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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  • this will be his 4th time leading off for the cubs this season

    crunch 1 min 16 sec ago view
  • I don't hate Coghlan as a PHer but he's leading off today which is as bad as Austin Jackson doing so last year. He doesn't even have the speed.

    johann 48 min 4 sec ago view
  • TLS has options. He will be up again in Sept, and maybe earlier.

    Rob Richardson 58 min 46 sec ago view
  • Very odd -- TLS .308/.419 in July (in 26 AB). Strange move for a team struggling to score runs. Hard to imagine Coghlan doing better than that. Maybe they like Coghlan better as a PH?

    billybucks 1 hour 9 min ago view
  • Sorry to nitpick -- but the first game wasn't a save.

    billybucks 1 hour 23 min ago view
  • Wow La Stella sent to Iowa and Coghlan brought up. I'm not a huge Stella fan but he has been hitting lately and is to me better than Coghlan. Neither are good defensively but I guess Coghlan can play the outfield allowing Bryant to stay at 3rd more where he's better.

    johann 1 hour 25 min ago view
  • Not 2nd to last but Cubs are definitely bottom of the pack in the 2nd half in oWAR and wRC+. #1 in dWAR though which is certainly a good sign for the playoffs.

    johann 1 hour 30 min ago view
  • I was going to say that you wouldn't want Heyward to achieve Soriano's OBP--.317 with the Cubs--but now I see that he's already done that. Pitchers have lost their fear of him.

    Oh, well, at least Chapman seems to be as good as advertised.

    VirginiaPhil 1 hour 39 min ago view
  • Thanks to E-man and Quiet Man for the link on Chapman in a previous post. It's funny because I never really noticed Chapman's delivery until I saw him doing it in a blue uniform. Two saves in a Cubs uniform already. I hope they don't need him today, despite that smooth delivery.

    Old and Blue 1 hour 41 min ago view
  • Cubs are middle of the pack in average, 5th in OPS, 2nd in walks, 4th in runs scored in MLB. Their runs scored ranks 17th in the MLB in July.

    Boston, leading everything, continues to rake in July.

    Old and Blue 1 hour 43 min ago view
  • Lester has given up one run or fewer in 11 starts this year. So I'd answer yes. Three of his last four starts were duds, yes. Not worried about him at all. Arrieta is concerning, to be sure. I look it at as, what he was doing was historic, so the regression was bound to happen. He showed in his start against the Mets that he's still capable, and I'd bet on him regaining his form.

    Tito 2 hours 40 min ago view
  • marlins getting a.cashner and c.rea from SD

    crunch 2 hours 46 min ago view
  • This is not an attack...But In what stat are the Cubs second from last in MLB, in hitting? I don't see this.

    Dusty Baylor 3 hours 53 min ago view
  • How odd the stats:

    Cubs 1st in pitching in MLB

    2nd to last in hitting.

    In May they were 1st in both.

    The E-Man 4 hours 9 min ago view
  • trevor clifton (high-A) could be interesting in a couple seasons...could even become a high/middle rotation guy. he's got a lot of pluses in his pitching except control.

    eric leal's (high-A) progression through the minors should be worth watching even if only projects to be an mid/end-rotation starter.

    we also gotta keep a long-distance eye on guys like jose paulino (ss-A) and preston morrison (A).

    crunch 12 hours 48 min ago view
  • As Johnny Bach used to say when it was time for the MJ Bulls to crank up the defensive pressure: "Release the Dobermans!", and Jordan, Pippen, Rodman and Harper would just suffocate the other team.

    I'd love to add Carl Jr. to that group - he's got the stuff.

    billybucks 13 hours 8 min ago view