Zambrano Sharp in First Game Action

Chris Snyder stroked a three-run homer off the scoreboard to key a five-run 4th, and the Arizona Diamondbacks drubbed the Chicago Cubs 9-1 in record-setting heat at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park this afternoon in Mesa.

box score

Carlos Zambrano got the start for the Cubs (his first Cactus League game appearance) and worked two strong innings (25 pitches - 17 strikes - 3/0 GO/FO), allowing no runs and no hits,and just one walk, while striking out three. And it was vintage Zambrano, too, as he slapped himself upside the head when he walked Chad Tracy to open the 2nd.

Carlos Marmol followed "Z", and he looked very good in his one inning of work (12 pitches - 8 strikes), working fast and throwing strikes. He struck out the first two hitters he faced, and then Joey Gathright made a spectacular diving catch in short CF to end the top of the 3rd, literally outrunning the ball on what should have been a bloop hit.

With the score still tied 0-0, Mitch Atkins took the mound to start the 4th. He was apparently supposed to work two innngs today, but he ended-up working just one, partly because it took him 30 pitches (18 strikes) to get through the 4th inning, and partly because he got shellacked (five runs and four hits, one HR, and two HBP). Atkins worked slowly and probably put Manager Lou Piniella to sleep, which is never good.

Edward Campusano came into the game in the top of the 5th, and he did not finish his inning. He gave up a double, a stolen base, and two walks, before getting yanked with two outs and the bases loaded, after throwing 25 pitches (only 11 strikes). Finding the strike zone has been a problem for Campusano since undergoing Tommy John Surgery a couple of years ago, and he continues to have difficulty finding the strike zone. His one strike out victim was left-handed hitting 1B Josh Whitesell, though, not too surprising since Campusano is usually death against left-handed hitters.

With Campusano having already thrown 25 pitches and with Chris Snyder due to hit with the bases loaded, Manager Piniella made a rare appearance on the field and summoned RHP Ken Kadokura into the game to get the final out of the inning. And Kadokura did indeed get Snyder on a pop up to end the inning,

However, in Kadokura's second inning, the veteran Japanese righthander once again nibbled his way through the batting order (I believe "kadokura" is the Japanese word for "nibbler"), throwing 20 pitches (11 strikes) while allowing a run on a double, two walks, and two wild pitches. It is truly excrutiating watching Kadokura pitch. It's not that he has a bum arm or anything, it's just that he won't challenge hitters. 

Jason Waddell pitched the 7th, and apparently somebody must have told him before he left for Spring Training that Piniella does not like pitchers who work slowly and/or don't throw strikes. In his last outing Waddell got through his one inning in about two minutes flat, throwing only six pitches  This time out he struggled more than last time (19 pivches - 11 strikes), but he worked VERY fast and was once again saved by LF Doug Deeds, who ran down a two-out double that had been lined into the left-field corner, and then made a pinpoint relay throw to Mike Fontenot (who was playing SS for one inning), who then fired the ball just in time to get the runner trying to score from first. (Deeds made a spectacular catch while crashing into the LF fence the last time Waddell was on the hill).

Jeff Stevens pitched the 8th and allowed two routine ground ball singles through the infield, before coaxing a room service 6-4-3 DP ball to get ouit of the jam.

Angel Guzman worked the 9th, and he had a terrible outing (31 pitches - 17 strikes), allowing three runs on three hits (including two hard-hit doubles) and a walk. His problem was mainly that he wasn't fooling anybody, and the longer he pitched, the more his command went south. J. R. Mathes was warming up in the pen and would have probably been summoned if Gooz had not retired his last hitter. Even with no minor league options left, Guzman will have to pitch a lot better than he did today if he wants to make the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster. 

The only offense mustered by the Cubs today was a one run "rally" in the bottom of the 9th, when Micah Hoffpauir doubled to left-center,  and scored on a double roped into the LF corner by the normally light-hitting Andres Blanco  

So far through six games, all of the Cubs pitchers have seen game action except Jose Ascanio (who appears to have an elbow problem), 2008 #1 draft pick Andrew Cashner, Rich Harden (torn labrum), Vince Perkins (headed for the WBC with Team Canada), Brian Schlitter (who got a last-minute NRI to big league camp after Bill White was released), Matt Smith (unknown reason), Luis Vizcaino (late arrival to camp after having visa problems in the Dominican Republic), and Randy Wells (who may still be feeling the effects of a stress fracture of his pitching arm sustained last September)

The Cubs will be back in action tomorrow at HoHoKam Park versus the Oakland A's, before a split squad of Cubs heads to Vegas to play the White Sox Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon. .

Comments

If Kadokura is Japanese for nibbler, are we going to see a foreign substance ban for dark matter?

This post is pure weapons grade balognium. It's all impossible.

all of the Cubs pitchers have seen game action except ...
-----
Tomorrow:

Sean Marshall vs Sean Gallagher

...also according to cubs.com, Andrew Cashner is scheduled to pitch.

http://cubs.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090302&...

Good news about Z. We needed some good news.

