Zambrano vs. Unit
Randy Johnson may not be as dominant as he was the last time he visited Chicago, but it isn't affecting the excitement surrounding his start on Sunday against Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano.
Johnson looks to maintain his perfect record against the Cubs (21-15) when he makes his first appearance at Wrigley Field since 2001, as the Arizona Diamondbacks (23-14) close out this three-game series Sunday with a matchup of dynamic fastball pitchers.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Chicago -150 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 8 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 64% of bets for this game have been placed on Chicago -150 (View MLB Bet Percentages). Bet this game.
"They're fun to pitch in, they're fun to watch," Arizona ace Brandon Webb, told the Diamondbacks' official Web site. "You know it's going to be a battle, a close game with lots of tense situations, probably. That's what makes it fun."
Weather could dampen the proceedings. Sunday's forecast for Chicago on Sunday calls for a 90 percent chance of showers. Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin told the team's official Web site he'll be cautious due to Johnson's back problems if there's a delay.
Johnson (2-1, 5.06 ERA) is trying to regain his form after undergoing two surgeries on his back in as many years. He has won his last two decisions, including Tuesday against Philadelphia, when he pitched six innings, allowing four runs in Arizona's 6-5 win.
"It's probably the best I've felt all year as far as my back, my presence out there," he said.
Sunday is Johnson's first start at Wrigley Field since May 18, 2001, when he allowed one hit over five innings of a 4-0 win.
The five-time Cy Young Award winner is 12-0 with a 1.98 ERA in 13 career starts against the Cubs. He also has a 0.78 ERA over his last five starts against them, and is 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA in five starts at Wrigley.
Zambrano (5-1, 1.80) said he sees the similarities between himself and Johnson.
"He's got fire," the Cubs pitcher told the team's official Web site. "He's fired up every time he pitches. I think I'm a similar pitcher. I try to do my job to win the game."
Zambrano won his fourth straight decision Tuesday at Cincinnati, limiting the Reds to three hits and three walks in eight innings of Chicago's 3-0 win.
The right-hander is 1-2 with a 4.20 ERA in five career starts against the Diamondbacks.
He is looking to help the Cubs complete a three-game sweep. Chicago rallied from a 2-1 deficit by scoring six runs in the seventh inning, which included a two-run by Kosuke Fukudome. Alfonso Soriano went 4-for-5 with two runs scored for the Cubs, who are trying to win three straight for the first time since a six-game winning streak April 18-23.
"I feel very comfortable now at home plate. My hands stayed back a little more now and I wait for the ball," said Soriano, who has struggled all season but raised his batting average 32 points to .223 with the effort. "I'm glad I have a big day, more important that we won this game."
NL West-leading Arizona is trying to avoid its first three-game losing streak of the season. Bet this game.
Here are some top trends for today's game:
- His team's record is 2-3 (-0.4 units) in these starts. The UNDER is 3-2.
- CHICAGO CUBS is 2-0 (+2.0 Units) against ARIZONA this season
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