Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Giants 5, Cubs 1 (Game Recap & More)

We'll get to the Milton Bradley stuff later in the post, but let's start off with a recap of today's Cactus League game. The Cubs hosted the Giants at HoHoKam Park for the first of two Cactus League meetings between the two clubs.

Big Z
Carlos Zambrano worked quickly through the first two innings, but then allowed 5 runs in the 3rd including a Pablo Sandoval grand slam. Big Z would go on to take the loss in the game.

The Cubs got one run back on Aramis Ramirez's second hit of the day in the fourth inning, an RBI single. After that, pitching dominated the game and the silent bats of the Cubs led to a 5-1 loss.

The Short Stops
There were a few bright spots on the offensive side, however. Ryan Theriot went 3-3 as his average climbed to .692! When Starlin Castro took over for Theriot as the Cub lead-off man and short stop, he too hit well. Castro went 2-2 with a pair of singles.

X Man
Xavier Nady made his Cactus League debut a day earlier than expected. Zambrano was willing to sacrifice his ABs to allowed Nady to DH today. Xavier looked good, going 1-2 with a walk. He most likely will travel with the half of the team that is going to Las Vegas to get some more at bats in.

The 0 fors
The Spring Training struggles of Jeff Baker continued today. He was in the lineup for the whole game- starting at second base and then shifting over to third when Ramirez departed. Baker was hitless in 4 trips to the plate, but he did draw a walk. Jeff, who's batting .000, will need to step it up in order to beat Mike Fontenot out for the majority of the second base playing time. Koyie Hill (0-3), Alfonso Soriano (0-3), James Adduci (0-4), Micah Hoffpauir (0-2), and Sam Fuld (0-2) all had bad days at the dish as well.

Lights Out Relievers
After Zambrano's rocky start, the Cubs pitching staff was terrific. John Grabow, Mike Parisi, Andrew Cashner, Thomas Diamond, John Gaub, and Justin Berg all worked scoreless innings. Grabow will be a key to the bullpen as one of the only veterans. The rest of the guys that pitched in this game are looking to win the final few open jobs in the pen. Berg and Diamond looked especially sharp, as they each retired the Giants in order. Thomas was picked up after he was let go by the Rangers last year, and is looking to bounce back from an injury. Justin came over as a minor leaguer in a trade with the Yankees a few years ago. Cashner was the Cubs first round draft choice in 2008, Parisi was drafted in the Rule 5 draft this winter, and Gaub came over in the Mark DeRosa trade in late 2008.

No Action For Dolis or Patton
As Chicago Cubs Online pointed out, the Cubs still have several players who have not gotten into any Cactus League games. Diamond pitched for the first time today, while David Patton, Vince Perkins, and Rafael Dolis have yet to take the mound. Patton is expected to start the year at AAA after he was hidden in the bullpen and on the DL in '09 so the organization could keep him. Dolis is a young prospect that the organization is very high on. Also, Steve Clevenger and Blake Lalli are position player who have not played in any Spring Training games yet. With Clevenger and Lalli, it is very surprising because there have been plenty of opportunities for Lou to get different guys in as defensive subs or pinch hitters. Perhaps there is an injury or some other situation that we do not know about.

Backup Outfield Update
Lou Piniella indicated yesterday that he will keep 5 outfielders on the roster to start the season. According to Carrie Muskat, Nady may not be able to throw at full strength until June. Piniella may not want to waste a roster spot on somebody that can pinch hit only, so the DL is a possibility. Right now, there's a good chance that one or possibility two of these young outfielder could break camp with the big club. Their Spring Training stats so far are included:
Jim Adduci: 6 games, .182 AVG
Tyler Colvin: 5 games, .545 AVG, 1 HR, 3 RBIs
Brad Snyder: 5 games, .545 AVG, 1 HR, 3 RBIs
Sam Fuld: 4 games, .200 AVG, 1 HR, 2 RBIs

Right now, Colvin and Snyder have identical spring numbers. The Cubs are going to need 12 pitchers, so using 5 outfielders would leave them with only 6 infielders plus the 2 catchers. Ramirez, Lee, Fontenot, Baker, and Theriot are 5 infielders on the roster for sure. Therefore, the group of Hoffpauir, LaHair, Tracy, Blanco, and Millar may be competing for 1 spot, with the 4 outfielders listed competing for 1-2 spots depending on the health of Nady. Tyler Colvin and Sam Fuld are the front runners for winning roster spots, with Brad Snyder in the mix as a dark horse.

Can We Just Move On?
Milton Bradley is at it again. Click here for his interview with ESPN in which he describes Cub fans as racist and once again blames the city of Chicago for his failures while he was here. Jim Hendry said that Bradley needs to take a look in the mirror. Hendry and Lou both feel that it is 2010 now, and it's time to focus on 2010. Alfonso Soriano's message to Milton is to leave the negativity in the past. Sori says he thinks Milton is an OK guy. Ryan Dempster defended the city, and says that fans who pay good money to see the team play have every right to boo if they don't like what they see.

Cubs Idol
While Bradley is still discussing the Cubs, it's evident that the current team is much more relaxed. They are putting on their own version of American Idol behind closed doors. Younger players like Andrew Cashner, Jim Adduci, Brett Jackson, and Mike Parisi do the singing while veterans like Kevin Millar and Ryan Dempster put on the competition and serve as judges.

Injury Updates
Cubs LHP Ted Lilly through 30 pitches earlier this week and tossed 35 today. He is feeling good and is hoping to get into a few Spring Training game before the team leaves the valley. Still no word on whether or not Angel Guzman will have surgery or on a timetable for reliever Jeff Gray, who's been out since the start of camp with a groin injury. Andres Blanco is also still sidelined.

A Return of Kerry?
Several sources have mentioned that Kerry Wood could be an option for the Cubs bullpen. Phil Rogers puts him on a list that also includes Brad Ziegler, Jason Frasor, and Heath Bell, but Rogers thinks the Cubs would have to give up lots of talent in return for any of these guys.

Nomar to ESPN
Former Cubs short stop Nomar Garciapara has announced his retirement today. He will take a job as a TV analyst for ESPN. He hit .289 in his two years (2005-2006) in a Cub uniform, playing in just 105 total games.

Random Stat
Kosuke Fukudome hit just .132 with 2 outs and runners in scoring position last season, which was second worst in the league. He has to be better in the clutch in 2010.

Up Next
Tomorrow afternoon the Cubs take on the Padres at 2:05 PM CT in Peoria. The game will not be broadcast on Chicago TV or radio, but you can get it if you have's gameday audio package via the Padres Radio Network. Carlos Silva, who has made some mechanical adjustments since his last outing, will take the hill against Jon Garland. On Friday, the Cubs have a split squad game with Jeff Samardzija facing the Brewers in Arizona and Tom Gorzelanny going against the White Sox in Las Vegas.

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


  1. Tanner,

    I think Nomar had a great career, but his numbers fall just a little bit short of Hall of Fame standards for me. Hall of the Very Good, yes, but Hall of Fame... we'll see.

    What do you think?