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Cubs Need Power Arms

By bullpenbrian - November 3, 2010 - 12:01 am 3 comments.

Nine out of the last 13 World Series have lasted no more than five games. A big reason is the significance power-arms played in October.

Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain underscored the importance of such talent again this year. Despite a meager offense, the two dictated the postseason by shutting down the opponent with swing-and-miss stuff.

The Diamondbacks did it with Schilling & Johnson in 2001. Boston had Schilling and Pedro in 2004 and added Josh Beckett in 2007. The White Sox used Mark Buehrle & Jose Contreras in 2005. And Philly went with Cole Hamels & Brett Myers in 2008.

The Cubs, meanwhile, lack a true power arm, let alone a dynamic duo. Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano are good enough to win the division, but shutting down a postseason lineup is questionable.

With all the talk of signing an Adam Dunn or Carl Crawford, more attention should be paid to landing that true ace–that power-arm built for October.

Without one, the Cubs are no better off winning the title than San Fran was before the arrival of Lincecum and Cain.

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Cubs First Sweep Of Cards Since 1988!

By bullpenbrian - September 16, 2010 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

Cubs sweep its first three-game series at St. Louis since 1988!
Perhaps more impressively, they do it against the Cardinals Big Three:
Garcia, Wainwright & Carpenter.

Back in ’88 it was Jeff Pico, Rick Sutcliffe & Greg Maddux defeating Cris Carpenter, Joe Magrane & John Tudor. This time around it’s Samardzija, Wells & Zambrano pulling off the Turkey!

Meanwhile, this might be the best series Chicago has played all year.
First credit the pitching, then some timely hitting and lastly Mike Quade.
The skipper is pressing all the right buttons since taking over the helm.
The Cubs are now (14-7) under Quade’s watch.

St. Louis, eight games back of Cincy, has all but handed over the division by losing a series they couldn’t afford to lose–let alone, get swept.
It must be leaving Cardinal fans feeling what Cubs fans have all year–sick.

Big Z has been ridiculous since rejoining the roation.
He’s (6-0) with a 1.37 ERA in seven starts.

I’ve held steadfast to my belief the Cubs should trade Zambrano this offseason.
His numbers, however, can’t be ignored–maybe my advise should?

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Big Z’s Stats Since Rejoining Rotation

By bullpenbrian - September 11, 2010 - 1:00 am Leave a comment.

Carlos Zambrano since returning to the rotation August 9:

5-0 with a 1.95 ERA.
8 earned runs in 45 innings pitched.
Has allowed two or fewer runs in last seven starts.
32 strikeouts in his last four games.

Big Z has won four-consecutive starts for the first time since mid July, 2007.

Despite his dreadful Opening Day outing at Atlanta (8-ER in 1.1 IP), Zambrano has posted an (8-4) record in 16 starts.

Overall this season, he’s (8-6) with a 3.88 ERA.
He made 16 relief appearances going (0-1) with a 4.32 ERA.
For his career he’s (113-74) with a 3.50 ERA since joining the Cubs in 2001.

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Carlos Zambrano Is Fool’s Gold

By bullpenbrian - September 5, 2010 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

Big Z has been terrific on the mound since returning from knucklehead rehab–
(4-0) in six starts. But I’m not buying the ‘new & improved’ Carlos.

Why should I?

The man’s been fool’s gold for years.
He has great pitching ability, but maintains the temperament of a five-year-old.
That alone has limited Zambrano’s success, hurt his team and divided a clubhouse.

I’d love to give Carlos kudos for finding help, but it was Major League Baseball and the Cubs that forced his hand into treatment for anger management–not Z.

So why believe Z’s latest apology for amateur behavior is any more genuine than his last, or the one before that one?

The best part of Zambrano’s resurgence is his trade value this offseason.
A physically healthy Zambrano is a blue-chip trading piece for Jim Hendry.

Of course, Z’s unstable mental toughness and whopping $91M contract greatly depreciates his overall value, but trade options will remain available.

If Seattle came calling for Milton Bradley, the Giants Jose Guillen, and the White Sox Manny Ramirez, certainly there’s a trade match for El Toro.

It’s time Zambrano and the Cubs both agreed on a change of scenery.
Even a solid September can’t repair the damage Z caused in 2010.
Cut your losses Cubs and move on. No doubt you’ll be better off without him.

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Don’t Trade Gorzelanny

By bullpenbrian - July 11, 2010 - 1:09 am 2 comments.

The Cubs should hold onto Tom Gorzelanny.

Two months ago I wouldn’t have said this, but the kid’s earned his keep, despite bouncing between the rotation and bullpen–thanks to Carlos Zambrano.

With Z’s situation completely unstable, why deal a legit No.3 starter whose future promise is on the rise?

