He’ll get a second chance to face the NL Central leaders this season on Monday night in the opener of a three-game set at Wrigley Field.
Zambrano (1-2, 7.77 ERA) earned his only victory this season at Milwaukee (11-7) on April 7, a 6-3 win for Chicago. The right-hander allowed three runs and five hits over seven innings to bounce back from a season-opening loss to Cincinnati and made some disparaging remarks after the game about the Brewers.
“I don’t say that the Milwaukee Brewers are nothing, but I think the offense of the Cincinnati Reds (is) better,” Zambrano said. “There’s no making mistakes when pitching against Cincinnati. When you make a mistake against them, you pay for it.
“When you make a mistake against Milwaukee, sometimes they miss it and that’s good.”
Zambrano doesn’t have an outstanding history against Milwaukee, going 8-7 with a 4.17 ERA in 17 career appearances, including 16 starts. His win earlier this month improved his record to just 2-2 with a 5.76 ERA in his last five starts versus the Brewers.
There also doesn’t seem to be much evidence to support Zambrano’s claim about Milwaukee’s hitters—the Brewers are among baseball’s leaders in runs (90), batting average (.277) and home runs (21).
“It (ticks) us off a little bit,” center fielder Bill Hall told the Brewers’ official web site. “We’ll see what happens the next time we face him.”
Hall is just 5-for-27 with 13 strikeouts in his career against Zambrano. That’s the worst average of any Brewer with at least 10 at-bats against him.
Milwaukee lost two of three to Chicago (7-11) from April 6-8, but hasn’t lost a series since. Hall hit his fourth homer and starter Dave Bush took a shutout into the ninth inning as the Brewers held on for a 4-3 victory over Houston on Sunday.
Francisco Cordero recorded the final three outs for his seventh save in as many chances.
Claudio Vargas (1-0, 3.46) will look for another high-strikeout effort when he makes his third start of the season for the Brewers. Vargas matched a career high with nine strikeouts on April 10 against Florida and set a new high with 11 strikeouts in his last outing Wednesday against Pittsburgh.
The right-hander allowed two runs and five hits over six innings in Wednesday’s 7-3 win - his first as a Brewer.
Vargas is making his second career start against the Cubs after giving up seven runs over four innings on Aug. 1 in a 9-3 loss with Arizona. He gave up three runs over two innings out of the bullpen in a 9-3 loss to the Cubs on April 6.
Chicago slugger Derrek Lee went 7-for-13 in the first series against Milwaukee. Lee went just 3-for-13 over the weekend as the Cubs dropped two of three to St. Louis, including a 12-9 loss in 10 innings on Sunday.
Michael Barrett went 3-for-4 for Chicago and homered for his third straight game in Sunday’s loss.