Why, when the Cubs most need him, is Carlos Zambrano looking worse and worse? Why, when the Cubs need starters to eat up innings to help preserve the bullpen, does Carlos get knocked off in the fifth? Why, when I ask Carlos to control his emotions, does he throw a ball behind Carlos Lee? Why, when the Cubs have a chance to take the series against the Brewers does our "Ace" choose to have his worst game of the season? Only Zambrano knows. Zambrano does not have a win in six appearences and two losses. Zambrano gave up eight hits, seven runs, threw 103 pitches while walking five, one intentionally, and striking out five. For whatever reason, this feels like a low point in an already shaky season. We are now percentage points ahead of Milwaukee, who crushed the ball Saturday and Sunday. It is easy to say get rid of Rusch, but what about Zambrano? Do the Cubs just wait it out and hope things get better? Trouble is , they can’t wait. The Cubs offense has been struggling mightily since Derek Lee got injured. I saw it coming against the Marlins. The Cubs won the series against Florida, but they did not hit well. I knew they were going to struggle against a better pitching team like Milwaukee. Without hitting and without pitching, you don’t have much. Now the Cubs play Pittsburg, with two rookies pitching, Marshall and Guzman. What if they don’t go deep? Guzman has only pitched in one major league game. What if they have to go to the bullpen early? Eyre gave up a home run today. He had looked untouchable. By the time the Broke Arm Mountain Boys get back, the bullpen will be taxed out. It is a matter of time before these guys arms start having problems from overuse. Kerry Woods is a few weeks away, barring any other problems, which puts him in the rotation in Mid-May. Prior might not be ready until June. Miller was being shut down for arm fatigue. If the Cubs get rid of Rusch, or put him in the bullpen, that would mean the Cubs rotation would include three rookies. I don’t get it. How could the Cubs be in this bad of shape? I don’t understand how the Hendry, McPhail, and the rest of the Trib Corp, with the new bleacher seats, not having to pay Sammy’s contract, the Bud Light Bleachers naming rights, the seats along the dugouts and behind home plate, the new fancy restaurant in the center field bleachers, the record for single day ticket sales this year, and the record breaking attendence the Cubs have had the last three seasons, that the Cubs don’t have the revenue to put together a contender. Why did they not get another starter? Why didn’t they get a better power hitting right fielder? Well, we have what we have. As I’ve said before , the Cubs schedule is not that difficult in April and May. With Pitt coming in, the Cubs then travel to Arizona, then going to San Diego, San Francisco, and then back home to face San Diego and Washington. Pitt, Washington, Arizona, and San Diego are all under .500. San Fran is barely over .500. That’s 17 games in a row versus teams with a losing record. If the Cubs can’t get it on track versus those teams and go 11-6, well, then it may be time to start looking towards next year (again). Trust me, after this seventeen game stretch, the scedule gets much tougher, especially in June and July.
Better pray to the baseball gods that they pull it together.