Carlos Zambrano, with rage seething beneath his skin and his bones rattling with the fury of a caged wolverine, has declared himself “ready” to pitch for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Beneath a cauldron of anger that seemed ready to spill over at any moment, Zambrano said on Tuesday…
Cue “Eye of the Tiger,” DJ.
But ready for what, you may ask? Is he ready to be the boorish bully he was during his time in Chicago? Is he ready to be the destroyer of innocent Gatorade coolers and clubhouse light fixtures? Is he ready to be the pitcher who compiled a 4.66 ERA the last two seasons with the Cubs and Marlins with a WHIP of 1.468?
Because if that’s the Carlos Zambrano the Phillies are going to get, maybe we can stomach a little bit more Tyler Cloyd.
OK, no wait, that’s crazy talk. No one can stomach Tyler Cloyd. Let’s forget I said that. Maybe we could use B.J. Rosenberg… no that won’t work either. Ethan Martin? Oh, he’s got a 4.94 ERA in AAA? I see. Well, surely Adam Morgan is good to go… oh, he’s on the DL with shoulder stiffness. Hmmm… *tapping foot… scouring the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs roster… getting discouraged…* Zach Minor no… Cesar Jimenez no… how about Jesse Biddle in Reading?… no probably too soon for him too…
Well CRAP. We may need Zambrano. Damn it.
Maybe I’ll just focus on his stats from 2002-10, when he compiled an ERA of 3.44, finished in the top 5 of the Cy Young voting five times and threw a no-hitter.
Yeah, that’s pretty much my only choice now.
As Philly.com’s David Murphy points out, the Phillies don’t have to make a decision on Zambrano until July 1, and in his next start, on Sunday, he is expected to try and ramp up to 100 pitches. John Lannan is also expected to start throwing to hitters today as he gets set to return to action in a few weeks.
And while Cloyd did do well in his first two starts this year, he was bombed by the Sox on Tuesday, and his stuff really isn’t Major League quality.
So the Phils must decide to give Cloyd a fourth start, or do something drastic like bring up Carlos.
What’s really good is that Zambrano was staying really, really busy while he waited for the Phillies to get desperate enough to call his agent in the offseason.
“I was at my house doing nothing and now I have a job with one of the best teams in baseball,” Zambrano said, “a team with good fans, a team that is competing every year. I like that. I like the chemistry. I like the system. I thank God that I’m here.” – quote per Philly.com’s David Murphy.
Well, at least Zambrano knows how to pander to Phils fans. If he can keep that peaceful facade constructed well enough over the lava of rage that courses through his veins, he could become a fan favorite.
That is, as long as he’s not walking every other hitter, which is an actual concern.
And let’s not kid ourselves, the Phillies make lots of personnel decisions, especially those with regard to injury and rehab starts, that are highly questionable. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Amaro and Co. would give Zambrano the start on Sunday after having made just one minor league start in which he threw 4 1/3 scoreless innings.
So get ready for Big Z, everybody. It almost feels inevitable, doesn’t it?