Pitching Change

Carlos Zambrano's next start has been moved from Saturday to Friday. He will pitch the opening game of the final regular-season series at Cincinnati.

Gameday Notes

"It will be Zambrano's fifth day," Cubs manager Lou Piniella said. "And assuming we go to the playoffs, (Game 1 on Wednesday) would be his fifth day."

Zambrano is the staff ace, but is it wise to let him open the playoffs if the Cubs make it that far?

In his career, Zambrano hasn't been very successful in big games. In the 2003 playoffs, he was 0-0 with a 4.76 ERA in the National League Division Series, giving up 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings against Atlanta. He was 0-1 with a 5.73 ERA in two starts in the League Championship Series against Florida.

In three Opening Day performances the past three seasons, Zambrano has gone 0-1 with an 8.16 ERA. He has allowed 13 runs on 20 hits with 14 walks in 14 1/3 innings.

MARLINS 7, CUBS 4: The Cubs have not beaten the Marlins since April 25, 2006, and they have dropped nine straight to them after Wednesday's loss at Dolphin Stadium. Derrek Lee hit his 21st homer of the year in the third inning. Jacque Jones drove in three runs, and Mark DeRosa tripled and scored. It wasn't enough because starting pitcher Jason Marquis (12-9) gave up four runs in the first two innings and one in the fifth. Normally lights-out reliever Carlos Marmol gave up a two-run homer to Miguel Cabrera in the seventh.

NOTES, QUOTES

--RHP Jason Marquis, who was coming off a 2 2/3-inning performance against Pittsburgh on Friday, gave up four runs in the first two innings against Florida on Wednesday night before settling down. He gave up one run in the next three innings and left the game trailing 5-4.

--LF Alfonso Soriano threw out two more runners in Wednesday's game against Florida and owns a team-high 18 outfield assists this season. The rest of the team's outfielders have combined for 16.

--RHP Steve Trachsel will get the start Thursday against Florida despite speculation he might get skipped. Trachsel hasn't pitched since Sept. 13.

--C Jason Kendall picked up his first start Wednesday after sitting for five consecutive games while red-hot rookie Geovany Soto took over. Manager Lou Piniella said he is looking for experience and will catch Kendall in at least three of the final four games of the season.

--RHP Carlos Zambrano's start in Cincinnati has been moved from Saturday to Friday so that he will be working on his regular four days of rest. It also means he will get four days of rest and be able to pitch in Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Wednesday if the Cubs clinch the NL Central crown.

This report was obtained through mutual agreement from a third-party outlet.


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