Meanwhile, the Cubs’ staff has the second most quality starts in the majors, which they’ve accomplished in large part without Zambrano–Gorzelanny claiming six of those quality starts in his 12 outings.

Keeping Dempster, Wells and Gorzo together (and possibly Lilly) gives Chicago a terrific chance to rebound in 2011.

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Dealing The Big Z

By bullpenbrian - June 26, 2010 - 12:01 am 2 comments.

Carlos Zambrano has crossed into Milton Bradley territory.

Criticizing the team’s leader, Derrek Lee, for a lack of effort is simply ridiculous…no more so than Zambrano’s tiresome act or Bradley’s umpire tirades.

I’ve never defended Zambrano’s childish behaviorwhich should have subsided years agobut Cubs management is partly responsible, too. They’ve enabled Zambrano’s antics by not suspending him before…now it’s finally caught up to them.

I will, however, credit Lou and Hendry with handling this latest embarrassment with poise. But how can you welcome back a player who refuses to mature, refuses to earn his god-awful contract, and continuously embarrasses himself and the organization?

It’s simply, really…you can’t.

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Don’t Move Dempster!

By bullpenbrian - May 26, 2010 - 1:00 am 2 comments.

Forget about Big Z replacing Dempster in the rotation. The Cubs simply can’t afford to lose Dempster’s sparkling consistency as a starter.

Tuesday night was a statement game for the right-hander. He mastered the Dodgers for eight innings: three hits, one walk, seven strikeouts & zero runs…virtually ending any speculation of a return to the bullpen.

Dempster’s lasted six or more innings in all 10 starts…allowing three or fewer runs in seven of those outings.

He’s held the opponent to four or fewer hits half the time…holding right-handed hitters to a .200 average…and lefties to a .210 mark.

Dempster’s also held opponents below the .200 mark during his third trip through the lineup.

The No. 3 & 4 hitters are a combined 9-for-56 against him.

And for good measure, he’s tied for third in the majors with eight sacrifice hits!

There is no case for moving Dempster…except to the No. 1 role! And if Zambrano wants back in the rotation, he can start by pitching like this guy.

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Cubs Win With Zambrano In Pen!

By bullpenbrian - April 27, 2010 - 12:15 am Leave a comment.

Carlos Silva allowed three earned runs against Washington Monday night.

That’s the first time Chicago’s staff has allowed more than two earned runs in its last 10 games. For Real Yo!

After the Brewers lambasted Pittsburgh 20-0 last week…the Cubs shut down Milwaukee over the weekend…allowing just four total runs in a three-game sweep.

Monday, the Brewers wasted Pittsburgh again 17-3. Some evidence of just how talented the Cubs’ starting staff is–and, of course, how weak the Pirates’ rotation is too!

Nonetheless, when you have a rotation that’s third in the league in QS (14)…and twice turns over without allowing more than two earned runs…you can afford sending an arm like Zambrano’s to the pen.

And thus far the Big Z experiment is working! The Cubs lineup has more confidence with Zambrano setting up Marmol…Carlos is pitching well too…and not surprisingly, the club is back at .500 baseball.

Moving Zambrano to the pen kept the wheels from falling off in April..is helping revive the hurler’s career…and keeps Chicago on the heels of St. Louis.

So as long as this rotation keeps plugging away, so too will Zambrano and the Cubs.

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Hendry Fails, Zambrano Too?

By bullpenbrian - April 22, 2010 - 1:15 am Leave a comment.

If Carlos Zambrano is smart…he’ll use this opportunity to resurrect his career as a reliever…like, for good.

His potential to win 20-games as a starter is just that…potential…which loosely translates to…he’s never done it.

Eight full seasons in the bigs and Zambrano averages 14-wins per year. Not bad, of course…but not an ace….and 20-W’s just ain’t gonna happen, either.

But…put this guy in the pen, and perhaps, for one single inning, he can channel his untamed emotions into All Star stuff again.

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Zambrano Is Reds Daddy

By bullpenbrian - April 11, 2010 - 12:15 am Leave a comment.

Very cool that Carlos Zambrano let Kosuke Fukudome pick out the pre-game clubhouse music Saturday.

The Fuk went with the Japanese band Funky Monkey Babys…and no, I’ve never heard of them, either.

Good rebound outing for Zambrano, too. He got down early, 3-0, but settled down lasting seven innings. You bank on that from your No.1…especially given the weak middle relief.

Zambrano’s simply owned the Reds lately…7-1 in his last eight starts…going at least seven innings in each outing.

His career numbers are solid against Cincinnati, as well…30 starts16 wins…both career-high marks against any opponent.

But as always, the question remains…will Zambrano pitch this well consistently…even when he’s not facing Cincinnati?

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