slam. The 2-0 sinker did not sink much, if at all, and was served on a platter to Polanco.

Thanks to the slam the Phillies broke the game wide open, with more runs than they would need with ace Halladay on the mound for them. In fact it was probably this thinking that led the Phillies manager to take Halladay out of the game even though the pitcher had pretty much shut down the Cubs through seven frames. Surely the Cubs were too defeated to put up a fight in the final two innings right?

But the Phillies brought in a familiar face to replace Halladay in the 8th. Ex White Sox Jose Contreras was that old friend and the Cubs must have been excited to see Halladay leave, because they took it to the reliever. All the runs were driven in by singles, highlighted by Aramis Ramirez’s two run hit to kick off the scoring. Before the inning was over the Cubs had put a high five on the board and cut the Phillies lead to 7-5.

But a second straight comeback night was not meant to be against the NL East leaders, as the Cubs failed to cash in on a lead off walk to start the 9th, and the Cubs will have to start from scratch again as they seek their first three game winning streak or more.