To record that third straight victory, the Cubs will likely need a better performance from their mercurial right-hander and might have to solve the Milwaukee Brewers’ Chris Narveson(notes) on Wednesday night.
The Cubs (27-39) were likely frustrated while dropping 13 of 16 but only Zambrano went as far to say his club’s play was “embarrassing” and like “a Triple-A team” following a loss in St. Louis on June 5. He apologized the next day, especially for his critical comments about closer Carlos Marmol(notes), but he didn’t help his team in his previous start.
Zambrano (5-3, 4.40 ERA) was tagged for a season-high seven runs and seven hits during a 7-5 loss in Philadelphia on Friday. He also matched a career high with seven walks.
“Too many walks,” he said. “You can’t do that against teams like this. Next time I will make an adjustment.”
Zambrano has one win in his last seven outings but has won three consecutive starts against Milwaukee (38-30), which is tied with St. Louis atop the Central. He gave up four runs and seven hits over six innings in a 7-4 victory April 8 at Miller Park.
Zambrano, though, hasn’t beaten the Brewers at Wrigley Field since June 28, 2005, and might have to outduel Narveson (3-4, 4.32) to end that drought.
The left-hander is 3-0 with a 0.98 ERA in three career starts against Chicago. He scattered six hits over seven innings in a 6-0 victory April 9, and is coming off another six-hitter.
Narveson matched a career high by going eight innings in Friday’s 8-0 win over St. Louis.
“I think you always need an outing like this,” said Narveson, who had a 10.66 ERA in his previous three starts. “It’s definitely a good feeling to be able to go out there and just go out and get back to base one and get yourself set.”
In this start, he’ll try to keep his team from dropping its third in a row after winning 24 of 32. The Brewers failed to hold a pair of three-run leads in Tuesday’s 5-4 loss in 10 innings.
“We made some mistakes early and didn’t do ourselves any favors,” said manager Mike Quade, whose team committed three errors. “There were about a half-dozen plays and things I saw that I’m not very happy about and they damn near cost us. But they kept playing.”
After getting Jeff Baker(notes) and Reed Johnson(notes) back from injuries, the Cubs could activate leading home run hitter Alfonso Soriano(notes) as early as Wednesday. The outfielder, who has gone deep 12 times, has been rehabbing a strained left quad at Triple-A Iowa.
The Cubs, though, might put second baseman Darwin Barney(notes) on the DL with a sore left knee. He’s thought to have suffered the injury while scoring the winning run in Monday’s 1-0 series-opening victory.
Barney, batting .294, leads all major league rookies with 73 hits and 34 runs scored.