Dempster Extremely Sharp at HoHoKam
In what was definitely his best performance of the Spring Ryan Dempster threw 5 innings of one-hit shutout ball at Mesa's HoHoKam Park today, although the Cubs went on to lose the game to the Oakland A's by a score of 5-2.
Coming back from an atrocious outing last week, Dempster was very sharp today, posting a line of no runs on one hit and two walks with seven strikeouts in 5.1 IP, throwing 78 pitches (46 strikes), with a 5/7 GB/FB.
However, A's starter Joe Blanton was also on his game (six shutout innings), so the game stayed scoreless going into the bottom of the 7th inning.
The Cubs struck first, as Derrek Lee lined an opposite-field home run into the right-field bullpen off A's reliever Andrew Brown to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead. Aramis Ramirez walked, and then Henry Blanco smoked a double into the left-center field alley, scoring Ramirez all the way from 1st.
Kevin Hart entered the game in the top of the 8th, a "back-to-back" outing following his strong inning of work yesterday. But Hart was terrible today, allowing a double, a single and two walks, before being relieved by Carlos Marmol, with the Cubs leading 2-1, one out, and the bases loaded. And Marmol was no relief, either. .
As has been the case in most of his appearances this Spring, Marmol could not find the plate, and was behind on every hitter. He displayed a lot of negative emotion on the mound, and looked to be very frustrated with himself.
Marmol walked the first batter he faced to force-in the tying run, and then gave up an RBI line single to right and a FC RBI, before finally retiring the side. Marmol allowed another run in the 9th after walking the lead-off hitter.
The Cubs loaded the bases in the bottom of the 9th (single by Ramirez and walks to Fukudome and Blanco), but with the tying runs on base, Felix Pie flied out to deep right to end the game.
Henry Blanco had a good day at the plate today, going 2-3 with an RBI double, a single, and and a walk, and he also threw out a runner trying to steal. Aramis Ramirez was also 2-3 with a walk and a run scored, and Ryan Theriot was 2-4 with a triple.
Other notable pitching performances by the Cubs today included:
Michael Wuertz (who gave up a double and a single in the top of the 6th after relieving Dempster, but no runs thanks to a strong throw by Kosuke Fukudome to cut down a runner at the plate to end the inning),
Sean Gallagher (who walked the bases loaded before being relieved with one out in the top of the 7th),
Les Walrond (who somewhat surprisingly struck out two batters with the bases loaded in relief of Gallagher).
The Cubs will play the second half of their "Split Squad Wednesday" this evening versus the Giants in Scottsdale.
I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.
But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.
Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.
Jason deGrom -- oh, my.
Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.
Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.
Considering how players reacted it seemed pretty accurate high and wide (to righties), but not so accurate low and in. I thought the strike zone by the ump was awful, but it was consistent and the Cubs never adjusted.
Rizzo and Bryant need to have good at bats. They are really looking outclassed in these two games.
that game sounds fun as hell.
I was just wondering the same thing. I'd rather not see it at all. If it's inaccurate, it's a bad viewer experience. If it's accurate, it shows some shitty calling by the umpire.
TBS' K Zone seems to be more harsh than the others.
I wonder if MLB will ask the networks to stop using them. They just make the umps, and the game, look bad, and it only pisses off the fans.
"Strop vs. Cardinals." Seen the movie. Hated it.
Not all that disappointed -- I didn't think they would beat Lackey in Game 1. Need to get the bats going against the guys with less experience -- and they hit Wacha pretty good.
Rizzo has been slumping the last couple weeks of the season. Very disappointed it has continued during his penultimate moment of his career to date.
Really doesn't matter, but I was surprised to see Lester pulled and Strop pulled in. Should of left Lester in. oy.
Sweet merciful fuck, I hate the Cardinals.
Really doesn't matter, but I was surprised to see Lester out for the 8th. Down 1-0, at 100 pitches, seemed better to give a very fresh bullpen a little work.
Oh well...Throw away game, although in a 5 game series there is no luxury afforded to do that.
This game is not on Lester - he did his job
Had a lot of hope hanging on that deep Fowler fly in the sixth.
Really despise the Cards