Yesterday I made light of the fact that Carlos Zambrano went nutso at Wrigley. It was a needed eruption to get his deflated team pumped up again. Today, I actually saw the whole footage of the outburst on TV by my parents house while picking up my son. I was at work when this game was played so I didn’t see the whole thing. What I saw put a sour feeling in my stomach. I’ve changed my tune. I still think that an eruption by a player or manager can have a positive effect on a team. However, Zambrano crossed a lot of lines yesterday. The biggest line crossed was that of the bat to the Gatorade machine. It’s scary to see how close he came to hitting Larry Rothschild in the chest. He swung the bat at the machine without any regard to the safety of his teammates on the bench. I honestly think that the Cubs themselves should suspend Zambrano. He’s out of control. He should be suspended by the team and forced to take an anger management class or get counseling. I actually saw an interview with Big Z on the news where he said with a straight face that he never got into it with an umpire before or had an out burst like that. What? No, there’s something wrong. The Cubs right now seem to be taking the stance people associated with the Red Sox took with Manny Ramirez when they would say, “It’s Manny being Manny”. However, I don’t recall Manny putting his teammates safety at risk. Would the Cubs be singing a different tune right now if Rothschild took the bat to the chest, or if the bat’s backswing caught a player on the bench in the head. Or if a piece of the Gatorade machine hit a player in the head. Or a fan, for that matter. Seeing this outburst reminded me somewhat of a scene in the Jimmy Piersall biopic “Fear Strikes Out”. If I was a Cubs player on the bench, I would have actually have been scared. We can go back to many out bursts from Zambrano. From hitting batters to the fight with Michael Barrett, Zambrano has shown time and again he is his own worst enemy. Can the Cubs really count on him? Is he really a number one starter? A stopper? I don’t know. He keeps proving that he’s a loose cannon that does more harm than good to the team at times. Why would the Cubs keep pursuing San Diego’s ace pitcher? Maybe because deep down they know that they can never know what to expect from Big Z. If Lou Piniella and the coaches are just going to look the other way, then Jim Hendry needs to step in and demand a level of professionalism. The Cubs cannot continue to apologize for Big Z’s behavior and look the other way. The need to get him help. If not, he’s only going to end up hurting the team.
I said it was going to happen. I said that it needed to happen. Someone on the Cubs exploded in rage. While it wasn’t Lou or Bradley, Big Z provided plenty of fireworks for the faithful this afternoon at Wrigley.
Where to begin? The Cubs’ weaknesses came to the forefront tonight in an extra inning loss to the Marlins. Weak, inconsistent offense and a bullpen that may be the worst in the National League right now allow the Marlins to win 8-2 in 10 innings tonight at Wrigley. The Cubs led this game 2-0 until the seventh thanks to back to back homers by Milton Bradley and Mike Fontenot in the fifth. The Marlins, as they’ve done all year, chipped away with a run in the seventh and a run in the eighth to tie the score. Carlos Marmol looked terrible again in allowing the tying run in the eighth. It remained 2-2 until the top of the tenth when Aaron Heilman came in to pitch. Heilman came into the game with a 0.82 ERA. He had been the bright spot in the Cubs bullpen. No one else in the Cubs bullpen had an ERA under 4.35, so Heilman was definitely a bright spot. Well, maybe he wanted to fit in with the rest of his bullpen mates and bring that ERA up. Six runs later, five of them earned, Heilman left with an ERA of 4.91 and a 8-2 Cubs loss. The Cubs do not have a bullpen right now. Every game it seems like someone different implodes. Yesterday, it was Marmol. Today, it was Heilman. Who will it be tomorrow? Larry Rothschild has his work cut out for him.