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Cubs Tue Jun 07 2011

Zambrano Outburst is Least of Cubs' Problems

zambrano trib.jpg

Carlos Zambrano / Tribune file photo

The Cubs started off their road trip on a sour note by being swept by the St. Louis Cardinals this weekend. This prompted Carlos Zambrano to go off on his teammates Sunday after Carlos Marmol blew the save en route to a second straight extra-inning loss.

"We should know better than this. We play like a Triple-A team," Zambrano told reporters in the clubhouse. "This is embarrassing. Embarrassing for the team and the owners. Embarrassing for the fans. Embarrassed -- that's the word for this team."

Zambrano specifically blamed Marmol for throwing Ryan Theriot a fastball slider the former Cub turned into a game-tying double: "We should know that Ryan Theriot is not a good fastball hitter."

Some in the Chicago media, particularly the Tribune's David Haugh, ESPN's Gene Wojciechowski and ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine believe action needs to be taken against Z for his outburst.

But I think they couldn't be more wrong.

Even as the team and player made up publicly a day later, Zambrano's comments Sunday were what most Cubs fans were thinking. Trading him or suspending him isn't going to instantly make this 23-35 team any better; in fact it might have the opposite effect and make this club worse.

He has been the most consistent starter this season and to his credit he has had a lot of bad defense behind him, but for the most part has kept his cool.

I understand where Z was coming from, because in his last outing the Cubs were leading 3-1 in the ninth when Marmol surrendered six runs, leading to a 7-3 loss.

Sunday, same situation. Zambrano was in line for the win and Marmol coughed it up. He should be 7-2 instead of 5-2.

Things like this outburst or breaking a bat over his knee are not the reason this team is 11.5 games back, owners of a losing streak that stretched to seven games with Monday's 8-2 loss in Cincinnati. Bad defense and an anemic offense are the main culprits.

There's no way around it; this team is bad. Z speaking his mind -- and more importantly the truth -- should not warrant any kind of discipline.

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