Carlos Zambrano feels like a new man for not throwing a chair at Heath Bell

The Marlins took a 2-0 lead into the 9th inning on Wednesday night before closer Heath Bell allowed the Giants to tie the game up and send it into extra innings. That is unfortunate for the Marlins starter, who was in line for the win after throwing seven dominant innings. That starter was Carlos Zambrano. Uh oh.

No uh oh? Apparently Zambrano truly has changed. The Marlins held on to win the game in the 10th on a Giancarlo Stanton homerun. Zambrano did not get a win that he deserved, but he somehow managed to keep his composure.

“I feel like I’m a new Carlos Zambrano, because the old Carlos Zambrano would be throwing a chair and screaming at his teammate,” he said after the game according to the Miami Herald. “God has changed my life. I’m happy that we won today. That’s the most important thing.

“Heath failed and it’s time to pick him up. Everybody has to pick up each other. That’s what the game is all about. I talked to him and I told him to keep your head up, as soon as I see your head down, I’m going to come to you and we’re going to have problems. Things will turn around. He’s one of the best and he’s had a rough start, but I know he will settle back and be the same closer that he was in past years.”

Who is this imposture and what has he done with our favorite head case? Maybe Ozzie Guillen really can keep the tiger in his cage. This was a road game, otherwise we’d be wondering if the fish tanks in Miami truly can work to calm Carlos down. Whatever it is, it’s working.

H/T Hardball Talk
Photo credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Carlos Zambrano hopes fish tanks at Marlins Park will relieve his stress

Carlos Zambrano must have spent the offseason with Phil Jackson, because dude is sounding like a Zen master. Big Z, who was acquired by the Marlins in January, says his favorite part about the new Marlins Ballpark is the aquariums behind home plate because of their calming presence.

“I don’t know how many people have fish tanks in their house but psychologists say it can make you relax and keep you out of stress,” he said before Wednesday’s season opener.

“That’s a unique thing I see at this ballpark.”

Given the way Zambrano seems to love his fish, he probably wasn’t too happy when the Marlins tested the durability of the tanks by having Gaby Sanchez throw balls at them.

Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Ozzie Guillen on Carlos Zambrano: That tiger is not going to leave the cage

Ozzie Guillen does not seem overly concerned about being able to handle Carlos Zambrano. Big Z has a dynamic personality, but so does Ozzie. The pairing could either be a match made in heaven, or a recipe for disaster. Guillen is confident it will be the former. The Marlins manager explained the situation using animals and their keepers as a comparison on Tuesday.

“Maybe it’s not his fault,’’ Guillen said when asked about Zambrano’s past issues according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “Maybe it’s somebody’s fault. Maybe they let that tiger leave the cage and couldn’t bring him back. That tiger is not going to leave the cage. I guarantee you he is not leaving the cage. I guarantee you that. As soon as he tries to open the cage, I’ll be waiting for his ass.’’

If the Tiger and the zookeeper comparison doesn’t do it for you, how about the bull and the matador?

“Do I want him to get (ticked off)? Of course, I do,” Guillen added. “But take it easy, tiger. Like I say, in Venezuela, there’s the bull and the goddamned matador. He will be dead in two seconds because I know how to kill the bull at the right time.’’

Ozzie insists he does not foresee any issues, and made it clear that Zambrano was his friend off the field but is now his player as long as he’s wearing the Marlins uniform. He also said people have a pool in Venezuela revolving around when Big Z and Guillen will have their first fight. Zambrano has been known to abandon his team at horrible times, but for some reason I have a gut feeling Matt Garza may have a point about Zambrano pitching for the Marlins. It just might be a crazy enough idea to make sense.

Matt Garza says Carlos Zambrano could be a Cy Young contender

Carlos Zambrano has always had the stuff needed to make him one of the best pitchers in the National League. The problem lies between Big Z’s ears. He has won 18 games once and 16 twice in his career. In 2004, Zambrano started 31 games and finished the season with a 2.75 ERA. He started at least 30 games each season from 2003-2008. You get the point. Big Z has been an effective pitcher before and is only 30 years old. He should still be in his prime, and now that he has been traded to the Marlins Matt Garza is predicted huge things from Zambrano.