Lou's really pissed (never assume?) at ESPN's Steve Phillips.
-----
Piniella was fuming over a remark Phillips made recently on Chet Coppock's WMVP-AM 1000 radio show. Asked about Kosuke Fukudome's rookie season, Phillips criticized Piniella's handling of the Japanese outfielder.

Phillips: "My view is Lou doesn't have a great deal of patience for assimilation into culture, assimilation into the team," Phillips said. "He is just not the most patient guy around, and he tends to verbalize his frustrations in an angry way. I think that may have affected Fukudome a little bit."

Lou: "I don't have much respect for Steve Phillips," Piniella said after hearing the comment Monday. "Let him be around a little more and see what transpires before he makes assumptions. I've lost total respect for this guy. If he had something to say, let him say it to me."

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/chi-03-cubs-b...

You don't talk shit about Uncle Lou and get away with it. Especially Steve "The Ass-Clown" Phillips (that was his nickname on his Wikipedia page last time I checked)

So Lou responded to Phillip's assertion that he doesn't have a lot of patience by ripping him a new one...

:)

Wouldn't a lot of the assimilation to culture and assimilation into the team concerns have been most prominent during the first two months of the season, when Kosuke was a monster?

Not that I think LouPa is the most patient and understanding manager out there.

George Castle has a new book released today... Sweet Lou and the Cubs: A Year inside the Dugout

http://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Lou-Cubs-Inside-Dugout...

author interviewed on David Kaplan's wgn radio show tonight. Said Lou doesn't like cerebral questons by reporters, prefers meat and potatoes questions. I'll expect more stupid reporter stuff like that but he did plug Rob G's book (Castle also wrote two sections), "Cubs 2009 Annual" that also hits bookstores tomorrow.

Rob wrote 2 sections including NL central preview.

http://www.maplestreetpress.com/

Wait isn't this the same Steve Phillips that traded for Victor Zambrano and traded away Scott Kazmir??!?!

That was Jim Duquette, Phillips' successor. Phillips was Mets GM from 1997 to 2003, during which time Phillips had some awful moves of his own. He traded Melvin Mora and 2 other players for Mike Bordick in 2000; he acquired Mo Vaughn in 2001, severely overestimating Vaughn's health; and he traded a young Jason Bay to the Padres in 2002 for Steve Reed and Jason Middlebrook.

He also traded at various times for once and future Cubs Todd Hundley, Jeromy Burnitz, Shawon Dunston and Shawn "Of the Dead" Estes, who of course became notorious in Mets lore for failing to bean, but also homering off, Roger Clemens.

I'm not an expert on the Mets or anything, just felt like looking all this stuff up as it beats doing the dishes. I'm also not defending Phillips' comments re Lou, which sound pretty stupid to me.

Arizona Phil -- Can you fill us in on what is keeping Sam Fuld down on the farm? Please?

I'm no AZ Phil, but I know we discussed this a week or so back and Fuld's injury history came up. He seems like he makes plenty of sense to have Joey Gathright's roster spot--bat's left-handed, pretty fast, great defender, long-term role is as a bench player. But there might be questions whether he can stay healthy.

As an addition to your question, though, I wonder what AZ Phil thinks of Fuld's winter league numbers and what a good spring could do to his chances of spending significant time on the active roster this season.

I'll try to stop bringing up that I think lots of people make more sense on the 25-man than Gathright. I'm sure it's getting really old.

Victor Wang at The Hardball Times is coming out with their ranking of minor league farm systems today.

First off it's the bottom 15 systems and the Cubs rank 26th.

FWIW

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/farm-sys...

it's a lot easier to let your outfielder "assimilate" when your hitting ..350 .381 .457 like Ichiro in 2001, than .220 the last 3 months, like Fukudome.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Phillips

yes, Phillips is a talkin' knucklehead, ah but at least one person believes in his sincerity (per the attorney in the provided link)

Bruce Levine downloadable podcasts...including interview with Z yesterday

http://stations.espn.go.com/stations/espnradio1000...

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/9285286/Source:...

Rosenthal says Nomar is close to signing a 1 yr deal with the A's.

Submitted by hippolito on Mon, 03/02/2009 - 10:43pm.

Arizona Phil -- Can you fill us in on what is keeping Sam Fuld down on the farm? Please?

=================================

HIPPOLITO: Sam Fuld appears to have lost a step after his hernia surgery a couple of years ago and he no longer has plus-speed. That was an important part of his game. He runs OK, but he just isn't quite as fast as he once was. (He used to have the speed of a Ryan Theriot, but now it's more the speed of a Mike Fontenot).

Fuld is (when healthy) a very good hitter with a bit more power than you might expect and a plus-defender who can play all three OF positions, with a plus-arm (he has one of the top five OF arms in the organization). So he is a talented player. Offensively, I would compare him to Mike Fontenot.

