The Cubs send a former ace to the mound in trying to capture Game Two of its current series, after allowing the Brewers to walk-off with the win last night.
Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee Brewers
Chicago dropped its final game of a scheduling quirk on Tuesday night, 3-2, at Miller Park against the Milwaukee Brewers. It was the second season in a row that the team played three games in three days in three different road ballparks. Despite the loss, the Cubs are still 17-9 in their last 26 games at Milwaukee’s home park since the start of the 2007 campaign. The team has outscored the Brewers 152-93 in those 26 contests. Chicago closer Carlos Marmol blew the save last night by giving up a two-run single to Milwaukee IF Casey McGehee. “Going into a lead in the ninth inning, you feel good about it with your closer, but it didn’t happen,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. On the year, Marmol now has 12 saves in 15 chances, including converting seven of his last nine opportunities. The loss dropped the team to 4-2 as a road underdog of +100 to +125 (+260) and 12-19 against NL Central opponents (-1,420).
Cubs SP Carlos Zambrano is making his 19th appearance (sixth start) of the season tonight (-390 starts). The right-hander is 0-4 with a 6.14 ERA overall this season, including a 0-1 mark and 4.15 ERA in 13 relief appearances. The former Cubs’ ace is 10-8 with a 3.82 ERA in 28 career games (26 starts) against the Brewers, owning a 5.68 ERA with no record in two games (one start) this season. He owns a 1-3 mark and 7.23 ERA in nine road outings (four starts) in 2010 compared to 4.15 ERA (-230 starts) with a 0-1 record in nine games (one start) at Wrigley. Zambrano has had five days off between his final relief appearance and will make his first start in more than a month.
Milwaukee is hoping last night’s comeback victory can jumpstart its performance at home, which is currently 9-16 on the season (-1,050). McGehee was the hero in the series-opener and is ranked fifth in that National League with a .386 batting average with runners in scoring position, just behind teammate Ryan Braun (.388). It’s important to note that the Brewers haven’t won back-to-back home games over the Cubs since 2006. This streak is likely to continue with the team’s 11-15 record against the division this season (-520). The bullpen is still a major concern for bettors, considering that new closer John Axford allowed a run for the third time in his last four outings.
Brewers SP Randy Wolf is set to make his 13th start of the year, posting a 4-5 record and 4.66 ERA over that span. He took the loss in his last outing, allowing five runs and six hits in 6.2 innings of work in a 8-0 loss on Friday. Including his last start, the left-hander is 2-4 with a 5.71 ERA in his last seven overall outings. Wolf is 5-7 with a 4.22 ERA in 17 career starts against the Cubs (-260), including 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two starts last season. Milwaukee is 5-7 in his starts and he has made five quality starts overall (-450).
Considering the great success the visitor has had at this ballpark, the Cubs certainly need to be looked upon as a betting opportunity, but it’s also a risk with Zambrano making the start. Chicago is also just 9-8 against southpaws this season (-280), but a solid 56-40 over the last three years (+320).