0-0 ||Cubs||vs||Astros|| 0-0 @ Minute Maid Park
Monday, April 6th, Time: 6:05 PM CT
TV: CSN Chicago, ESPN | Radio: WGN 720
.........Carlos Alberto Zambrano vs. Roy Edward Oswalt............
Oswalt led the Astros in wins for a franchise-record fifth consecutive season in 2008. He also set a franchise mark with 32 1/3 scoreless innings, the longest streak in the National League and second-longest in the Majors last year. In his last nine starts of last season, Oswalt was 7-2 with a 1.47 ERA, and he posted a 2.24 ERA over 13 second-half starts, recording wins in 10 of his 12 decisions during that span. He was the first pitcher to throw consecutive complete-game shutouts in 2008. Since he joined the big leagues in 2001, Oswalt leads all Major League pitchers with 129 wins. In that time, he ranks third in ERA and is seventh in winning percentage. His .668 overall career winning percentage ranks first in Astros history, and his 3.13 ERA also is the best in club history among pitchers with at least 80 innings pitched. Oswalt has 1,335 career strikeouts, fourth-highest behind Larry Dierker (1,487), J.R. Richard (1,493) and Nolan Ryan (1,866). He has started six straight Opening Days, a club record. The previous record was held by Shane Reynolds, who started five straight from 1996-2000. Oswalt has had double-digit win totals in all eight of his Major League seasons, including 20-win seasons in 2004 and 2005. Among players who began their careers after 1957, Oswalt is the sixth-fastest to 100 in terms of appearances among pitchers. He earned his 100th victory in his 191st game (180th start) two years ago.
This has been a relatively quiet spring for Zambrano. No boasts about winning a World Series or Cy Young or even 20 games. "I don't have to prove anything," he said. "I've been in the big leagues for eight years. They know what I'm capable of doing." This will be Big Z's fifth Opening Day start, and he's still looking for his first win. He has a 5.57 ERA in his four previous season openers. Last year, Zambrano did not get a decision in a 4-3 loss to the Brewers. He gave up three hits over 6 2/3 innings, striking out five. In 2007, he took the loss as the Reds scored five runs on six hits and five walks in five innings for a 5-1 win. Zambrano did not get a decision on April 3, 2006, against the Reds, giving up five runs on seven hits and five walks over 4 2/3 innings. He also got a no-decision on April 4, 2005, as the Diamondbacks scored three runs on seven hits and four walks over 4 2/3 innings. Only Fergie Jenkins (1979-83) and Rick Sutcliffe (1985-89) have started five consecutive Opening Days for the Cubs. Rick Reuschel is the only other Cubs pitcher with at least four Opening Day starts without a win. The Cubs were 0-4 in his starts from 1978 to 1981.