Zambrano seeks his fifth win in six decisions when he starts against the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday at Great American Ball Park.
Chicago (24-36) snapped Cincinnati’s eight-game winning streak Friday with a 6-5 victory, but learned earlier in the day that Wood is headed back to the 15-day disabled list with shoulder stiffness.
“I’m not injured, I didn’t hurt anything,” said Wood, who felt stiffness in his shoulder during his last start in Houston on Tuesday. “I think it’s something that comes along with shoulder surgery. I’ve had a tough time recovering and getting this thing ready to go every fifth, sixth or seventh day sometimes.”
Zambrano (4-3, 3.09 ERA) didn’t notch a win in his first seven starts, but has been the Cubs’ most consistent pitcher since.
The 25-year-old right-hander is 4-1 with a 1.85 ERA in his last six outings, with the lone loss coming against the Reds in a 3-2 defeat on May 31.
That contest dropped Zambrano to 0-2 with a 5.94 ERA versus Cincinnati this season.
Zambrano is coming off a strong performance at Houston on Monday, though, when he allowed just one hit over eight innings and struck out eight in an 8-0 win.
He also hit a three-run homer off Taylor Buchholz in the second.
“It was a high school game for him tonight,” Cubs center fielder Juan Pierre said. “He was the best pitcher and hitter on the field.”
Maddux gave up two runs and four hits—two of those solo homers by Adam Dunn and Scott Hatteberg—in 5 1-3 innings to notch his 325th career victory, breaking a tie with Nolan Ryan and Don Sutton for 13th on the all-time list.
The Cubs snapped a three-game losing skid and improved to 6-11 in their last 17 games.
Though the Reds’ (36-25) longest winning streak in seven years came to an end, they enter Saturday just a half-game behind St. Louis for the NL Central lead.
Left-hander Brandon Claussen (3-6, 5.40) will make the start for Cincinnati. Claussen has pitched at least five innings in seven straight outings but has just one win over that span—a 9-4 victory at Detroit on May 19.
Since that game Claussen is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA, including an 8-3 loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field on May 30 when he allowed four runs in five innings.
Claussen is 1-5 with a 7.36 ERA lifetime against Chicago, including 0-2 with a 10.38 ERA at home.
Cincinnati is 12-6 in the last 18 meetings in the series.