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April Is The Cruelest Month – For Zambrano
by Phil Bencomo
April has never been a kind month for Carlos Zambrano, and Big Z's poor outing today in the Cubs' 5-1 loss to Cincinnati was the third in a string of poor Opening Days for, undeniably, the Cubs' best pitcher.
Zambrano on Opening Day
But fear not: A slow starter he may be, Zambrano has always done well in May and beyond (4.05 career April ERA vs. 2.15 career May ERA).
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Time to give credit where credit is due: Aaron Harang was just plain good. The Cubs only had eight hits (all singles) for a reason. Nobody (with the exception of Mr. 2-3 Derrek Lee) seemed to hit the ball with much authority, and a fourth-inning Lee flyball out was the only Cub hit to force a Cincinnati outfielder near the wall. Harang worked out of a few two-out jams nearly unscathed – an errant throw by centerfielder Ryan Freel ended up in the Cubs' dugout in the fifth, giving the Cubs their only run, and unearned at that.
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Case in point as to why I much prefer AL-only fantasy leagues: Adam Dunn smoked two home runs today. Great for my fantasy team, not so great for the Cubs. Ideally, the Cubs would have won despite two home runs from Dunn, but instead I'm stuck between jumping for joy and curling up into the fetal position with tears spouting from my eyes.
Now isn't that a funny image...
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If there was one positive from the pitching staff today, it was the bullpen. Neil Cotts, (Cub Town favorite) Michael Wuertz, and Will Ohman combined for three scoreless innings in relief of the less-than-effective Zambrano.