Cubs Lose Cactus League Tilt at Diablo

The Cubs traveled down the Red Mountain Freeway (AKA "Loop 202") to Tempe Diablo Stadium today, facing the Angels before a capacity crowd of 8,808 (probably more than half of them Cubs fans) under the bright, sunny Arizona skies. 

box score

Loop 202 was closed for most of the day yesterday due to a tractor-trailer fire that involved a HazMat response by the Tempe & Phoenix fire departments. Too bad it wasn't closed again today, because then the Cubs could have just stayed home in Mesa and saved themselves a trip.

As it was, the Cubs left most of their "everyday" players back in Mesa, and so the crowd got to whine (justifiably, IMO) about paying (relatively) big bucks to see a Cubs starting lineup that included the likes of Jake Fox, Micah Hoffpauir, Sam Fuld, and Alex Cintron, instead of Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, Derrek Lee, and Kosuke Fukudome.

Well, at least the Cubs brought along some of the "front-line" pitching (Jason Marquis, Kerry Wood, and Bob Howry). Except unfortunately for the Cubs fans in attendance, the "front-line" pitching had a bad day...

Said to be battling for the #5 spot in the rotation with Jon Lieber and Sean Marshall, Jason Marquis pitched the first two innings, and was not impressive. He got out of the 1st inning unscathed, although that was mainly because catcher Geovany Soto threw out Chone Figgins trying to steal after Figgins led off the frame with a single, and because Vlad Guerrero hit a monster high fly ball to the very deepest part of CF and into the waiting glove of Felix Pie.

Marquis was not as lucky in the 2nd inning, however. Garret Anderson led off with a walk, and Torii Hunter followed with an RBI double. Then Howie Kendrick drove Hunter in with a one-out single. Marquis left with a final line of 2.0 IP, 3 hits, 2 runs, 1 BB, and 0 K.

Kerry Wood worked the 3rd inning, and got tagged for a three-run dinger off the smokin' hot bat of Torii Hunter. Woody seemed to have some zip on his fastball, but it looked like he had trouble spotting it, and he also hung a couple of breaking balls. Certainly not a good performance for KW (1.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 HR), especially after he had looked so good in "live" BP sessions at Fitch Park last week. (And we still don't know if he can throw two or three days in row, either).

Bob Howry gave up the 6th and final run in the 5th, via a single, stolen base, ground out, and a ground single just out of range of second-baseman Mike Fontenot. Though he gave up a run, I thought Howry threw the ball OK. No hard-hit balls. Not a bad outing.

Carmen Pignatiello, Rule 5 pick Tim Lahey (three ground outs, including a spectacular diving stop & throw by third-baseman Bobby Scales), and Edward Campusano (three pop-ups) retired the final nine Angels hitters in order. If Campusano is 100% back from TJ surgery (and it looks like he is), he could help the Cubs in 2008. You may remember Campusano (a Rule 5 selection by the Tigers from the Cubs in December 2006) had made Detroit's 2007 Opening Day 25-man roster before going down with a torn elbow ligament at the very end of ST last year.

The only bright spots on offense for the Cubs today were Matt Murton and Jake Fox. Murt went three-for-three (three hard-hit singles), and Fox went 2-5 as the DH, including a two-run blast that went over the fence just inside the foul pole in the LF corner for the Cubs only two runs. Fox also got the "green light" from Manager Lou Piniella on a 3-0 count in the 8th with two men on base and two out, but got robbed on a great play by Angels third-baseman Matt Brown on a one-hop shot smoked down the 3rd base line.

Felix Pie hit lead-off and went 0-3 (one-hop tap back to the pitcher, a line out to CF, and a K), and Sam Fuld (playing RF and hitting 9th) also went 0-3, with a walk and two strikeouts (one swinging and one called).

Eric Patterson came into the game in the 6th, and played 2B for the first time this Spring. Since it's getting kind of obvious that he might not be able to play OF either, I guess maybe the Cubs are starting to think they might as well leave him at 2B and hope he can improve enough to become at least passably-mediocre there. He handled a couple of easy chances without incident today, which is a good start.

Geovany Soto was 2-4 in throwing out base-stealers, although one of the CS resulted from Chone Figgins going half-way to 2nd base before (intentionally?) getting himself into a rundown, perhaps in a misguided plan to try and score the runner (who was the freakin' CATCHER!) from 3rd base.

The Cubs return to HoHoKam Park tomorrow to face the Giants (again, for the third time already this Spring).


Thx for the report. I really can't stand those Marquis comments, but if it pushes him out of the rotation and some combination of Lieber, Dempster, Gallagher, etc. can fill in, I"m all for it. I think we got lucky with the mediocre year Marquis provided.