“I’d love to get compared with Zambrano on the field, the way his numbers were, the way he threw the ball,” Garza said according to CSNChicago.com. “He’s one hell of a pitcher. But that guy – I tell you what – he’s going to have one hell of a year. I kid you not – he’s going to go out there and go down to Miami and surprise a lot of people. His stuff is still electric. It still bottoms out.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the Cy Young race (this) year. I kid you not. He’s got (good enough) stuff and I think just playing with Ozzie, getting his own comfort zone, he’s going to have one hell of a season. I wish nothing but the best for that guy.”

Cy Young race may be a little far fetched, but Ozzie Guillen does have a way of getting the most out of certain players. Zambrano claimed he was committed to the Cubs and training hard before he was dealt, so maybe that alleged work ethic will carry over to Miami.

The problem is as soon as things start to go poorly, Big Z flies off the reservation. We saw it last season when he left the ballpark and claimed to be retiring. Over the past several seasons, Zambrano has done nothing to make us believe he is capable of keeping his emotions in check.

Carlos Zambrano Is Adopting a Guatemalan Child

Marlins pitcher and notorious hot head Carlos Zambrano may change the way you think about him. Big Z apparently is in Guatemala to finalize the adoption of a young boy. This is not a joke.

Zambrano is apparently quite the humanitarian and he actually traveled to Guatemala a few years ago with his church group to build houses for underprivileged families. He and his wife toured an orphanage called Esperanza de Vida — Hope of Life — where they met and connected with a young boy named Kenneth. The family has stayed in contact with the young boy ever since, and Big Z has been trying to adopt him.

The Zambranos reportedly had to wait for the legal system to officially declare Kenneth abandoned before adopting him, and that’s what they’re doing right now.

Now I know what you’re thinking: Zambrano throws fits like a two-year-old himself, how’s he supposed to care for a child? I’m right there with you on that. But apparently Zambrano, who has three daughters, is a pretty good guy away from the field. We’ve seen him play in a slow pitch softball game like a regular guy, and now he’s adopting a child.

The surprising thing here is how strict the standards typically are for child adoption. You would figure anyone who has a predilection for beating up Gatorade coolers and fighting teammates would be automatically disqualified, but that’s not the case. Maybe those items were left out of his questionnaire.

Carlos Zambrano is Committed to the Cubs and Claims to Be Training Hard

One of Theo Epstein’s tallest tasks as general manager of the Cubs will be to figure out what to do with Carlos Zambrano. When he has his wits about him and approaches the came with a level head, Big Z can be one of the best pitchers in the game. The problem is that rarely happens.  Despite Zambrano insisting he was cured of his anger management issues, he was the same old Carlos on multiple occasions last year.  However, he insists he is committed to the Cubs heading into 2012 and has been training Rocky Balboa style.

“I’m preparing like when I was a rookie, climbing mountains, running on the beach, and exercising hard so that I can arrive at Spring Training in optimal shape,” Zambrano said according to a translation at MLBTradeRumors.com. “I want to stay in Chicago for the two seasons I still have with the team. I’m not a coward who would take the back door out of the majors.”

That sounds like a different guy from the one who literally walked out on his teammates last year and contemplated retirement. As frightening as it may seem, Chicago could really use Zambrano if they want to make a run.  His stuff can be unhittable at times.  The problem is his lack of focus.  Will Dale Sveum — a guy who has never had experience managing at the major league level — be able to get anything from a nut like Zambrano?  That, among a long list of other potential issues, will be something to monitor in Chicago next season.

Will Carlos Zambrano Really Retire?

Is there a worse teammate in baseball than Carlos Zambrano? Some people are just incapable of controlling their emotions, and Zambrano is one of the best living examples of that in sports.  This past off-season, Carlos said he was cured of his anger management issues.  Then he went and broke a bat over his knee because he wasn’t happy with a plate appearance.  Now, Zambrano claims he is retiring.

Big Z did not have his best stuff on Friday night.  As a result, he allowed five home runs to the Braves in a 10-4 loss.  Zambrano’s night ended with an ejection after it appeared he was trying to hit Chipper Jones with two consecutive pitches.  To those watching, it looked as if he wanted to be ejected after giving up back-to-back homers to Freddie Freeman and Dan Uggla.

Zambrano stared Jones down on his way out and the Atlanta bench emptied, but the Cubs dugout stayed put.  Rather than taking his frustrations out on the water cooler, Carlos cleaned out his locker completely and left the ballpark.  Rumor has it he has decided to retire — a couple of seasons earlier than he had planned.

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