Cubs Tack It Up then Shut 'em Down
Alfonso Soriano slugged a two-run home run into the parking lot to cap a three-run 1st inning, Darwin Barney clubbed a solo HR to the base of the scoreboard in the 2nd inning, and Cub pitchers retired 19 of the last 21 men they faced, as the Cubs edged the Rangers 5-4 in Cactus League action this afternoon at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.
Facing a mostly MLB lineup, LHP Chris Rusin got the start for the Cubs and worked five innings (87 pitches - 59 strikes), allowing four runs on seven hits (six singles and a double), no walks, and four strikeouts, with a 5/5 GO/FO. After surrendering four runs on six hits through the first two innings, Rusin retired ten of the last 11 men he faced, striking out three of the last four.
Shawn Camp, Carlos Marmol, James Russell, and Blake Parker each threw one inning in relief, and combined to throw four innings of one-hit shutout ball with one walk and three strikeouts,
The Rangers got on the board in the top of the 1st, plating two runs off Chris Rusin on an HBP, a single, an Adrian Beltre sacrifice fly, and an A. J. Pierzynski RBI double.
The Cubs responded in the bottom of the 1st against TEX SP Alexi Ogando. David DeJesus led-off and lined a single to left-center, advanced to 3rd on an E-6, and scored on an Anthony Rizzo SF. Alfonso Soriano followed with his two-run shot into the parking lot to give the Cubs a 3-2 lead.
The Rangers scored twice more in the top of the 2nd to retake the lead, as ex-Cub Jeff Baker, Luis Sardinas, Ian Kinsler, and Craig Gentry stroked consecutive one-out singles, and David Murphy lofted a sacrifice fly.
But then Darwin Barney brought the Cubs back to a 4-4 tie with a one-out HR over the LF fence that landed at the base of the scoreboard.
The game remained tied through the top of the 6th. Then Welingtton Castillo led-off the bottom of the frame and drew a walk, advanced to 2nd base on a Luis Valbuena sharp single through the box, moved-up to 3rd base on a 5-4-3 DP, and scored on a WP.
The Cubs bullpen did the rest, shutting down the Rangers to preseve the victory.
AZ PHIL- Is Clayton Richard a free agent or not? One site I see he is, on another no. MLB has him listed as a free agent, Cot's contracts says he is a FA, baseball-reference says he's not, but Cubs have him on active roster. I know that he is just short of MLB 6 years service by just like 15 days, but that doesn't always matter.
Except that he gave up Russell and McKinney for a half-season of Hammel...
Beane cam at least point and laugh at Hammel.
The genius Angelo traded Olsen at Martzs request
Maybe Theo will sign Shark just so he can call Billy Beane and say: "Let's see...Russell? Check. McKinney? Check. Hammel? Check. Ninja? Check. Any other deals?"
To be fair to Emery and Trestman the foreshadowing of last year started happening well before them with the failure or mismanaging of multiple draft classes forcing the team to overspend in a free agency market that is even worse than baseball. Kyle Long seems like a good pick but they traded away another good one in Olson because of Martz's stupidity and inability to change his offense to fit the team talent.
HAGSAG: I think Domonic Brown does fit the criteria of a reclamation project, but unless he is willing to accept a minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training, I don't think the Cubs would be interested given where the Cubs are right now. A couple of years ago? Yes. But probably not now.
Brown would be better-off going to a club that is rebuilding and re-establish his value there, like Chris Coghlan did with the Cubs. And if he can re-establish his value, he could get traded to a contender at the trade deadline and take it from there.
"they just fade away"
(Except in the cases of no-fade lefties like Moyer, Orosco and Rich Hill.)
Amazing to me how quickly it fell apart under Trestman. Year 1, they were a Chris Conte brain fart away from making the playoffs. Year 2 -- coach, staff and GM all fired.
I am sure Jonathon Mota will be signed next.
AZ Phil, what is your thoughts on Domonic Brown as a reclamation project?
He also played LF in deference to Curtis Granderson.
Meh... other moves to make...hope to see a move or two soon.
I haven't seen much Bears football this year - difficult to watch the games out here, but the game I saw the week before I was watching in shock as I saw them actually make tackles. And Cutler has looked really good, too.
I guess people can quibble about play calling, but the team I saw is way more than 50% better coached (my only very minor disagreement with your comment).
Under Trestman, the team didn't do anything right. This team played like a well coached team when I saw them play the Rams.
"What is sometimes overlooked about Vogelbach because of his "bad body" and because he has struggled so much defensively is that he is a hard worker, has a great attitude, loves to play the game, and is very well-liked by his teammates, and while that may not seem important, teams do actually value stuff like that. "
As well they should. Replace a word here and there and you are describing any worker someone would hire.
Hak-Ju Lee signs a minor league contract with SF Giants.
Some closure on the 6 degrees of Separation for Matt Garza/Chris Archer