I think Fuld's loss of a step really hurts him as far as his chance to play for the Cubs (at least while Lou Piniella is the manager), because the roster slot he would occupy if he were to be on the 25-man roster (the same one Felix Pie would have filled) is a slot Lou apparently wants to use for a back-up OF/late-inning PR, and Lou seems to prefer Joey Gathright, who is a veteran player, one of the fastest runners in baseball (although Gathright is NOT a particularly good base stealer), and somebody Lou knows well from his days in Tampa Bay.

I suspect Fuld will play CF and lead-off for Iowa in 2009, and I believe he will play in the big leagues, and he even could be an everyday CF on the right team. It just probably won't be with the Cubs, although I guess Fuld could replace Gathright on the 25 in 2010.

Can anybody comment on why Cashner is yet to pitch? I realize he will be in the minors this year no matter what, but he seems to be a perfect example of a guy you want to see early and often in spring training games.

Also, thanks Phil

Another outing or two like this for Guzman and he should be Cubs history. We've kept that guy around altogether too long.

Bravo...well said. I'd rather have Mike Weurtz a million times over than Guzman, or a number of other relievers.

Bradley DH Wed, play the field Friday...

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/rumors/post/Bradley-wi...

Bruce Miles defending Soriano...
http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=276170

soriano needs defending?

who hates soriano? he's one of the most positive clubhouse guys in the game.

You must've missed his previous article: "Ernie Banks: Not as Big of a Douchebag as You Think".

haha

apparently you missed the 8,000 comments on the Internet that he's a selfish prick for not moving down in the order....

oh, i ignored that crap given that he's said himself he would for like 2 seasons now.

i think everyone knows he prefers to hit 1st, but it's ultimately up to the manager and soriano's been trying to live that "must hit first" crap down since he learned the hard way in WAS that his demand was wearing thin.

Recent comments

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  • Even from an on-field perspective, Torres is a 19-year-old beating up High-A pitching who also plays a great SS. Even if he never develops a legit MLB power stroke, he's still an obvious 4-tool guy with a very high floor. Sucks to trade away his next 6-8 years for a closer, albeit a great one.

    John Beasley 20 min 8 sec ago view
  • "Like the Chapman deal for Cubs from on-field POV, wish I didn't now have to feel lousy following an otherwise likable Cubs team." @jonahkeri

    pretty much sums up my feelings

    Rob G. 6 hours 29 min ago view
  • You mean Yankees?

    QuietMan 6 hours 33 min ago view
  • Cards lose!

    billybucks 6 hours 40 min ago view
  • You do have a point. The TheoJed certainly would need to address this in a transparent way. Milton Bradley was no help to the team.

    The E-Man 6 hours 52 min ago view
  • FWIW, the Cubs would get a compensation draft pick between the 1st & 2nd rounds (around #35) if they extend a Qualifying Offer to Chapman post-2016 (probably about $17M), Chapman declines, and then he signs with another MLB club before next year's draft. 

    Arizona Phil 6 hours 58 min ago view
  • This all assumes Chapman doesn't want to be a free agent and possibly sign a $20MM+/year deal. We all know free agents get overpaid, sometimes dramatically (Hello, JayHey!). Not sure why Chapman would agree to the extension. If i'm is agent, I would tell him I could get I'm a $100M deal as a FA.

    billybucks 7 hours 6 min ago view
  • I'll root for the uniform and imagine it's left-handed Rod Beck or Randy Myers out there I suppose.

    Rob G. 7 hours 29 min ago view
  • Amen to this. I guess it's gonna happen and I'm gonna have to suck it up but I really despise domestic abusers with every bone in my body and cannot stand them on any team I root for.

    johann 7 hours 38 min ago view
  • I just prefer they don't  acquire players that choke their wives/girlfriends.

    Rob G. 7 hours 41 min ago view
  • So you'd rather go with Blown Save guy, when you can trade a prospect who is blocked for one piece that could get you over the top to the Big Dance? That is pretty old thinking. This is not a move that they cannot recover from if it goes south. But the upside is potentially historic.

    The E-Man 7 hours 51 min ago view
  • I'd prefer it not happen too.

    Rob G. 8 hours 18 min ago view
  • it's a hell of a blockbuster, but it's for a guy who pitches 1/3rd of a season at an extreme premium considering the guy being traded and if the early extension $$$ rumors are true.

    it's one of those things that is bringing a guy at the top his game, but something is nagging me that this trade piece could have been put to better use.

    a huge part of me is all "hell yeah, top of the line producer"...another part of me is "hmm, that for that?"

    crunch 8 hours 21 min ago view
  • Still don't want. Kinda hope they can't work out the extension.

    Charlie 8 hours 33 min ago view
  • obviously not, and I'm sure they did their homework...just hope they have some better answers than the Yankees

    Rob G. 8 hours 33 min ago view
  • Chapman 12+ Career WAR. Currently 4.7:1 k-BB. With Rondon/Chapman/Strop/Nathan/Montgomery/Wood...Its the best pen I can recall other than Sutter or Lee Smith handling things themselves.

    Its gonna suck if he gets injured, and it appears he's not the greatest of characters.

    But, he'll have another Cuban to hang out with on the team.

    The E-Man 8 hours 55 min ago view