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.
it's day old news, and it's got nothing to do with the cubs, but ichiro signed a $2m deal with MIA (with a $2m option for 2017).
neat. 41 years old and damn close to 3000 hits.
also, rain delays suck.
take that giants
I think that if a team objects to the 1-game wildcard playin game so much, they could just win the pennant and avoid themselves the trouble.
Per Jesse Sanchez at mlb.com, Cubs reportedly have signed 20-year old Cuban OF Eddy Julio Martinez for $3M bonus.
BLOCK: Of course any advantage is an advantage. An MLB, NBA, or NHL team getting the extra game at home in a seven game series is an advantage, I just don't think it is enough of an advantage for winning a division and/or having the best record in a conference or league over the course of an 82-game season (NBA and NHL) or 162 game series (MLB).
TEX takes the opening game from TOR (@TOR) 5-3.
TOR lost bautista + donaldson in-game due to injuries...TEX lost beltre...dunno if any will be lingering issues leading to missed games.
Ride the Kid Magic! Schwarber hadn't homered in a long time before last night.
Greg Maddux was 8-18 in his rookie season. Kyle has the 8 wins down pat.
Think Baby Maddux.
Prof. Harold Hill's THINK system at work.
Kyle is on the far left.
I support this. Hendricks has not only looked better lately but seems to start struggling after a few innings which is better than the 1st in the playoffs.
Just tweeted via Jesse Rogers: Hendricks starting Game 2. Wow. Just wow.
That was good!
Well said. On one hand, I thought the HBP was a bad baseball play -- down 4 runs, put a runner on for a red-hot Fowler. On the other hand, they needed to do something -- I hadn't thought about the warning/pitching inside point. Is Hurdle that smart? He does not strike me that way. By the way -- not clear which fan base you are referring to in your "first" 3rd point.
My unsolicited opinions on topics covered in this thread:
1. I hate the fact that after 162 games, a team could be out after 1 game. However, I think the system is pretty close to perfect right now. 2 of 3 isn't feasible unless they shorten the regular season, and it ices the division winners for way too long. This creates excitement, and rewards the division winners.
Personally, I think the game could have had a very different look had the Pirates held onto the ball and tagged Fowler out on the steal in the first. Cole was clearly frazzled, but if they took that runner off the base, it could have relaxed him a lot.
Football games are played once a week. There are 16 games a year. I'm not even remotely following at all how you can compare the two leagues and playoff systems. It is physically impossible to play a home and away series. The idea of not having any road games in baseball playoffs is certainly a head scratcher.
How is not having the first and last game at home a benefit for the division winners and team with the best record? How is it not an incentive to win the division when a WC team has to blow their top pitcher?
Call me lost.
Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.