For the third time in a row, Carlos Zambrano will be taking the bump to start for the Chicago Dogs. Rule of three boys and girls, he's back! He'd been pitching out of the 'pen earlier in the season, coinciding with what many thought would be his only path back to the show, being a competent relief pitcher. His stats this season have reflected what he is, a former MLB star trying to claw his way back. A 4.82 ERA over 46.2 IP, to go with 42K and 14BB on the mound isn't the prime "El Toro" we remember, but for a 38-year-old looking to get back, it's something. As for his performance with his bat, let's just say I jumped the gun a bit back in June. He hasn't gone to the plate since June 23rd and that's unlikely to change with the .158 average across his 19 plate appearances.
Let's turn back to the positive again. If the only thing that comes of the Carlos Zambrano experiment is him proving he can hold his own in the American Association and continues to pitch there, then awesome, great! Pick your adjective, I dig it either way. His last start yielded his first W as a starting pitcher with the Chicago Dogs. Against the Winnipeg Goldeyes, (named for the owner's favorite N64 game I'm told) Big Z tossed 5.1 innings, surrendered one run (earned), struck out seven and walked none. He also found the heat as you can see below. With the solid numbers, it looks like the bull may be built to pitch for multiple innings.
There are 13 games left in the season for the Chicago Dogs and, despite having the 4th best record in the league, they'd be on the outside looking in if the playoffs started today. The north division is brutal. Either way, it's conceivable that Zambrano can start three more times counting today, and if they can leapfrog the St. Paul Saints and find there way in the playoffs, then who knows? There aren't many opportunities left to see Zambrano pitch, but if he goes every five games, he could pitch at home for all of them. Don't live with Fear of Missing Z. #FOMZ.
Featured Photo: Chris Sweda/TNS