OT - but when I saw the TCR junk drawer I was certain it was where anything written by Silent Towel or his various other personalities went to gather dust...

Way to run out the B team for the first televised game here in Chicago.


I'm guessing Zito was not throwing the curve today.



This is what Lou should do with his team after a game like that:


Angelos Gives MacPhail Permission To Move Roberts
This morning it was reported that the Cubs had two scouts at the Orioles' spring game yesterday to watch Brian Roberts.

Now, several people have written in to let us know that Bruce Levine of ESPN 1000 is reporting that Peter Angelos has given Andy MacPhail the green light to trade Roberts. It has long been rumored that Angelos might have been holding up the trade to the Cubs because of his personal affection for Roberts. With Angelos' blessing, this deal may finally happen in the next few days.

Yep. I heard Levine myself this a.m.

As I said a couple days ago, his addition will make the team stronger.

No way is A-Ram going to play close to a full season.

To have Mark DeRosa at 3B would be wonderful, imo.

I can live with seeing Cedeno, EPat, Gallagher, or veal go. But Murton would be a terrific 4th OF, at a great "price" as a killer insurance policy.

Maybe that's another reason for EPat getting some reps at 2B today.

T-DUBS: I agree with you. If there is any organization that might still believe Eric Patterson can be a second-baseman, or that would be willing to let him play 2B and live with his mistakes, it would probably be the Orioles.

Present Orioles Scouting Director John Stockstill was the Cubs Scouting Director when the Cubs drafted E-Pat out of Georgia Tech, and he might still envision Patterson as a second-baseman. Further, the Orioles will be needing a second-baseman/lead-off hitter if they trade Brian Roberts, and E-Pat definitely does qualify as a lead-off hitter, and he could possibly "pass" for a second-baseman if you are wearing rose-colored glasses. 

Cubs Minor League camp opened at Fitch Park yesterday, so the Orioles scout sent to Mesa to "bird-dog" the Cubs should get to see Donald Veal throw some "live" BP by this time this week. 

I'm loving Lou's response to the Marquis comments. It really sets a nice tone about no ones role being more important than the team.

Over/Under on Marquis's exit?

I missed something. What comments?

Nevermind, just saw the last posting.

I hate stories like these. This story is completely instigated by the press. Of course Marquis would want to be a starter, and might look to pitch elsewhere if he does not end up being one. Starters like to stay starters... Duh... This is a story that is being blown out of proportion because they pestered him enough so that he mentioned possibly pitching elsewhere. It does not mean he wants to go elsewhere. He says repeatedly that he loves the Cubs, Chicago and the fans... This is absolutely ridiculous, and I am not even a Marquis fan.

I'm pretty sure the press pestered Marquis, but the guy is a grown man. Nobody can force him to talk if he doesn't want to. He said those things cos that's what he felt. He is accountable for his own words. Nobody else. Now if he was misquoted or his words were taken out of context then that is a totally different thing.

I see your point Jace and agree for the most part, but "I have my family to think about" just rubs me the wrong way...even with the most sincere of intentions, it's tough when statements like that come from multi-millionaires playing baseball for a living.

Kenny Lofton sounding better and better.

You have no idea how much we all appreciate the great work, Mr. Phil.

I thought the Fontenaught turned two outs into hits. He really has no range.

Has Veal been stated by Hendry to be untouchable? I know Ceda has, but I don't remember reading the same about Veal.

One observation about the new site ... not sure how much I like the branching comments format. The shortest distant between two points (a post and an arugment about OBP) is usually a straight line. It's too hard to find the "new" comments IMO.

Change your comment viewing options to "Flat List"

De Luca column purports that Cubs, White Sox are both still interested in Coco but that Cubs are better armed (so to speak) to get him.

Also that Kendall decided he wanted to be a Brewer last August. Too bad Cubs couldn't have just traded his ass at that point.,CST-S...

Sunday Morning Trivia for ya's:

Who has the worst ERA at Yankee Stadium in the past 50 years, minimum 25 innings pitched?

Les Walrond?


The correct answer is new Yankees RP LaTroy Hawkins.

Sorry for the OT question here, but I figured someone here may know the answer:

What is the definition of "future considerations" as per MLB? I've been looking for the definition all morning, but haven't had any luck.

Thanks in advance -- any help would be greatly appreciated.

"The Cubs would have completed the Brian Roberts trade some time ago, until owner Peter Angelos intervened to stop it."

Gee, what a surprise! OMG!


