Cubs notebook: Piniella stands his ground on the rotation

Jeff Vorva

Didn’t care for Carlos Zambrano pitching on three days’ rest?

Didn’t care for Ted Lilly pitching on three days’ rest?

Don’t care for the fact that Zambrano is pitching on Sept. 29 instead of Sept. 28, meaning he would pitch in the National League Division Series opener on Oct. 3 on three days’ rest if the Cubs get in?

Manager Lou Piniella doesn’t care.

He is not listening to the second-guessers when it comes to how he lines up his rotation.

Jason Marquis, Rich Hill and Zambrano will pitch Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Wrigley Field against Pittsburgh. After Monday’s off day, Lilly, Marquis and a pitcher to be determined (likely Steve Trachsel or Sean Marshall) are penciled in for the road series against the Florida Marlins on Tuesday through Thursday.

The final weekend of the regular season at Cincinnati will feature Hill, Zambrano and Lilly. If the Cubs are still tied with Milwaukee for the National League Central lead, Marquis will pitch in the one-game playoff for the right to go to the NLDS.

Piniella knows he is opening himself up to plenty of scrutiny, but he’s standing by his plan.

“I understand that everyone has an opinion,” Piniella said. “But my opinion is that it’s clear set. We’re doing the right thing. I know there are people concerned about us going with a (four-man) rotation. But if they looked at the entire schedule and a possible playoff (game), they’ll see why they did it.”

Ryno mulling future

Ryne Sandberg, who turned 48 on Tuesday, completed his first year as the manager at Class A Peoria. It’s not known yet if the Hall of Famer wants to continue managing.

“We’ll talk about that after the season,” Cubs farm director Oneri Fleita said. “If he wants to stay in the game, we want to make sure he’s still in the organization. He had such a fun time. I think he had a really good experience. He rode all the buses and stayed at the hotels with the guys. I’m sure he had a couple of dinners at McDonald’s.”

Soto, Hart honored

Catcher Geovany Soto was named the organization’s Minor League Player of the Year and right-hander Kevin Hart was named the Pitcher of the Year. Both 24-year-olds are on the parent squad and were honored before Wednesday night’s game.

Soto, who was the 2007 Pacific Coast League Player of the Year, hit .353 for Triple-A Iowa with 31 doubles, 26 homers and 109 RBI in 110 games.

Hart was 12-6 with a 3.99 ERA in starts with Double-A Tennessee and Iowa. He had a red-hot stretch toward the end of the season in which he went 10-1 with a 2.80 ERA in 17 appearances.

Oh, no, not ‘Gorz’ again

Marist graduate and Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Tom Gorzelanny faces Zambrano on Sunday — the final regular-season game of the year at Wrigley Field.

The left-hander is 2-1 with an 0.81 ERA in three career starts and beat Zambrano, 6-0, in his first start against the Cubs on Aug. 4, 2006.

Gorzelanny is 14-8 with a 3.55 ERA this year.

Ratings game

Comcast SportsNet Chicago drew heavy-duty numbers for the Cubs and Reds on Monday and Tuesday.

According to Nielsen Media Research, Monday's game drew a 6.8 household rating with a 9.6 peak. On Tuesday, the station drew a 7.7 with a 10.1 peak. The combined telecasts attracted more than 500,000 households. Overall, Comcast has a 4.2 average for Cubs games. Last year’s last-place Cubs team averaged a 2.9.

Short hops       

Zambrano’s record is 11-4 with a 3.26 ERA on the road and 5-9 with a 5.27 ERA at Wrigley Field. Heading into this season, he was 33-19 with a 3.29 ERA on the road and 31-23 with a 3.29 ERA at Wrigley Field. ... After Tuesday’s game, Jacque Jones led the club with 20 plate appearances with the bases loaded this year. He was hitting .368 with 13 RBI with the bases full.

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