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Carlos Zambrano: Over-Shadowed by Greatness

By: Kevin Bourassa

With Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, Greg Maddux and Matt Clement on his staff, Carlos Zambrano has been over-shadowed by other household name pitchers. After todays (May 13th) start, in which Zambrano pitched 8 innings giving up 0 ER and striking out 11 hitters, Carlos Zambrano is now 4-1. On May 7th, Zambrano pitched a 2-hitter against the Colorado Rockies and threw just 97 pitches in the shutout. In Zambrano's last 3 starts (24 IP) he hasn't given up an earned run. In 2 of his 3 starts during May, Zambrano has striken out more than 10 batters. Zambrano hasn't always been this good however.

Signed as a non-drafted free-agent by the Chicago Cubs in 1997, Zambrano was the first player born in the 1980's to play a game for Chicago.

In his rookie season he was 1-2 with a 15.26 ERA which is not something to call home about. He then improved on his rookie season with a 3.66 ERA after joining the Cubs in July of 2002. Despite the good ERA, Zambrano only had a 4-8 record. Finally, last season, Zambrano broke out. He posted a 13-11 record with a 3.11 ERA. Zambrano solidified his part in the Cubs staff, and began his quest for stardome.

The Venezuela native has come a long way from being an un-drafted free agent in 1997, and is now a key part of one of the best staffs in baseball. Zambrano's 1.82 ERA is 2nd in the league right now, behind future hall-of-famer Roger Clemens. He has become one of the NL's more dominant strikeout pitchers, and his 46 strikeouts rank 8th in the NL. Zambrano is one of only 6 NL pitchers to have a shutout so far in the season.

Even with these great stats, and even though he has probably been the most impressive starter for the Cubs this season, Zambrano still isn't getting the attention he deserves. If Carlos Zambrano can keep up this amazing start to the season, he will have a great chance to make the all-star team. Soon, fans from all over will know of Carlos Zambrano, and they will mention his name right along-side fellow pitchers like Kerry Wood, Mark Prior and Greg Maddux.

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