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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  • I think with Hammels and Hendricks struggles the 2nd half we forget how dominate of 1st halves they had and how many games they won us as the offense was struggling. We also forget they are back of the rotation guys and we can't be expecting ace quality there.

  • Maybe it's just Werth & Ross I'm noticing. Weird.

  • CRAIG: Jose Albertos is not chunky like Fernando. He's built more like Dylan Cease. Exact same body type. And his delivery is free & easy. He's definitely not a "max effort" guy.   

  • Hendricks after 50 MLB starts: 17-11, 3.45 ERA, 1.12 WHIP. Not bad for a #5 starter. He may be a 6-inning max guy, but, if he can keep those stats up, I will gladly take it.

    Speaking of WHIP -- last year, he was tied for 11th in the NL. Tied with Hammel.
    Last year's NL rank in WHIP: Arrietta 2nd, Lester 9th, Haren 10th, Hammel T11th, Hendricks T11th. Wow.

  • I went to a Nats game in DC two years ago while looking at colleges with my son -- it's a fun park, worth a visit if you are in the area.

    I also saw the "slowness" thing -- particularly Werth, who would mosey out of RF about 5 seconds before the inning started.

    Weird.

  • It's Dusty's fault. It'll be the end of them.

  • Speaking of how teams "look", my take on the Nats- It's really weird, but the pace of the entire team seems slow. Slow walking to the plate, slow on the mound, even on some routine groundouts, it looked as if there wasn't a ton of hustle. Don't get me wrong, when the ball is hit to their outfielders, they get after the ball, I'm really referring to non-critical action- they mosey around. It's kind of odd. Maybe that "calm power" is part of the Nats ethos, idk.

  • My favorite moment of Hendricks' performance last night was the last strikeout he rung up- the cajones it took to throw a high, 86MPH fastball to Zimmerman on a 0-2 count. And he swung the bat like it was a 96MPH heater. I literally laughed out loud.

  • In listening to Maddon's post-game, he is interested in how these other teams "look" to him. He is assessing for today...and tomorrow. I love this guy.

    One observation from last night: Joe Ross is incredibly slow. 20-30 seconds between pitches at times. Hendrix had a nice, peppy rhythm which is great to see.

    I know there are plenty of purists here which I applaud, but the game just will not sustain itself unless change of pace rules come into play. Pitch clock, improve the shit-ass reviews, mound visits (there is a clock for this), batter time outs, etc.

  • Thanks, Phil. Albertos at 17, and having gotten a good signing bonus ($1.5, even though as Mexican prospect I think his team gets half of that?), throwing in the 90's and showing some command of a curveball sounds pretty interesting, even if that control is only for a dozen-pitch sample.

    What kind of a frame does he have? Is he on the stocky and short-ish side (I'm recalling Fernando Valenzuela!), or somewhat taller? A lot of 17-year olds have projection, "when he fills out" projection. Would that apply at all for Albertos?

  • A-Team

  • Ha

  • I definitely hang around here looking to reply to your comments as noticed by my nearly year long absence.

    there's a fine line between posting something relevant, useful or at least humorous versus posting something irrelevant, useless or unfunny...actually it's rather quite a thick line and easy to see for most people not named crunch.

  • I certainly am digging the RISP machine Zobrist version.

  • Cubs are taking advantage of bad D by their opponents -- did it a few times in PIT and the Nats botched 2-out rundown leads to 3 Cub runs in the 8th. Which were nice to have.

    I hope Kyle had fun at the dance party -- he was terrific.