Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella hasn’t indicated who will move out of the rotation when Carlos Zambrano(notes) completes his conversion from reliever back to starter next week. One likely candidate is Tom Gorzelanny(notes).
Zambrano, who got sent to the bullpen last month after a rocky start to the season, is set to return to the rotation. Piniella said Tuesday that Zambrano will start one of three games in Pittsburgh next week for the Cubs (22-24).
Gorzelanny was excellent last Wednesday in Philadelphia, limiting the Phillies to three hits over 6 2-3 scoreless innings, though the left-hander departed the Cubs’ 4-1 win early after taking a line drive off the ring finger on his pitching hand.
Now, he’ll try to help the Cubs extend their season-high home win streak to five games, but that could be difficult with Billingsley (5-2, 3.66) opposing him.
The right-hander has posted a 1.37 ERA while winning his last three starts. He allowed one run and four hits in Friday’s 4-1 home win over Detroit.
“I’m just being aggressive with my fastball,” Billingsley told the Dodgers’ official website. “I keep thinking aggressive and just pound the strike zone.”
Billingsley is 1-3 with a 3.54 ERA in six appearances - four starts - against the Cubs. The lone win came in relief May 27, 2007. The losses haven’t been all his fault, as the Dodgers failed to score more than two runs for him in any of them.
Billingsley was instrumental in Los Angeles’ recent 12-1 stretch, but the Dodgers (25-20) have now dropped their last two including a 3-0 defeat in Tuesday’s series opener. Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee(notes) went 3 for 3 with a homer and drove in all his team’s runs.
“I felt some good swings,” said Lee, who raised his average 13 points to .231. “Hopefully, this is the start of something.”
It may be difficult for him to maintain his momentum Wednesday. Lee is 1 for 12 against Billingsley, though the one hit was a homer.
Winners of seven of nine overall and six of their last eight home games against the Dodgers, the Cubs are seeking their second four-game win streak in the second half of May. They’re also going for their haven’t fifth consecutive home victory.
Gorzelanny is 1-0 with a 5.30 ERA in three starts and one relief appearance versus the Dodgers.