"What is the definition of "future considerations" as per MLB? I've been looking for the definition all morning, but haven't had any luck."

It's used commonly as a synonym for "cash considerations." However, GMs like this term because it gives them an open window of options to work with in the near future; a future consideration can also be a PTBNL or a future favor (so to speak.).

Recent comments

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  • based on what SF has been doing every other year lately, getting access to the postseason playoffs seems to be what's important. bring on dat short series!

    that said, skipping the sudden death 1-game WC would be nice from here on out.

  • I know what you are saying, but I feel compelled to point out that there's no such thing as luck, curses, etc. The Cubs this year have as good as a chance as the Pirates to move on to the next round. If the Cubs proceed to the next round or not tomorrow, it will not be because of luck, but because one team outlasted the other. When/if the Cubs are lucky enough to make it to the league series, that's where they may find their biggest challenge. The Dodgers have a good, deep pitching staff.

  • debuting the new format 1 game "sudden death" WC matchup at yankee stadium does a perfect job of showing the intense emotion and drama this game can be.

    that said, i'm ready to not see yankee stadium or hear fans at yankee stadium for another 5 and 1/2 months. at least i don't have to sit through the braves with their "tommy hawk chawp" this postseason.

  • i'd like to know why the internet radio feed of the game (which is always delayed by a few seconds at best) is almost a minute faster than the ESPN cable TV coverage. wtf?

  • i dont know what order they'll be in, but i pretty much expect fowler/schwarb/rizzo/bryant/montero/castro/lastella/arrieta. any change at all (aside from the first 4 guys) wouldn't shock me, though. coghlan is still a wildcard in the lineup joe could always march d.ross out there with very slow arrieta pitching.

  • Yup. Have to agree. Baseball, like golf, certainly has that psych component for the player. There is no real reason why a fielding position should affect a batting average. The Cubs are 106 years over due for a little luck. Don't you guys think so? Maybe the rookies can bring some dumb luck on.

  • probably stacking capable lefties vs cole while keeping the "hot" castro in the game. fwiw, he's 1-6 lifetime with 0 bb/k vs cole (double).

    i chalk bryant's issues at the plate while playing OF up to coincidence so far.

  • I will call your dead horse, "Trigger".

    In one game, when anything is possble, I am glad that Joe Maddon is our Manager.

    He knows the stats better than all of us. It would seem, IF La Stella gets the start at 3B, it will be only up to the point that they were to get the lead (crosses fingers). From everything I have read, the game will be managed like a hoops game: offense/defense. So expect La Stella to be out of the game by the 5th. This team is incredibly deep which is so surprising. We never woulda thunk it.

  • i don't know what their roster plans are, but j.herrera is out there practicing with the team.

    i can't imagine him making any roster, though. dude had 4 PA the entire month of sept. him being a good dude to be around while keeping the clubhouse loose seems to be his main role at this point.

  • I know it's my own personal dead horse to beat --but Bryant has been a lousy hitter when playing the OF this year. Given that it's his first playoff game, I really hope they keep him in his natural position and don't mess with his routine.

    Lousy as in 8-for-45 with one XBH and no HR. Small sample and all that -- but why take the chance?

  • hard to tell what's up given they'll probably want to stack as many good lefties into the lineup as possible.

    castro being a bit hot doesn't help things. if he was still cool they'd probably stick la stella at 2nd and call it a day.

  • Madden won't announce lineups but Stella is practicing at 3rd and Bryant in LF today. I'd rather see Bryant at 3rd but I guess Stella has been hotter than Coghlan.

    /edit. Though I guess they could be practicing this with the idea Stella would come in as a PH then double switch him to 3rd base and Bryant to LF. Hope that's the plan instead

  • I really like the sound of that idea about expanding the AFL to ten teams. Each org. gets to field more players.
    They should do that anyway, regardless of Adv. Instructs.

  • Dallas Beeler, Corey Black, David Garner, Pierce Johnson, Steve Perakslis, James Pugliese, Duane Underwood Jr, and Rob Zastryzny threw early-morning bullpen side-sessions at Riverview yesterday.  

    Underwood threw last, and received specific one-on-one instruction from pitching coach Mike Mason. 

  • HAGSAG: There are only five advanced instructs squads left, and presently the only "co-op" team operating is the Angels/Cubs.

    The league was originally established as a "parallel" league to the AFL (a sort of "junior AFL"), for players too advanced for traditional ("basic") instructs but who were unable to get placed on AFL rosters due to AFL player-limits.

  • He is but I would think it'd be better to start out with offense and then bring in Jackson and LaStella once they have a lead. Stella has very good PH #s too.