Silva Bullet Can't Stop Sox
Carlos Quentin slugged a two-run homer in the top of the 1st and a three run home run in the top of the 2nd, giving the White Sox a lead they would never relinquish, as the Sox demolished the Cubs 15-3 in front of 12,712 fans and a national TV audience on WGN this afternoon at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny Mesa.
Acquired from the Seattle Mariners for Milton Bradley this past off-season, Carlos Silva got the start for the Cubs today and he is who we thought he was, allowing six runs on seven hits (including two Carlos Quentin home runs) in just two innings of work (43 pitches - 28 strikes, 0 BB, 2 K, 2/2 GO/FO).
Carlos Marmol worked the top of the 3rd and pitched great (1-2-3 inning: 3-U, Ks, Ks, 13 pitches - 11 strikes).
Down 6-0 at the start of the bottom of the 3rd, the Cubs mounted a rally, scoring three runs off Sox starter Dan Hudson, who was extended into the 3rd inning after facing only six batters through the first two. With one out, Geovany Soto laced a single, and Bobby Scales was hit by a pitch (the second HBP for Scales in two days). Ryan Theriot singled to load the bases, and then Kosuke Fukudome came through with a two-run ground single through the box into CF to score Soto and Scales and send Theriot to 3rd. Derrek Lee then got The Riot home with a line drive sac fly to right.
And that was the extent of the Cubs scoring today.
But the White Sox certainly were not finished.
LHP James Russell worked the 4th & 5th (36 pitches - 23 strikes, 3/1 GO/FO) and pitched well, allowing one unearned run (LF Alfonso Soriano over-ran a ball while trying to field a base hit with two outs in the 5th, allowing a runner to score all the way from 1st), two hits and a walk, with two strikeouts (including the fearsome Carlos Quentin).
Cubs 2008 #1 draft pick RHP Andrew Cashner pitched the 6th and 7th, and after a skittish first inning (25 pitches - only 11 strikes, with two walks on nine pitches to the first two batters he faced), Cashner settled-down and threw strikes in his 2nd inning (10 pitches - 8 strikes). Cashner allowed just one run (one of the walks scored in the 6th), but he was helped out the jam by a savvy pick-off at 2nd base by catcher Welington Castillo. On the play SS Andres Blanco suffered what appeared to be a right knee injury, and had to leave the game.
RHP Jeff Kennard entered the game in the top of the 8th with the Cubs down 8-3, and it was just plain excrutiating to watch. Kennard surrendered back-to-back home runs to Sox minor leaguers Brandon Short and Cole Armstrong to start the inning, and then after loading the bases on a single and two walks, Kennard gave up a bases-loaded two run single to another minor leaguer (Christian Marrero). At this point, Cubs Manager Lou Piniella made the slow walk to the mound and Kennard suffered a pitcher's worst Spring Training indignity... getting yanked out of a game without completing even one inning of work. For the day, Kennard allowed four runs on four hits (two HR) and two walks, with two strikeouts, throwing 37 pitches - only 18 strikes, in just 2/3 of an inning.
Mitch Atkins was brought in to complete the inning, and he struck out the only man he faced (Jordan Danks).
LHP John Grabow pitched the 9th (20 pitches - 12 strikes, 1 K, 0/2 GO/FO), and he was not a whole lot better than Kennard, allowing a single, a double, and then a three-run HR (to Jayson Nix). But at least Grabow finished his inning.
For the Cubs, Ryan Theriot and Geovany Soto had two hits a piece (all singles), but Theriot also hit into a rally-killing 4-6-3 DP with two on and no outs in the 5th. And after starting the Cactus League schedule 5-6 with three doubles, a single, and a home run, Tyler Colvin cooled-off a bit by going 0-2 with a strikeout (swinging) and a game-ending 6-4-3 DP.
The Cubs have a split squad doubleheader tomorrow, one game a rematch with the White Sox at Camelback Ranch and the other a home game versus the Dodgers at HoHoKam Park. RHP Jeff Samardzija and LHP Tom Gorzelanny are scheduled to start the games, although weather could be a problem, since rain is forecast with temperatures in the 50's. I believe one of the two games will be televised by WGN-TV, but I'm not sure which one.