Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Cubs Pull One Out

It wasn't pretty, but the Cubs got the job done today holding on for an 8-7 win against the San Diego Padres.

Most of the Cubs regulars stayed back in Mesa to work with hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo instead of making the trip to Peoria. While the every day guys were getting their work in, we got the chance to see some guys who are fighting for roster spots compete.

Carlos Silva got his second Cactus League start. Coming off an awful first outing, Silva was able to bounce back with 3 scoreless innings. He really needed this strong outing today to stay in the race for the rotation. He did allow 4 hits and a walk, but managed to work around them.

The Cubs jumped right on Jon Garland early, sending him to the showers after just 1.2 innings. They chased him by scoring 2 in the first and twice more in the second. In the middle innings, the Cubs continued to add on and they felt comfortable with an 8-0 lead at the 7th inning stretch.

Then the defense fell apart. The Cubs made 4 errors on the day, and the sloppiness caused them to surrender 7 unearned runs in the final 3 innings. Jeff Stevens allowed 3 of those runs in just 0.2 innings. Stevens has a shot at making the roster, but so far has not pitched well this spring. Esmalin Caridad got rocked in the 9th for 3 runs on 4 hits. Caridad is going to be the Cubs primary right handed set-up man this season unless Hendry is able to add a piece to the bullpen.

Carlos Marmol's stuff looked sharp today as he worked a perfect 4th. David Patton and Vince Perkins both finally got into game action making their spring debuts. Patton, who made the club because of his microscopic ERA last spring, has continued his Cactus League success, while Perkins allowed 1 run. Lefty J.R. Mathes put a zero on the board in the 6th.

Chad Tracy, Josh Vitters, Bobby Scales, and Mike Fontenot all commited fielding errors today, leading to the 7 unearned runs. Fontenot did have a walk, a hit, and an RBI at the plate to help makeup for his miscue. Starlin Castro continued to live up to the hype today by going 2-3 with a solo homer, 3 runs scored, 2 RBIs, and a base on balls. Castro is hitting .571 so far in Cactus League action.

Brian LaHair and Tyler Colvin both started the game in the outfield. They had two hits a piece. Sam Fuld did not have a good day going 1-4 with 3 Ks. Catcher Robinson Chirinos hit a two run homer in the 6th inning. Josh Vitters reached base both times he came to the plate with a single and walk.

Micah Hoffpaur is another guy who has not helped his cause. He is fighting for one of the final bench spots, and is hitting just .083. He was 0-2 today.

Earlier this week, Lou used the following lineup and hinted that it very well could be the one we see on Opening Day:

Theriot, SS
Kosuke, RF
Lee, 1B
Ramirez, 3B
Byrd, CF
Soriano, LF
Fontenot, 2B
Soto, C

Piniella did mention that Jeff Baker could still earn a starting job, but Jeff is hitting .000 in Cactus League play.

Time For Vegas
Lou Piniella and part of the team will stay behind to play two games in Arizona, but Alan Trammell will lead half of the squad to Las Vegas to play the White Sox twice this weekend. Tomorrow the Arizona split squad Cubs take on the Brewers at 2:05 CT. That game is not on Chicago TV or radio, but you can hear it if you have's gameday audio package. The Vegas part of the team will take center stage in the nightcap, which starts at 9:00 CT on CSN Chicago. Jeff Samardzija will pitch against the Brewers tomorrow afternoon while Tom Gorzelanny faces the White Sox tomorrow night. The Cubs also have a split team on Saturday. Ryan Dempster will start in Vegas and Sean Marshall will get the nod against the Reds in Arizona. The Cubs will need 5 starting pitchers in the month of April, so the outings for Gorzo, Marshall, and Shark this weekend are very important as they battle for rotation spots.

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

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