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08/02/06 6:56 PM ET
Zambrano wins NL Pitcher of the Month
Cubs ace wins all six July starts, adds two homers
By Zachary Levine / MLB.com
Carlos Zambrano's two home runs and .267 batting average didn't quite qualify him for an offensive Player of the Month award, so he'll have to settle for being named National League Pitcher of the Month for July. Zambrano was a perfect 6-0 with a 4.15 ERA in his six July starts, giving him a 12-3 overall record. Zambrano is tied for the most wins in the National League and possesses the league's top winning percentage. "He's having quite a run here," manager Dusty Baker said. "Considering he didn't win a game in April, that's pretty good." The big right-hander has now won nine consecutive decisions and 12 of his last 13. He struck out 40 batters in his six starts last month, including 10 in his best outing against the Astros on July 20. His 152 strikeouts lead the National League, as does his .199 batting average against. In addition, he's helped himself in a couple of those six wins, adding his third and fourth home runs of the season. He's now established himself as the league leader in not only home runs by a pitcher, but also, runs, RBIs and total bases. Still, he makes a living on the mound and has been making quite a name for himself even as the Cubs struggle through a rough season. At this rate, there could be some hardware waiting for Zambrano at season's end. "I think it's too soon to think about [the Cy Young Award]," Zambrano said. "I just want to keep pitching for my team and keep doing the best possible for this team to get into the pennant race." Other pitchers receiving votes were Arizona's Brandon Webb, who went 4-1 with a 2.45 ERA and 35 strikeouts; Atlanta's John Smoltz, who went 4-0 with a 3.00 ERA and 39 strikeouts; St. Louis' Chris Carpenter, who went 4-1 with a 3.12 ERA and 28 strikeouts; Houston's Roger Clemens, who went 2-2 with a 2.00 ERA and 33 strikeouts; Colorado's Jeff Francis, who went 3-2 with a 1.85 ERA and 22 strikeouts; Florida's Scott Olsen, who went 3-0 with a 2.48 ERA and 33 strikeouts; and New York's Billy Wagner, who went 0-0 with a 1.46 ERA and notched seven saves.
Zachary Levine is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.