Some so-called experts are eating crow about their preseason predictions. Others are crowing. How did Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano do with his predictions, check that, guarantees?
Some so-called experts are eating crow about their preseason predictions. Others are crowing.
How did Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano do with his predictions, check that, guarantees?
In March, he guaranteed the Cubs would win the World Series and he would earn the National League Cy Young Award. He later changed it to “I’m almost sure” on the World Series and “for sure” on the Cy Young Award.
Less than 24 hours after he pitched seven shutout innings against Cincinnati to help vault the Cubs into the playoffs, Zambrano was reminded of his preseason prognostications.
So is he crowing or eating crow?
“I think my English was a little misunderstood,” he said Saturday afternoon after a chuckle. “What I tried to say was that I would do the best I could to win the Cy Young and I would try to do the best to be the champion and win the World Series.
“So far the two goals that I had -- I don’t think I will win the Cy Young. I think (San Diego’s) Jake Peavy deserves to win the Cy Young. He’s proven a lot. The other goal was to lead my team to win everything -- that’s in the way. We want to do everything possible to make that dream come true.”
The Cubs haven’t made it official, but Zambrano is penciled in as the starter for Game 1 of the National League Divisional Playoffs on Wednesday.
Zambrano, who finished the season with an 18-13 mark and became the first Cubs pitcher to win that many since Mark Prior in 2003, has had trouble with his emotions in season-opening games in the past three years. He’s posted an 0-1 mark with two no-decisions and an 8.16 ERA, allowing 13 runs on 20 hits with 14 walks in 14 1/3 innings.
He is treating this start in an opener with a different attitude.
“It’s like another game,” Zambrano said. “Go out and have fun and whatever happens, happens. Have a game plan. Do what I do best.”
After throwing seven shutout innings Friday and six against Pittsburgh on Sept. 23, he appears to be in a groove again.
“I will do the same thing I’ve been doing the last two starts,” Zambrano said. “Be aggressive and be calm. Just make my pitches and get ahead on the count all the time. That’s the key. When I throw a first pitch for a strike and a second pitch for a strike, it’s tough for a hitter to hit. When you do that, you have good games.”
The way the National League has been going, there doesn’t seem to be one dominant team. Some might start talking about the Cubs being the favorite, but “Big Z” wants no part of that.
“We don’t want to think about it like that,” Zambrano said. “When you think like that, you get overexcited. We just want to be like normal and do our job. Let the other team be the favorite.
“You can see through the years that other teams weren’t the favorites win the World Series. You just have to have fun and enjoy the playoffs.
“There are great players in this organization who wore this uniform who did not make the playoffs -- Ernie Banks, Billy Williams,” Zambrano added. “Now we have the chance to win everything here. This would be special for the city of Chicago.”