To learn about our efforts to improve the accessibility and usability of our website, please visit our Accessibility Information page. Skip to section navigation or Skip to main content
Below is an advertisement.
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...
Loading...

News

Skip to main content
Prior unlikely for Game 5
Below is an advertisement.
10/09/2003  2:04 AM ET 
Prior unlikely for Game 5
Manager Baker tabs Zambrano for Sunday start
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
Mark Prior threw 116 pitches in seven-plus innings while allowing two earned runs. (John Bazemore/AP)
CHICAGO -- As of now, the Chicago Cubs rotation for the next three games of the National League Championship Series against the Florida Marlins will be Kerry Wood, Matt Clement and Carlos Zambrano.

The best-of-seven series is tied at one win apiece after Wednesday's 12-3 Chicago win, a game in which Cubs manager Dusty Baker kept starter Mark Prior in the game into the top of the eighth with the Cubs seemingly in command at 12-2.

Before the game, Baker hinted he may skip Zambrano, who was scheduled to go in Game 5. But afterward, when asked to clarify his NLCS rotation, Baker said Zambrano will stay.

"Right now, I'm leaning toward Zambrano. That's his day," Baker said.

Why not pull Prior early Wednesday with the big lead? Baker said he discussed taking Prior out before he threw that many pitches, especially with the Cubs so far ahead.

    Mark Prior   /   P
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 220
Bats/Throws: R/R

More info:
Player page
Stats
Splits
Cubs site

"The way the ball was flying out of here today and [Tuesday], and the way they can handle that big inning, we didn't want to take any chance of them putting up a bunch of numbers and getting back in the ballgame," Baker said.

Baker likes to keep his starters deep in games -- in fact, Prior led the Majors with an average of 114.3 pitchers per start this season.

A look at Prior's previous four starts shows that in those games he threw 133, 133, 131 and 124 pitches, respectively. He was taken out of Wednesday's game after 116.

Part of the reason is the lack of depth in the bullpen, coupled with an 0-1 series deficit. And part of the reason is that pulling Prior and starting him on short rest in Game 5 is not Baker's style.

"The reason I haven't [used pitchers on short rest before] is because most of these guys aren't conditioned on short rest, and then you risk injury and you're risking all kinds of things," Baker said.

"So, if a starter is a fourth starter and strong, that's better than the first [starter] or second that's operating on low rest or low energy and you've got to go with him," Baker said.

With five games to go, Baker also doesn't want to blow out his pitchers early.

It does appear all the Cubs need are Wood and Prior. Chicago is 4-0 when the two pitch in the postseason.

"Well, you need more than those two to get it done," Baker said. "It wasn't just Wood and Prior who got us here, it was everybody who's gone out there."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.



More Coverage
Related Links
• Sammy Sosa blasts a 495-foot homer:  56K | 300K
• Alex Gonzalez hits two solo homers:  56K | 300K
• Aramis Ramirez launches a bomb:  56K | 300K
• Moises Alou gets the double play:  56K | 300K
Cubs Headlines
• More Cubs Headlines
MLB Headlines