Thursday, March 4, 2010

Cubs Win! Cubs Win!

The Cubs are in the win column to start the 2010 exhibition season! Just the fact that they Boys in Blue were in action on WGN Radio made today a great day, but a 9-3 win against the Oakland A's made today even sweeter.

Although there's still snow on the ground here, the sound of Pat and Ron makes it feel like summer. Spring is officially on the way... let's check out some of the game highlights:

Randy Wells
After a great rookie season, Wells is expected to perform at a high level this year. Today, Randy was handed the ball to kick off the Cactus League schedule. Randy had great stuff today, going 2 shutout innings. He did not allow any men to reach base and sent two down on strikes. Two inning outings are typical of early spring games because manager want the avoid injury risk by building their pitchers' stamina up start by start. By the end of the spring, each guy will be going 5-6 innings.

Marlon Byrd
After signing as a free agent last winter, Marlon swooped into his first game in Cubbie Blue today. He wasted no time in making Cub fans happy by knocking a solo homer to lead off the fourth for his second hit of the game. Byrd went 2-2 with a pair of runs scored before departing.

Sean Marshall
Let the competition for the spots in the back end of the rotation begin! Sean got off to a great start today by throwing 2 scoreless frames in relief of Wells. Marshall did not allow a hit and walked one. Carlos Silva will start against the White Sox on Saturday, with Gorzelanny and Samardzija pitching in Sunday's split squad.

Other Pitchers
After Marshall and Wells each went two innings, three younger guys got a chance to take the hill against the A's. Mike Parisi, who was the Cubs' Rule V Draft pick in June, went two innings. He pitched pretty well but made one mistake, which resulted in an Adam Rosales solo homer. Parisi allowed just the one run on one hit and one walk. Lefty J.R. Mathes pitched the 7th and 8th, surrendering 2 runs on 2 hits and a walk. Esmalin Caridad worked a one, two, three 9th.

The Star
Top prospect Starlin Castro has received tons of sudden praise and attention from the media this offseason. We got our first look at him in a big league setting today. He showed impressive speed as he was able to leg out a triple, which was his only hit of the day (1-3).

Power Surge
After a 2009 season where runs were hard to come by, the Cubs brought the bats today. Perhaps new hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo has already made in impact on this club. As a team, they pounded out 9 runs on 16 hits, 5 of them home runs. In addition to Byrd; Derrek Lee, Sam Fuld, Tyler Colvin, and Brad Snyder all went deep. Lee got the scoring started with his first inning blast. Former first round draft pick Tyler Colvin homered in the 6th to cap off a 3 for 3 day. Colvin bulked up over the offseason, putting on 25 pounds of muscle. Snyder and Fuld both hit long balls in the 7th inning. Fuld's two run shot was the only multi-run bomb of the day. Brad Snyder is a long time minor leaguer who played good in Mexico over the winter. He hit a LONG ball according to the call of Pat Hughes. Little Sammy Fuld getting into one very well could have been the biggest surprise of the day.

Other Hitters
Kosuke batted second and put together a 2-3 day behind Ryan Theriot, who was 0-2. Alfonso Soriano was the only regular who did not start the game. Aramis Ramirez went 0-2, D-Lee was 2-3, Geo drove in a run, and Mike Fontenot hit a sac fly and walked. Today we got brief looks at a few guys competing for spots on the bench. Micah Hoffpauir played first base after Lee's departure and was retired in his only plate appearance. Non roster invitee Chad Tracy went 1-2 with a run scored. Brian LaHair, Bobby Scales and Kevin Millar each got pinch hit at bats. Millar singled while LaHair ground into a double play and Scales struck out. Outfielders Fuld and Snyder were impressive coming off the Cub bench. Andres Blanco went 1-2 when he took over at second base for Mike Fontenot. Farm guys James Adduci (OF) and Robinson Chirinos (C)both went hitless.

Former Cubs
Utility man Jake Fox was sent to Oakland this winter in a swap that brought pitcher Jeff Gray to the Northside. Gray has been sidelined with a groin injury, so he did not pitch against his former team today, but Fox started at third base for Oakland in his first pro game outside of the Cubs organization. He went 0-2. Eric Patterson, a former Cubs farm hand, was 1-2 off the A's bench. Patterson is the only player who is still with the A's or Cubs that was part of the five player deal between to two clubs at the 2008 trade deadline. The Cubs with play the Athletics in interleague play this season.

Sunny at HoHoKam
Everyone in attendance, with the possible exception of second base umpire Mike Winters, was please with the 66 degree and sunny day. There were 7,496 fans at the ballpark.

Upcoming Games
Tomorrow: VS Arizona 2:05 CT- no broadcast (Zambrano)
Saturday: VS Chicago White Sox 2:05 CT- WGN TV, WGN Radio (Silva)
Sunday: (ss) VS CWS 2:05 WGN
VS LAD 2:05- no broadcast (Gorzelanny/Samardzija)

Injury Updates
Angel Guzman and Ted Lilly were both spotted on the field today before the game according to Chicago Cubs Online. Xavier Nady is expected to make his spring debut on Saturday against the White Sox as the DH. Nady is recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Not Him Again
I guess it wouldn't be a Chicago Cubs blog post without Milton Bradley. The outspoken former Cub told today that the city of Chicago was at fault for his 2009 struggles. "Two years ago, I played, and I was good. I go to Chicago, not good. I've been good my whole career. So obviously it was something with Chicago, not me." Oh, Milton. The Cubs travel to Seattle this summer for interleague action. To bad the M's don't visit Wrigley.

Baseball is back! I'll keep you posted.

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