Baseball Toaster Cub Town
You Knew It Would Be Him
2008-09-14 20:10
by Derek Smart

People have been saying for several years now that if anyone was primed to take the "last Cub no-hitter" mantle from Milt Pappas, it was Carlos Zambrano.  No Cub starter in recent memory has gone to the mound with ridiculous stuff more often than Big Z, so logically, it was just a matter of having a day where he had both control and filth working for him, allowing for both the prevention of meaningful contact, and the completion of nine innings in under 500 pitches.

Tonight, the stars alligned, fate smiled - whatever, pick your own hackneyed phrase.  Carlos threw his no-hitter, doing it in a nice, tight, 110 pitches, putting to rest for at least one night any lingering questions about the state of his shoulder. 

He got it done by keeping the ball either on the ground, or in Geovany Soto's mitt, forcing 13 goundball outs while whiffing 10.  It was a thoroughly dominant performance, so much so that if the Cubs were to find themselves in possession of a clinched division title by week's end, were I Lou Piniella, I'd have to think very seriously about skipping Z's final scheduled start altogether.  Certainly, if the division is, indeed, in hand by then the start will at least be treated as a two or three inning tune-up, but seeing the results garnered with extended, uninterrupted rest, the option of keeping him completely out should at least be considered.

But enough about that.  Big Z just threw a no-hitter, folks, so crack open a beverage and smile. 

2008-09-15 08:55:56
1.   chicagoburke
If I were not 2000 miles away I would have most assuredly made the pilgrimage to Wrigley North yesterday and reveled in the mastery of Big Z, then spent the night in the greater milwaukee area and gone back to do it all over again...I'm jealous of those of you who were able to be there...
2008-09-15 09:52:45
2.   Sandus
I was lucky enough to be at the game, and the first thing I said when I got out was how totally unfair this was for the Astros. Most of them have no power, their city is in chaos, and then they have to travel a thousand miles last minute and play in front of 23,000 Cub fans and 4 Astros fans (this is not an exxageration--I saw two guys with a Texas flag and two people on the Jumbotron and that was it). And on top of that, they're facing a pitcher who not only has great stuff on a regular basis, but he was touching 98 in the first inning. You knew it was going to be a tough road for them.

That's not to say that Carlos wasn't brilliant, because he was. And when the wheels could've fallen off after he hit Hunter Pence in the side, he took a deep breath, and just continued mowing people down. He was so focused that even though you could tell the blood was flowing through his veins like lightning (especially in the 9th where nerves made him bounce a few pitches), he was stoic by Zambrano standards.

I can't wait to see how he comes out in his next start.

2008-09-15 11:46:20
3.   Derek Smart
Had a co-worker who went as well, and the comment about only 4 Astros fans falls in line with what they told me, and with what I saw on the teevee. The only thing I'd say - and, honestly, I don't mean this as some kind of rebuttal - is that while you definitely got a larger crowd at last night's game than you would have in, say, Seattle, I still think you'd have found the Astros at a profound disadvantage when it came to fan ratios no matter where you played.

The Cubs have fans everywhere they go - that's what happens when you've had your games broadcast around the country for over two decades - and I just don't think the Astros travel nearly as well. Or, more to the point, that there aren't anywhere near as many Astros fans living outside of Houston as there are Cubs fans living outside of Chicago.

A side note: I know I've been bad about writing here. For whatever reason, I've just been unable to write much about baseball of late. To that end, because I still feel the need to write, I've begun doing a general purpose, anything goes sort of blog, just to keep going until I can get my baseball writing back in gear. I didn't want to be completely gauche and put a link in a post, but I want to let any interested folks know I'm doing it, so if you want to take a peek, it's at

/shameless self promotion

2008-09-15 16:01:54
4.   moghopper
I want to thank both you guys for posting. I do read and enjoy it.

I find its easier to read if there are posts consistently, in the same way that its easier to play the field if the pitcher pitches a quick game.

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