UPDATE: Carlos Zambrano suspended indefinitely

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UPDATE: According to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs have suspended Carlos Zambrano indefinitely for his actions during Friday’s game.

“His conduct was not acceptable,” Cubs general
manager Jim Hendry said. “It has become a bit of a tired act.”

According to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com, Hendry said, “We’ll play with
24 before we tolerate that behavior.”

Wow.

Zambrano was sent home by Cubs manager Lou Piniella, who called the whole incident “embarrassing” during a post-game press conference. Speaking of embarrassing, Big Z reportedly jawed at some cameramen on the way out of the stadium, according to Sullivan. Film at 11!

Oh, and just a reminder, Zambrano is in the third year of a five-year, $91.5 million contract. Fun.

5:05 PM: Today’s starter Carlos Zambrano went nuts during the first inning of today’s Cubs-White
Sox game, after which he was removed from the game by Lou Piniella and asked to
leave the ballpark.

The details: The first batter he faced was
Juan Pierre, who doubled down the first base line. Zambrano then gave up
another double, a single and a three-run home run to Carlos Quentin,
and ended the inning behind 4-0.  Once he got back to the dugout he got
up in Derrek Lee’s face, obviously jawing at him over his failure to
field Pierre’s hit before it made it down the line.

And he might have had a point. I’m not watching the game, but those
who are say that the ball was probably playable for Lee.  But if
Zambrano had any moral high ground on that point he lost it the second
he decided to yell at rather than talk to Lee, and then when he decided
to smash the Gatorade cooler and throw water on the field.  That was
enough for Piniella, obviously, who replaced Zambrano with Tom
Gorzelanny. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about this one after the game.

Just another day at the ballpark for Big Z.  Just another summer of
dealing with a freakin’ head case for the Chicago Cubs. 

Phillies walk off winners thanks to a poor decision by Marcell Ozuna

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The Phillies’ bullpen, which has not been good as of late, gift-wrapped Monday’s game for the Cardinals. Starter Nick Pivetta was brilliant, fanning 13 while allowing two runs in 7 1/3 innings. But things unraveled after he left the game. Victor Arano took over for Edubray Ramos to start the ninth inning with the Phillies leading 4-2, but he allowed a one-out single and a double. After striking out Harrison Bader, Arano appeared to strike out Yairo Munoz for the final out of the game, but the ball trickled through the legs of catcher Andrew Knapp, allowing a run to score and the tying run to move to third base. Lefty Adam Morgan came in to face pinch-hitter Kolten Wong. Wong tied the game up, sneaking a single into center field.

In the 10th inning, Jake Thompson gave up the go-ahead run on a leadoff home run to Tommy Pham. It seemed like it was just going to be another one of those losses that have become increasingly common for the Phillies lately. But the Phillies’ offense didn’t go down quietly, even though it hadn’t put a runner on second base since the start of the second inning when J.P. Crawford doubled. In the bottom half of the 10th, Hoskins blooped a single into shallow left-center to start the inning. Hoskins moved to second base on a ground out from Odubel Herrera. Matt Bowman intentionally walked Carlos Santana, then struck out Jesmuel Valentin. That brought up Aaron Altherr, who replaced Nick Williams after Williams took a baseball to the face off of the right field fence. Bowman fell behind 2-1, then threw a 90 MPH fastball that Altherr lined into left field. Rather than keep the ball in front of him, Marcell Ozuna decided to dive for the ball to make the final out, but he missed. The ball trickled past him, allowing the tying and the game-winning runs to score, giving the Phillies a come-from-behind win.

On the list of people happy to see Ozuna miss that ball are Altherr (of course), Arano, Morgan, and Thompson. But perhaps no one was happier than manager Gape Kapler. The win might help take the heat off of him somewhat after another poor performance from the bullpen. When a team struggles, everyone wants a scapegoat and Kapler is an easy target. He has been all year, undeservingly.

Phillies radio broadcaster and former major league reliever Larry Anderson said after the bullpen meltown, “Not everybody can pitch in the ninth inning. And I know Gabe Kapler thinks they can, but they can’t.” Aside from Ramos and Seranthony Dominguez (who was unavailable after throwing 52 pitches between Saturday and Sunday in Milwaukee), no one in that bullpen has been reliable. The closer, Hector Neris, just got optioned to Triple-A. You work with what you have, and right now, Kapler doesn’t have a whole lot. Thankfully for him, he wasn’t punished with another loss thanks to Ozuna.