(Cubs new pitching coach, Takeru œTsunami Kobayashi)
As reported by George Castle of the Indiana Munster Times, not only did Ward’s comment not start a clubhouse brawl, it passed as serious analysis of the Cubs’ 3-2 win over the Astros Sunday at Wrigley. The win contained two other noteworthy events. The first: Soriano broke out of an opening week slump with a home run and a perfect toss-out of Astro Michael Bourn from field to plate. The second item of note: for the first time in years I saw Kerry Wood in a Cub uniform without Hatin’, as he pitched a perfect 9th and recorded his third save. For both my sake and Wood’s, the Cubs have decided to rest him tomorrow. A perfect Wood inning took a lot out of both of us.
Still, Daryle Ward wasn’t kidding about Zambrano, whose W came on the heels of a 15 banana spree after leaving Opening Day with forearm cramps. Zambrano took two cures to heart on Sunday, listening to pitching coach Larry Rothschild on strikes and adopting the dietary skills of Japanese hot dog eating champ Takeru “Tsunami” Kobayashi (or David Wells) by downing a bushel of bananas leading up to Sunday’s game “ here summed up by Mike Nadel of The Springfield Journal-Register:
œFifteen, [Zambrano] said. œAt least 15.
A series of tests convinced doctors that the Cubs™ talented right-hander tended to cramp up partly because his diet lacked potassium.
œI feel like a monkey now, Zambrano said. œSometimes I feel full. Too much banana.
He got to 15 even without having eaten any Sunday, when he took a banana break and pitched the Cubs to a 3-2 victory over the Houston Astros …
Mostly, though, Zambrano helped himself by eliminating the two things that have caused him the most trouble over the years: walks and cramps.
It was just the sixth time in 182 career starts he avoided any walks. Having issued only one free pass in the opener ” a game the Cubs lost despite getting 6 2/3 shutout innings from Zambrano ” he has his lowest two-start walk total as a big-leaguer. His 1.32 ERA also is significant because he traditionally struggles in the season™s first month.
œI™m (pretending) this is June, Zambrano said. œI am throwing the ball where I want, using all my pitches. Like my coach told me in spring training: ˜Get the first pitch in for a strike and that will be the key for you all year long.™
See? For those who say Larry Rothschild doesn™t know what he™s doing, he invented the saying: Strikes are good.
Zambrano had to leave the opener because of forearm cramps. Nothing new there. He™s been making early exits because of cramps for much of his career.