Zambrano did win his last start, posting a 7-4 victory at Milwaukee on Friday night that ended the Brewers’ seven-game winning streak. His command was again suspect, however, as he walked three or more batters for the sixth consecutive start. Zambrano walked four, but earned the victory after allowing three runs and six hits over 5 2-3 innings.
Zambrano has allowed 62 in 32 innings this season, including 21 walks.
“Those things get you into trouble,” manager Willie Randolph said of Zambrano’s wildness. “Even when he’s pitching well, he still has a lot of movement on his pitches. He needs to find his rhythm and stay with it. Hopefully, he’ll get better.”
Mark Prior will counter for Chicago, hoping to build off a solid, albeit winless, effort in his last start.
The right-hander was in line for his fourth victory of the season after allowing just one run, four hits and striking out 10 over eight innings Friday, but the bullpen faltered in the Cubs’ 3-2 defeat at Philadelphia.
Prior is 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA in three career starts against the Mets. His teammate, Greg Maddux, has an even more impressive body of work against New York. The veteran right-hander struck out 10 in his best outing of the season Tuesday as the Cubs avenged a series-opening loss with a 7-0 victory over the Mets.
The struggling Cubs won for just the second time in their last 10 games.
“It’s nice to win,” Maddux said. “It’s still early. Obviously we have a lot of time to get our act together and play the way we’re capable of playing. I don’t think it was life or death or anything before the game started, by any means. We just needed a win and we got a win. It doesn’t matter if it’s one run or 10 runs.”