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.
I don't want to play Braves in the first round. Any friggin team in the league can win 3 of 5..I hate the first round. Furthermore, I wanted to play the Marlins in 2003 and the Mets over Dodgers last year.
With that said in reverse order:
3. Cardinals: It will be devastating to lose in the first round, but even worse to their main rival. It is increased incentive for the Cardinals, especially after last year. Cards would have nothing to lose, Cubs have everything to lose.
2. Giants: Rotation in the playoffs scare me a bit, but what a lousy team.
1. Mets--because of the losses in the rotation
2. Giants--because they're not the team they were BUT they maybe have bullshit even-year magic?
3. Cardinals--because rivalry and not making the playoffs hurts them more than losing in the NLDS plus getting eliminated by them in the playoffs would make for horrible sports commentary next throughout next season.
CLE/DET rained out last night already, possible rain-outs in New York (vs. Baltimore), Boston(vs. Toronto) and Philly(vs. Mets) this weekend too.
Not only games involving playoff spots that would need to be played, but any that involve home field advantage.
I got the first one! Second one I'm not even sure what even/odd betting is.
any opponent preference for NLDS?
Mets are down to 1 great pitcher instead of 4. Syndegaard may pitch Sunday which means if Mets win the WC game, he'd be set up for Game 1. There's a chance they clinch a spot by Sunday so he'd pitch the WC and then we'd probably get Colon for Game 1. They've certainly had the hottest bats over the last week and month out of the WC options.
A couple of Cub related puzzles.
Can't teach height and thinness
Hopefully Pirates don't call up A. Lincoln.
j.buchanan going friday...should be...baseball...or something like it.
Wow. I didn't know they could do that.
Nice for Willson, not so much for Addy.
Game is officially called...also officially a tie.
Stats count, no make-up date of course.
Yeah -- seeing the weather -- I hope KB and Rizz are inside, wrapped in blankets and drinking hot chocolate.
rain delay...thanks obama.
Thanks again Phil. We actually were in Mesa and drove around. Hopefully, I am back for some Fall League. If not I have all of spring training (like the smart people who move here!)
What Rob G said. I can't speak for Piittsburgh, but the other end of the state has had absolute crap weather for two days. Perfect day to take it easy.