The Cubs suspended Carlos Zambrano indefinitely on Friday after he blew up in the dugout, getting in the face of first baseman Derrek Lee and turning over a water cooler. Now the punishment continues.
According to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com, Zambrano will not return to the Cubs’ starting rotation once he is activated from his club-assigned suspension. He will head back to the bullpen, where he spent part of April and all of May.
Big Z has posted a 4.15 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP this season in 14.1 innings as a reliever and a 3-5 record, a 6.12 ERA and a 1.76 WHIP as a starter. To be blunt, he’s pretty awful these days no matter the role.
The Cubs have not made immediate plans to fill his rotation spot, nor have they called up a player to take Zambrano’s place on the 25-man roster. Some changes will need to be made by early next week.
The ALCS had a weird play in Game 4 on Tuesday night, but Game 4 of the NLCS did as well. This one involved Cubs outfielder Albert Almora, Jr. and his attempt to spark a rally in the bottom of the ninth inning against Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling.
After Alex Avila singled, Almora ripped a double to left field, past a diving Enrique Hernandez. The ball rolled to the ivy in front of the wall. Most outfielders there would’ve put their hands up, which would have alerted the umpires to call an immediate ground-rule double. Hernandez didn’t, instead fishing the ball out and firing it back into the infield. Avila had stopped at third base, but Almora kept running. Much to his surprise, he pulled up into third base to see his teammate standing there, resigned to his fate as a dead duck. Third baseman Justin Turner applied the tag on Almora for what he thought was the first out of the inning.
Almora, however, was then sent back to second base after the umpires correctly called a ground-rule double.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, the lucky break didn’t help as closer Kenley Jansen came in and took care of business, retiring all three batters he faced without letting an inherited runner score. The Dodgers won 6-1 and now lead the NLCS three games to none. They’ll try to punch their ticket to the World Series on Wednesday.