9/3 Lou & Ozzie & Big Z

Lou Piniella and Ozzie Guillen did a public service announcement prior to Thursday’s game for Special Olympics. Did they have a chance to commiserate about their respective seasons?

“We didn’t talk much about that,” Piniella said. “The focus this morning was on the kids and rightfully so.”

* Carlos Zambrano will kick off the Cubs’ six-game road trip Friday in New York.

“He needs to step it up,” Piniella said of Zambrano. “He hasn’t won a game since the All-Star break.”

Actually, it’s been since July 22. It just seems longer. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild did address Zambrano’s mechanical problems from his last start, when they felt he was opening up and showing his pitches to hitters too soon. The Cubs need Zambrano to step it up.

“We need everbody,” Piniella said. “We don’t have much margin for error.”

— Carrie Muskat

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