Hoff-POWER Twice Just Good Enough for Tie

Micah Hoffpauir slugged two home runs to help rally the Cubs from an 8-4 deficit, but then grounded out with the winning run on third with two outs in the bottom of the 10th, leaving the Cubs and Brewers tied at 10 in what was the final Spring Training game for the Cubs in Arizona.

box score

Knowing they will be facing each other next week in Chicago, both the Cubs and Brewers opted to use mostly a gaggle of minor league pitchers today (Ted Lilly probably threw in a minor league game versus the Giants AAA squad at Fitch Park), with the exception of LHP Sean Marshall and RHP Tim Lahey, both being "on the bubble" as far as gaining a spot on the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster is concerned. And neither pitcher did much to help his cause this afternoon,

Marshall gave up one run on an RBI double, plus three walks and a wild pitch and no strikeouts in two innings of work, while Lahey went one inning-plus, throwing a 1-2-3 6th (3-1, 4-3, 1-3) before allowing a run on a walk and a single without retiring a batter in the 7th.

The Cubs scored first, plating a run in the bottom of the 1st on a two-out RBI single hammered to RF by Kosuke Fukudome, following a bloop single to right by Alfonso Soriano and a walk to Aramis Ramirez.

But the Brewers came back with a six-spot in the top of the 2nd off veteran RHP Cory Bailey (ex-BOS, ex-STL, ex-SF, ex-KC, ex-Tokyo Giants), on a walk, two singles, a double, a triple by Rickie Weeks, and a home run by Mike Cameron.

The Cubs got a bit closer in the bottom of the second, as Alfonso Soriano hit a towering two-out three-run HR completely out of the stadium in left-field, following a single by Mark DeRosa and a walk to Henry Blanco. 

With the Cubs trailing 8-4, Hoffpauir (who had entered the game in relief of Fukudome in RF in the 5th) hit his first home run of the game leading off the bottom of the sixth, a high-ranging moonshot over the right-field fence off the canvas bullpen cover. Ronny Cedeno then clubbed a two-out solo home run off the scoreboard beyond the left-field fence to cut the Brew Crew lead to 8-6.

The Brewers scored a run in the top of the 7th off Lahey to go on top 9-6, but soon to be ex-Cub Matt Murton led off the bottom of the 7th with a double into the left-center field alley, and scored on a one-out double lined into the left-field corner by Aramis Ramirez. Hoffpauir then hit his second home run in two innings (and 4th this Spring Training) into the upper (visitors) bullpen beyond the RF fence, tying the score at 9.

Felix Pie made a possible game-saving catch in the top of the 9th with one out and a runner at second, sliding effortlessly between Mike Fontenot and Reed Johnson to nab a blooper and hold the potential lead-run at second.  

The Brewers did take a 10-9 lead in top of the 10th off Cubs LHP Edward Campusano (walk, stolen base plus throwing error, and wild pitch), before the Cubs mounted their last-ditch rally in the bottom of the 10th.

With one out, Andres Blanco fisted an opposite field single down the left-field line. Reed Johnson then roped a single back through the box sending A. Blanco to 2nd. Murton flied out to deep center for the second out, but then Felix Pie and Casey McGehee worked two-out walks to force in the tying run and set the stage for Micah Hoffpauir to be the hero again.

But the Hoff-POWER mojo was gone, as the slugging Texan grounded weakly into a 4-6 FC to end the game with the score tied 10-10,

As we speak, the Cubs are probably at Sky Harbor Airport, preparing to embark on their annual End of Spring Training weekend trip to Las Vegas, where they will face the Seattle Mariners in their final two Spring Training games on Friday night and Saturday afternoon at cozy Cashman Field.  

Then it's Opening Day 2008 at Wrigley Field Monday afternoon versus the Milwaukee Brewers.

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Comments

The roster has basically come down to one decision...Marshall vs Piggy...the right decision is sending Marshall to AAA...does anyone know his option status and would other teams even be interested? He's 14-17 career with a 4.83 ERA and throws lefty so chances are other teams would be interested.

