Big Z to rejoin Cubs' starting rotation Wednesday

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zambrano headshot.jpgVeteran right-hander Carlos Zambrano was moved to the bullpen in late April in a highly criticized move by manager Lou Piniella and the Cubs front office.  According to the Chicago Tribune’s Dave van Dyck, that will all change Wednesday when he rejoins the starting rotation and faces the Pirates.

Big Z allowed six earned runs and 16 hits in 13 innings as a reliever for the Cubs and opposing hitters batted .301 against him, but Piniella seems to think he’s shown signs of confidence and will do well in his return to starting.

“He’s been throwing the ball well here the last 10 days or so. Now we need for him to carry it over into the rotation and then win some ballgames for us,” Piniella said.  “He’ll make our rotation stronger if he pitches the way he’s capable of pitching.  So let’s see what happens.”

Tom Gorzelanny, 2-5 with a 3.66 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP through nine starts this season, will be moved to the bullpen to clear room.  It seems like a misguided move, but moving Zambrano to a relief role made no sense in the first place.  Two wrongs make a right?

Watch: George Springer robs Todd Frazier with an incredible catch at the wall

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Perhaps there are a few who still miss the slope of Tal’s Hill rising from center field, but George Springer isn’t one of them. He lassoed a 403-foot fly ball from Todd Frazier in the seventh inning of Game 6, reaching nearly to the top of the wall to prevent the Yankees from gaining on the Astros’ 3-0 lead.

According to Statcast, a fly ball with an exit velocity of 103.6 MPH and a launch angle of 29 degrees lands for a home run 72% of the time. That wasn’t going to fly with the Astros, who were facing runners on first and second with one out and saw Justin Verlander‘s pitch count rapidly approaching 100.

It wasn’t long before the Yankees tried for another home run, however, and this one sailed far above the heads of all of the Astros’ outfielders. Aaron Judge lofted a 425-foot shot to left field in the eighth inning, destroying a first-pitch fastball from Brad Peacock and finally getting New York on the board.

The Yankees currently trail the Astros 4-1 in the bottom of the eighth.