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Carlos Zambrano has 21 walks in 21 innings this spring

Apr 3, 2012, 11:19 AM EDT

Ozzie Guillen, Carlos Zambrano AP

Lost in any optimism about manager Ozzie Guillen being able to keep Carlos Zambrano‘s freakouts to a minimum with the Marlins this season is that the right-hander simply doesn’t throw as hard as he used to and still can’t consistently get the ball over the plate with the diminished raw stuff.

Zambrano walked seven batters yesterday, giving him 21 total walks in 21.2 innings this spring, and his ERA stands at 6.23.

Now, in fairness spring training numbers are somewhere between worthless and marginally useful, but given how Zambrano’s performance has declined in recent years whatever miracles Guillen can work on him as a person can only pay off so much if he’s throwing in the high-90s and walking everyone.

Zambrano has averaged 4.1 walks per nine innings for his career, but made up for that terrible control by typically striking out more than 8.0 per nine innings and limiting homers. However, last season his strikeouts fell to a career-low 6.2 per nine innings, his homers allowed rose to a career-high 1.2 per nine innings, and his average fastball clocked in at 90.2 miles per hour. In other words, Zambrano’s personality and behavior are only part of the problem at this point.

  1. Old Gator - Apr 3, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    Whatever Lamebraino’s hardwired or acquired psychological shortcomings might be – let’s let the nature versus nurture analysts line up with their cake and pie advocates for all I care – they’ve been exacerbated by his declining performance and frustration thereat over the last season or so. Since I don’t share Slobbering Ozzie’s affection for the big clown, all that really concerns me is his performance per se and the potential for distraction that his postal proclivities might have on the team’s performance as a whole. With such high-strung teammates as the Hanster, Tweeter and Slobbering Ozzie himself looming in the distance, one has to worry about this ill-advised import being the first in a line of dominoes as the season unfolds.

    After the terrific spring Wade LeBlanc had, I failed to see the point of the Feesh sending him to Nawlins instead of a mediocre-to-struggling Krazy Karlos except perhaps at the insistence of their payaso of a manager, looking to stabilize the wobbling gyro of his hermano‘s emotional guidance system, such as it is, in preference to fielding the 25 best ballplayers at his disposal.

    I’d love to see Lamebraino have a Cy Young caliber season but when you’ve got a guy who looks like he has as much upside as LeBlanc, why not put him on the field for the first few weeks and see if the loosest cannon in the Feesh’s armory can work out his bugs down on the farm instead? When you have options like that, why turn games that count into test runs?

    • hasbeen5 - Apr 3, 2012 at 11:41 AM

      I agree about the prospect vs. the not-as-good-as-he-used-to-be-so-his-crazy-isn’t-worth-it-any-more veteran.

      What I’ve never understood though, is when people change Cs to Ks. Is it for emphasis somehow? Is it just funnier to misspell things?

      • Old Gator - Apr 3, 2012 at 12:15 PM

        The first time for funny, thereafter for emphasis. In the case of C>K, it’s a reflex from my radical 60s youth when we spelled America as “Amerika” to distinguish the brutal, paternalistic, exceptionalistic, faux-messianic, profiteering colonialistic mentality that led us into the Vietnam debacle from the “good” America of our childhood mythologies. Fortunately, we don’t use that spelling much anymore because we learned our lesson so well in 1975 that we haven’t made the same stupid mistakes since then.

      • hasbeen5 - Apr 3, 2012 at 12:18 PM

        Gotcha. All that was a little before my time.

      • Old Gator - Apr 3, 2012 at 12:30 PM

        You can relive it, though. First, go wait on the corner until you meet someone selling ounces of a fine resinous grade of…uh…catnip. Mix it into a bowl of Betty Crocker brownie batter and follow the directions on the package. Eat three or four squares. Wait a half hour, meanwhile laying out a plate of Drake’s Ring Dings, Twinkies and Devil Dogs. Pour yourself a generous glass of cold Ripple to wash them down. Put the Jefferson Airplane album Volunteers on your turntable (yeah, you need to do this in vinyl) and turn it way the hell up. Done correctly, this works better than a chronosynclastic infundibulum and will deposit you in Grant Park, Chicago, on August 23, 1968.

      • hasbeen5 - Apr 3, 2012 at 12:41 PM

        Chicago? I’ll pass.

      • Old Gator - Apr 3, 2012 at 12:47 PM

        You can just enjoy the music and the riots. You don’t have to go to a Cubs game – even though they were decidedly better that summer.

    • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Apr 3, 2012 at 3:00 PM

      I understand why you don’t like the guy, but you gotta come up with something a little more clever and catchy than Lamebraino. A figure so polarizing deserves a better nickname, disparaging or otherwise.

      • Old Gator - Apr 3, 2012 at 4:40 PM

        Sorry. This is a family site and I was thinking about the kids.

  2. brewcrewfan54 - Apr 3, 2012 at 11:33 AM

    That’s a walk per inning average for those keeping score at home.

    • Old Gator - Apr 3, 2012 at 12:20 PM

      I would, but midway through a Lamebraino start it’s traditional to snap your pencil in half with your teeth, tear your scorecard into shreds and throw your half-full bottle of Heinekin through the screen of your TV set. It just got to be too expensive a habit to keep up.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Apr 3, 2012 at 12:52 PM

        Yeah that sounds about right. It is fun though waiting for big Z to have his first meltdown of the season. Ya never know when its gonna happen but you know it is going to happen.

  3. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Apr 3, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    I’m sorry, but I truly don’t miss you in Chicago, Z.

    • Old Gator - Apr 3, 2012 at 12:21 PM

      That’s funny. When I’m in Chicago, I don’t miss him either. Um…would you pass the crushed red pepper over here for my stuffed spinach special, please?

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Apr 3, 2012 at 12:25 PM

        Go to Pequod’s pizza next time you’re ehre and do that. Definite pizza coma.

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Apr 3, 2012 at 12:26 PM

        Here.*

        EDIT FUNCTION!

      • Old Gator - Apr 3, 2012 at 12:34 PM

        2207 North Clybourn. Got it. Put it on my list of must-do’s for my next visit.

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Apr 3, 2012 at 3:26 PM

        You won’t regret it. Ridiculously good deep dish pizza.

      • cur68 - Apr 4, 2012 at 12:44 AM

        I’m on a diet, fellas. It involves giving up pizza.. Cut this deep dish pizza discourse out.

  4. rickditka - Apr 3, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    it’s tough to not root for this guy to fail. I’m sorry, I meant continue to fail.

  5. ezthinking - Apr 3, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    If he struggles in 3 starts, the Marlins will DFA and he’ll refuse. Bye-bye. Out of baseball by May 1.

    • Old Gator - Apr 3, 2012 at 12:18 PM

      Don’t underestimate the degree to which Scrooge McLoria has been mystificated by Slobbering Ozzie’s…eh…charisma. If La Boca Grande begs for a stay of execution, he’ll probably get it.

  6. turnmymicup - Apr 3, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    Its Spring ball relax. If anyone can help him its Ozzy. Go Marlins!

    • Old Gator - Apr 3, 2012 at 11:59 PM

      Was it “spring ball” for most of last season too? Because his stats haven’t changed any since then.

  7. exhibits5 - Apr 4, 2012 at 3:33 AM

    the marlins. will release him by may 31 he’s washed UP.

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