A familiar sight was seen in the Chicago Cubs dugout Friday night, and the Cubs expect an apology from Carlos Zambrano after he cursed teammates in a tantrum caught by television cameras. Zambrano was lifted just before the second inning after allowing four-earned runs in the first inning of the Chicago Cubs’ 6-0 loss to the White Sox.
The Cubs are no stranger to the three-time All Star’s rants, and coach Lou Piniella made the decision to suspend the starter indefinitely. Piniella says the first thing Zambrano will have to do to even be considered for reinstatement is apologize to his teammates.
”He was upset that some of the players didn’t dive for those balls,” Piniella said, referring to two doubles hit in the first inning past Derrick Lee and Aramis Ramirez. ”A few of those were hit hard, and the one with two strikes was hit the hardest.”
The outburst would’ve been bad enough had it been an isolated incident, but Zambrano has a history of losing his cool. Just 13 months ago, he was ejected from a game while acting like he was the one doing the ejecting. He threw a ball 300 feet into left field that earned him a suspension for “violent actions”.
“That’s something that can’t be tolerated,” said Piniella.
After dealing with the likes of Milton Bradley and Zambrano, Cubs general manager Jim Hendry has experience dealing with short-tempered players.
”We’ll play with 24 before we tolerate that kind of behavior,” said Hendry.
The Cubs lose a roster spot until Zambrano is reinstated. The only option for the team might be to trade the starter. The dugout rant Friday was probably his last in a Cubs uniform.
Players in the clubhouse were obviously put off by Zambrano’s attitude, and they tried to not let the altercation get out of hand.
”Everybody’s just mad about the attitude,” said teammate Alfonso Soriano, who tried to beckon the angry player into the clubhouse away from the watchful eye of the television cameras just outside the dugout. ”If he wants the attitude, take it inside, not in front of everybody.”
Juan Pierre and Alex Rios victimized Zambrano in the first inning with a double a piece. Paul Konerko singled, and Carlos Quentin belted a three-run homerun to push the lead to 4-0.
Zambrano did settle down to get out of the inning, striking out Mark Kotsay and coaxing A.J. Pierzynski into a inning ending grounder to first. Then things got heated between Zambrano and Lee in the dugout.
After the game Lee wouldn’t field any questions concerning the fight.
“First of all, no questions about what happened. I’ll talk about the game, that’s it,” said Lee.
Lost in the scramble was an impressive pitching performance from Jake Peavy, who went seven innings, allowing three hits, and striking out nine.
“In a game like this it’s very easy if things don’t go well on the field or off the field you can let your emotions get the best of you,” Peavy said. “Biggest thing is to channel the energy in the right way.”
MLB sportsbooks have set the Cubs as the underdog in the second game of the series at +110. The White Sox’s line has been set at -130, and the over/under for total runs scored by both teams in the game is set at 9.