Cubs Drop 5-3 Decision to Brewers in Mesa

The Cubs left the bases loaded in the bottom of the 7th and in the bottom of the 8th, as a split squad of Milwaukee Brewers hung-on for a 5-3 Cactus League victory in front of a sparse crowd at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in cool & sunny Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.

box score

Randy Wells got the start for the Cubs, and he pitched well, throwing two shutout innings (23 pitches - 14 strikes 3/2 GO/FO). He struck out one while allowing just two harmless singles, with one of the runners being erased when Wells induced Ryan Braun to rap into an inning-ending DP. 

Competing with several others for a job in the starting rotation, Andrew Cashner followed Wells to the hill and struggled with his command, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk in 2.0 IP (42 pitches - 25 strikes). Cashner did not rack up any strikeouts today, but he did throw one wild pitch, and he also commited a throwing error on an errant pick-off attempt at 1st base. 

Jay Jackson had an easy 1-2-3-4 inning (he had to get four outs thanks to a Jeff Baker dropped infield pop-up that prolonged the inning). 

Kerry Wood had a poor outing, allowing two runs on three hits (a single, a double, and a triple) in one inning (19 pitches - 13 strikes). Wood's control was a bit out of whack in his "live" BP session at Fitch Park last week, and he just didn't look comfortable on the mound today, either.

Both John Gaub and (especially) Chris Carpenter had control issues. Gaub allowed a run on two hits, a walk, and a WP in the 6th, and while Carpenter did pitch a shutout inning in the top of the 7th, he walked two and threw 22 pitches (but only nine for strikes).

Sean Marshall had a 1-2-3 9th that featured outstandng defensive plays by SS Augie Ojeda (ranging behind 2nd base to corral a grounder seemingly headed for CF before making a strong throw to 1st to cut down the batter-runner) and CF Fernando Perez (a diving catch in right-center).  

There wasn't a whole lot of Cub offense today. Tyler Colvin ripped a triple into the RF corner to score Reed Johnson (who had led-off the bottom of the 1st with a single) with the Cubs first run, Alfonso Soriano doubled and scored on a two-out line-drive RBI single by Scott Moore in the 6th, and pinch-hitter Bobby Scales walked with the bases loaded to force-in a run in the bottom of the 7th. (Bryan Lahair followed Scales to the plate and had a chance to perhaps tie the game or maybe even give the Cubs the lead, but he struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch to close the inning and leave the bases loaded).

The Cubs loaded the bases again in the bottom of the 8th. Scott Moore and Welington Castillo lined singles to the outfield (both Moore and W. Castillo had two hits today), and after Fernando Perez walked with two outs, Augie Ojeda was robbed of what would have been a bases-clearing extra-base hit when Brewers speedy CF D'Vontrey Richardson made a fine running catch in right-center to close out the inning. The Cubs then went down quietly in the bottom of the 9th.

The Cubs play the San Francisco Giants at Scottsdale Stadium tomorrow.



Something to keep in mind about the Cactus League box scores at is that the pitch counts attributed to the pitchers are way-off, not even close to being accurate. I have noticed this problem in the box scores for both Cubs games so far.

AZ Phil: Thanks for the update.

I noticed JJackson was lifted for Adducci when the cubs stranded a runner at 3B.

You have menioned that JJ is an excellent hitter, so I was curious
if you were ever thinking they would just let him hit?

Also, since the team has been pathetic the last two years at picking up runners in scoring position, do you believe Quade will give preference to the bubble players who can buck this trend?

the fact they didn't let him hit says to me they might be using him as a reliever rather than stretching him out as a starter...meh...

that said...he's probably one of the best hitting pitchers the cubs have on any level (seriously...well, Z might have the power edge, heh).

i hope the substitution simply points to quade/cubs finding work for people this spring and they don't plan on using him in the pen in AAA 2011.

And to give Adduci a shot to get an RBI.

JJax, Cashner, Carpenter, and Coleman should start in AAA.

I heard Hendry on the broadcast say, "Andrew will be given every chance to make the team...blah...blah...blah.".

Time will tell.

Cashner walking people in the seventh would not be a good utilization of him in 2011

Submitted by The E-Man on Mon, 02/28/2011 - 8:21pm.
AZ Phil: Thanks for the update.

I noticed JJackson was lifted for Adducci when the cubs stranded a runner at 3B.

You have menioned that JJ is an excellent hitter, so I was curious
if you were ever thinking they would just let him hit?

Also, since the team has been pathetic the last two years at picking up runners in scoring position, do you believe Quade will give preference to the bubble players who can buck this trend?


E-MAN: I think the Cubs allow pitchers to hit in Cactus League Spring Training games only if they are being primed to be starting pitchers at the big league level and/or if the pitcher is staying in the game to pitch another inning.

Although they both will likely end up in the starting rotation at Iowa, at present it appears that the Cubs see both Jay Jackson and Chris Carpenter only as candidates for the bullpen should they make the big club, but once they are sent to Minor League Camp (and I think both of them will be in the first cut) I would expect them to get stretched out as starting pitchers and then they will get some ABs in games, too.

But Jay Jackson is a very good hitter. He's kind of a right-handed Rick Ankiel (back when Ankiel was still a promising young pitcher).

I'm not really sure what Quade is looking for in his five bench players. At present it is almost a given that the five will be Koyie Hill (back-up catcher), Jeff Baker (2B-3B-1B-LF-RF-RHPH), Darwin Barney (SS-2B-3B-RHPH-PR), Tyler Colvin (RF-CF-LF-1B-LHPH), and either Reed Johnson or Fernando Perez (RHPH and late inning defensive replacement for Soriano if it's Johnson, and PR, SWPH, and late inning defensive replacement for Soriano if it's Perez).

As I have mentioned before, the Cubs could opt to keep an offensive-first C-1B-RHPH like Max Ramirez (who is out of minor league options) as a third catcher, but that would mean either Jeff Baker or Johnson/Perez doesn't make the team, and right now I think Baker is a virtual lock and either Johnson or Perez are near-locks, although Colvin could function as the late-inning defensive replacement for Soriano if the Johnson/Perez slot is junked. I just don't see Koyie Hill not making the team as the back-up catcher, and there is no way the Cubs will go with an 11-man pitching staff.

There is always the chance that somebody like Max Ramirez, Scott Moore, or Brad Snyder could have a huge Spring Training and force himself onto the Opening Day 25-man roster at the expense of Johnson/Perez, but I suspect for guys like M. Ramirez, Moore, and Snyder to really have a chance to stick around, a position player already assured of a roster slot will have to get hurt in Spring Training.

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