The right-hander looks for a better outing while trying to help the Chicago Cubs even their weekend series with the Reds on Saturday in Cincinnati.
Making his sixth straight opening-day start, Zambrano (0-1, 54.00 ERA), lasted 1 1/3 innings after giving up eight runs, six hits and two walks in a 16-5 loss at Atlanta on Monday. That effort matched the shortest outing by Zambrano, who reported to spring training in good shape and determined to rebound from last season when he went 9-7 with a 3.77 ERA.
“He’s certainly capable of doing a heck of a lot better,” manager Lou Piniella told the Cubs’ official Web site.
Zambrano, who blamed poor location for his awful opener, seems poised to leave that game in the past and next face a Cincinnati team he’s 15-10 with a 3.04 ERA against in 29 career starts.
“I just had a bad game. I’ve put it behind me,” Zambrano said. “It happened, I gave up eight runs and like I say, ‘I will concentrate on my next start.’”
The Cubs’ ace has thrived at Great American Ball Park, going 8-2 with a 2.62 ERA, but he’s 1-5 in seven starts overall when opposed by Aaron Harang(notes), who will take the ball for the Reds (2-2) on Saturday.
Harang (0-1, 5.40) also looks to improve from a shaky opening-day start when he allowed four runs in five innings of an 11-6 loss to St. Louis on Monday.
The right-hander is 1-11 with a 4.81 ERA over his last 17 starts.
“The more pressure you put on yourself, the more mistakes you’re going to make,” Harang told the Reds’ official Web site. “I just have to go out there, make pitches and do my job.”
Harang, 9-8 with a 4.63 ERA in 22 career starts versus the Cubs (1-3), will try to help the Reds to a third straight victory after they rallied for a 5-4 win Friday.
“It was one of those that feels so good, there’s no question about it,” said Stubbs, who is 6 for 18 with six RBIs in four career games against Chicago.
The Cubs’ bullpen was an area of concern coming into the season, and through four games has allowed 14 runs, 12 hits and 10 walks in 13 2-3 innings.
Chicago also has hit .213 and scored 13 runs this season.
“Everything was fine when we were in afternoon, single-deck stadiums (during spring training),” Piniella said. “Now all of a sudden, it gets a little different, and we’ll have to see. Well, we haven’t seen what we’d like to see, let’s put it that way.”
Chicago’s Derrek Lee(notes) went 3 for 4 with a homer and two RBIs in the series opener. He continues to thrive at Great American Ball Park, hitting .329 with 14 home runs and 38 RBIs in 39 career games there.