Saturday, March 13, 2010

4 Games in 2 Days for the Cubbies

It's a busy weekend for the Chicago Cubs with a total of 5 games, one each day that is on TV. Yesterday the Cubs took on the Brewers in Maryvale while the other half of the team played in Las Vegas against the White Sox. Today, the Cubs have two more game, which we'll preview later in the post.

Brewers 12, Cubs 3
Yesterday it was almost like a day-night double-header since the first game, which started at 2:00 CT, was available for listening on and the second game, starting at 9, was on TV. It was a great day of baseball to see a lot of guys in the organization. In game 1, Jeff Samardzija took the hill against Milwaukee in Maryvale. He struggled through 2 innings, giving up 2 longs balls and a total of 4 ER on 5 hits and a walk. One of the homers the Shark allowed was to former Cub Jim Edmonds, who's with the Brewers on a NRI.

Marcos Mateo's wildness cost the Cubs in the 5th when he gave up 5 ER, 5 BB, and 2 H. Mateo, who's the brother of former Cub Juan Mateo, still has an outside chance of making the team as a reliever, but he'll have to bear down the rest of the way. Rafael Dolis got his first appearance of the spring and surrendered 2 ER in 1.1 IP.

Most of the Cubs also had bad days at the plate. Starlin Castro went 0-3, Alfonso Soriano 0-1, Bobby Scales 0-2, and Koyie Hill 1-2. The most concerning story of the day was that Derrek Lee was scratched from Lou Piniella's lineup just before the start of the game. Lee has a bruise on his foot after fouling a ball off it Thursday. He could be back in the lineup today. Brian LaHair, who took Lee's place, went 0-4.

There were some positives in the Cubs' blowout loss at the hands of their division rivals. Tyler Colvin went 2-3, which actually lowered his beastly average to .556. Colvin had a triple against Doug Davis. Aramis Ramirez ripped an RBI double. James Aducci also had a 2-bagger, one of two hits for the young outfielder on the day. John Grabow allowed 2 hits in his inning and an error lead to an unearned run. Grabow didn't look bad and was able to get out of it with minimal damage. James Russell, who's hoping to catch the eye of Lou and his staff, still has an ERA of 0.00 after working around 2 hits and a walk today in 1.2 innings.

Because of the Split Squads, there were a number of guys from the minor league camp that got the chance to dress for the major league games. Jeremy Papelbon faced 2 men, one singled but the other was retired. Second baseman Logan Watkins singled in his only AB. Blake Lalli, Junior Lake, Nelson Perez, Smaily Borgues (who?), and Brandon Guyer all also got into the game. All of them recorded outs in their only ABs.

Cubs 6, White Sox 5
Last night the rest of the Cubs team took the field against the White Sox in Las Vegas at Cashman Field, which is the home of the Pacific Coast League's LV 51s. Tom Gorzelanny, another guy competing for a spot in the rotation, took the mound. Despite one bad inning, Gorzo out-pitched Samardzija by far yesterday. He pitched 3 innings and did not allow a hit, but 3 second inning walks and a wild pitch accounted for a White Sox run against him. Allan Trammell (acting manager) and Lester Strode (acting pitching coach) couldn't have been happy watching 3 straight walks and a wild one, but overall Tom pitched well. Ryan Theriot reached base 3 times out of the leadoff spot with a single and pair of walks. Kosuke was 0-2 but walked twice. Kevin Millar, who was the cleanup hitter, also went 0-2 with 2 walks. He was gunned downed trying to score on a tag play to end the first inning. The Cubs did score 2 runs in the frame before it was ended on the play at the plate.

Geovany Soto and Mike Fontenot also had big games. Fontenot went 3-4 with 2 RBIs, while Geo was 2-3 with a walk. Thomas Diamond allowed only 1 baserunner in his two scoreless innings of work to keep his ERA at 0.00. Sam Fuld has not hit well in Spring Training yet. He dropped a couple of almost-nice plays in foul territory to go along with his 0-5 day at the plate. Fuld's average dipped to .143. Jeff Baker got his first hit of the Cactus League, going 1-4 with an RBI. Xavier Nady (0-3) struck out twice.

After Diamond, the ball was turned over to some minor league hurlers. The Cubs had a 4-0 lead after 5, but that evaporate quickly when Jay Jackson gave up 3 ER in 0.2 IP. Mitch Atkins would come in to get out of that inning, but not before he allowed a base hit that brought in 2 of the runs that were charged to Jackson. The Cubs' bats went back to work in the top of the 7th, scoring 3 more runs. Hung-Wen Chen put a zero on the board in inning number 7. Brian Schlitter, a righty whom the Cubs acquired in the Scott Eyre deal several years back, allowed a run in the 8th to make it 6-5. Blake Parker walked 2 in the 9th to make it interesting, but he was able to get out of it to notch the save.

The only extra base hit for the Cubs was a triple by Josh Vitters, part of the 7th inning rally, that plated 2. DJ LeMahieu, the second round pick from '09, singled in his only trip to the plate.

Today's Games
Today, the Cubs have another split squad. In Las Vegas, they will look for the 2 game sweep of the White Sox at 3:05 CT. Ryan Dempster will pitch against Lucas Harrell. Sean Marshall will make his first start of the spring when the Cubs face the Reds, who are the newest members of the Cactus League, in Mesa. Marshall has pitched better than any of the other 3 rotation options at this point, so we'll see if he can keep it up. Today's game in Mesa is at 2:05 CT, but after the time change here tonight all the rest of the Spring Training games will start at 3:05 central. The game in Vegas will be on CSN with White Sox announcers, while the game against the Reds is available on's Gameday Audio package.

That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted!

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