Carlos Zambrano is 7-0 with a 1.27 ERA since rejoining the Cubs' rotation

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Carlos Zambrano knocked the Padres out of the Wild Card lead last night by tossing seven shutout innings in a 1-0 victory, continuing his excellent run since rejoining the Cubs’ rotation following a misguided temporary move to the bullpen.
Zambrano is now 7-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 10 outings since becoming a starter again, holding opponents to a .189 batting average and just one homer in 219 at-bats. And amazingly, after posting ERAs of 6.56, 5.00, and 5.01 in April, May, and June his overall mark is down to 3.36, which would be Zambrano’s best ERA since 2005.
I’m not convinced that Zambrano is all that new and improved, because his 55/37 K/BB ratio isn’t particularly strong and despite doing such a great job keeping the ball in the ballpark his ground-ball rate isn’t actually very good either. On the other hand, I thought the Cubs were far too quick to bump him from the rotation in the first place and his current run is a not-so-subtle reminder that he can still be a very effective starter.
All of which is good news for the Cubs, because they still owe him $18 million in each of the next two years.

Giants hire Gabe Kapler as new manager

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The Giants announced on Tuesday the hiring of Gabe Kapler as manager. Kapler, filling the extremely large shoes of future Hall of Famer Bruce Bochy, inked a three-year deal, Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. Kapler was one of three finalists for the job, beating out Astros bench coach Joe Espada and Rays bench coach Matt Quataro.

Following his 12-year playing career, Kapler was a coach for Israel’s team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic qualifier. He then became an analyst for FS1 before joining the Dodgers’ front office as the director of player development in November 2014. He was involved in three scandals there: one in which he tried to handle a sexual assault incident involving two Dodgers minor league players without telling police, one in which he allegedly discriminated against Nick Francona, a veteran and former baseball operations employee, and an incident that implicated most of the Dodgers’ front office concerning the recruiting of international free agents. The Dodgers reportedly kept a spreadsheet of employees and their level of criminality.

Despite Kapler’s background, the Phillies hired him as their manager ahead of the 2018 season. He would lead the Phillies to an 80-82 record that year and then helped them improve by one game in 2019, finishing at exactly .500 before being fired. Kapler’s tenure in Philly was tumultuous, often drawing ire from the local media and subsequently the fan base for not being tough enough on his players. The Phillies also reportedly had a clubhouse issue in 2018 in which players were playing video games in the clubhouse during games, prompting Carlos Santana to smash a TV with a bat.

Kapler has a history with Farhan Zaidi, the Giants’ president of baseball operations. They worked together in the Dodgers’ front office as Zaidi served as GM from November 2014-18.