Head Games…

…or head cases? After the Cubs beat the Brewers 6-3 Saturday in Milwaukee, stars of both teams implied there was a mental aspect to the game: Carlos Zambrano, SP, Chicago Cubs (www.chicagotribune.com): "The difference is it's a different ballclub," Zambrano said. "Cincinnati has better hitters than Milwaukee. I'm not saying the Milwaukee Brewers are nothing, but the offense of the Cincinnati Reds is better, and [you can't make] any mistakes in Cincinnati. "They have Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey and all those guys. When you make a mistake, you will pay for it. Sometimes when you make a mistake here, sometimes they miss it. That's good." Bill Hall, CF, Milwaukee Brewers (www.jsonline.com): "He's a guy you like to jump on early and get him frustrated," Hall said of Zambrano. "Unfortunately, we didn't have a big inning and get him rattled." Hmmm…Zambrano thinks the Brewers don’t capitalize on his mistakes, and Hall thinks Zambrano will make mistakes if the Brewers can jump on him early. My take: I can’t definitively state one way or the other how many “bad” pitches Zambrano threw that the Brewers didn’t pounce on…Zambrano obviously feels that he threw some on Saturday, and that the Brewers didn’t take advantage of them as much as the Reds did…on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight, they were treating Zambrano’s comments as a huge slam on the Brewers, which it sort of was. But it was an admission by Zambrano that he’s not that great. Hall’s comments are right on the money–Zambrano almost always seems to lose it if he’s getting hit…or if opponents are taking advantage of mistakes. The bottom line is that Zambrano makes bad pitches, probably fewer than most, and when opponents pounce on them, he gets flustered; when they don’t, he feels lucky and confident.

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