Also the decision of what to do with Lahey. I don't think its a big loss or gain either way but it will be interesting to see what happens.

does anyone know his option status and would other teams even be interested?

You can get option info and service time from our Cubs 40-man roster page:
http://www.thecubreporter.com/cubs-40-man-roster

thanks for the writeups AZP...it's been a more interesting spring with the reports.

Submitted by Jeff_Pico on Thu, 03/27/2008 - 7:11pm. 

The roster has basically come down to one decision...Marshall vs Piggy...the right decision is sending Marshall to AAA...does anyone know his option status and would other teams even be interested? He's 14-17 career with a 4.83 ERA and throws lefty so chances are other teams would be interested.

Also the decision of what to do with Lahey. I don't think its a big loss or gain either way but it will be interesting to see what happens. 

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JEFF P: Sean Marshall has two minor league options left. He also has 1+132 MLB Service Time going into the 2008 season, so while sending him to the minors for at least 20 days would kill one of his two remaining options, it would also essentially guarantee that Marshall won't have enough MLB Service Time to rate as a Super Two for salary arbitration purposes after the 2008 season. Sending Marshall to AAA instead of keeping him as a LOOGY will also keep him stretched-out as a starter in case he might be needed in that role in Chicago later in the season.

As for the lefty in the bullpen, Pignatiello has clearly outpitched Marshall (and Eyre, too) in that role this Spring, so Tiggy should get that slot. However, I suspect Hendry is trying to trade Matt Murton for an MLB-ready LOOGY plus a younger version of Murton who can be sent to AA or AAA without any hard feelings.

EXAMPLE: Murton to OAK for LHP Jerry Blevins and OF Aaron Cunningham.

Something like that.

As for Tim Lahey, I still believe he will end up as the PTBNL in the Craig Monroe trade. All the Cubs need to do is get Lahey through Rule 6 Return Waivers, and then the Twins can decline to take him back, and the Cubs can send him to AA or AAA. It's fairly easy to get Rule 5 guys through waivers this time of Spring Training, when clubs are trying to get their rosters cut to 25 and aren't really loooking to add Rule 5 players to the mix.

That Oakland deal is probably the best thing to happen to both sides. And at this point it would be a fair haul for Murton. Something to keep in mind is the fact that more than half of the bullpen is FA's after this season. It's doubtful that Eyre,Howry,Wood,Dempster, or Lieber all return next year. The cost of relief pitching tends to prohibative, and production tends to be hit or miss. So the more MLB ready pitchers in the system. The better off the club will be.

Phil: Interesting to think that Hendry would bring Blevins back, but do you think Blevins is any more MLB-ready than Pignatiello?

Submitted by Timmer on Thu, 03/27/2008 - 7:38pm.

Phil: Interesting to think that Hendry would bring Blevins back, but do you think Blevins is any more MLB-ready than Pignatiello?

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TIMMER: While Blevins might not be more MLB-ready than Pignatiello, Blevins has better pure stuff than Pignatiello and has a higher-ceiling.

Tiggy threw "lights-out" this Spring, but Blevins had a good Spring, too, before he got sent to AAA, and so he would be another viable option for a lefty (especially long-term) in Uncle Lou's pen if the Cubs can get him back.

On the recap of today's game at cubs.com, Muskrat wrote that Ted Lilly is slated to go tomorrow night in Vegas. There's no way! He supposedly pitched in a minor league game today and also would not be on schedule to start on Tuesday. "Ooooooops..."

actually he's set to go on Wednesday, they have a day off between the opener and game 2. Pitching Friday would give him his 4 days rest...

Duly noted...my bad.

looks like the outside of wrigley is almost ready restricted
area is getting smaller every day the picture on the cub world
cam has definately improved in last couple of weeks

There's no way Beane deals Cunningham. No-friggin'-way.

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