Cubs Roll Nine Spot
Brad Snyder smacked a grand slam home run and Bobby Scales batted twice and drove in three runs with two singles to highlight a nine-run 7th, as the Cubs shutout the White Sox 13-0 before an all-time record crowd of 13,010 at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park this afternoon in hot & sunny Mesa, Arizona.
The Cubs were held hitless through the first three innings, before they mounted a two-out rally in the bottom of the 4th against Sox right-hander Ehren Wassermann.
Mike Fontenot lined a single to center and Brad Snyder roped a single to right, before Koyie Hill slammed a double off the right field fence, driving in both runners and giving the Cubs a 2-0 lead.
The Cubs scored twice more with one out in the bottom of the 5th off Octavio Dotel, as Aaron Miles bounced a "seeing-eye" 15-hopper through box into centerfield, and Derrek Lee lined a "knucleball" single in front of Jermaine Dye in right. Micah Hoffpauir followed with a line single to right that plated Miles and sent D-Lee to 3rd, and then Lee scored on a 5-4 FC RBI by Aramis Ramirez.
The Cubs finished their scoring in the 7th, as Sox right-hander Adam Russell had one of those Innings from Hell a pitcher can experience sometimes in a Spring Training game.
Jake Fox got the inning started, as he was hit by a pitch. Hoffpauir then roped a single to right, before Aramis Ramirez reached base on an E-6 by Sox shortstop Brent Lillibridge on what should have been a "room service" DP ball. Bobby Scales lined a bases-loaded single to left-center to score Fox, and then Brad Snyder crushed a grand slam to deep right-center, giving the Cubs a 9-0 lead. (There is a contest in the bottom of the 7th, where some lucky fan can win $500 from one of the local Indian casinos if a Cubs player hits a grand slam...).
But the Cubs weren't done yet!
Welington Castillo drew a walk, and Sam Fuld and Doug Deeds singled to load the bases. Andres Blanco then singled to drive in two runs, and after Fox popped out and Steve Clevenger struck out, Luis Rivas drew a walk to reload the bases, and Scales followed with still another bases-loaded line-drive RBI single, this time driving in two runs.
All of the scoring overshadowed a fine group performance by the Cubs Pitchers.
Aaron Heilman got the start and was masterful, working two innings (22 pitches - 17 strikes - 2/0 GO/FO), allowing just one ground ball hit while striking out four and walking none. His sinker looked very good.
Kevin Gregg (19 pitches - 12 strikes 1/1 GO/FO) allowed a double while striking out one in his one inning of work, and Neal Cotts (20 pitches - 11 strikes - 0/3 GO/FO) labored a bit while allowing a hit (also a double) and a walk in his inning.
Rule 5 pick David Patton only threw nine pitches in the 5th, so Manager Lou Piniella sent him out for a second inning. Patton was (like Heilman) a strike machine today (26 pitches - 21 strikes), allowing just a harmless single while stiking out two
Ken Kadokura nibbled his way through the 7th (27 pitches - only 14 strikes), allowing a hit and a walk, but Jason Waddell got through the 8th in about two minutes, throwing only six pitches (resulting in one ground out and two fly outs).
Esmailin Caridad worked a scoreles 9th (17 pitches - 12 strikes - 1/1 GO/FO), although his outing was extended a bit longer than it should have gone when he committed a throwing error on an easy comebacker to the mound. But Caridad has good stuff and works fast, and he looks like he could be ready to pitch in the big leagues right now.
On defense, Doug Deeds made a fine catch crashing into the wall in LF in the 8th.
The Cubs are now 4-0 in Cactus League play, and will travel to Peoria tomorrow to play the San Diego Padres.
Trouble Boys, the Replacements bio, is a great option. I'm sure Chad loved it.
Amen Brick. What's the point of following early-season games if you can't over-react to them? What, we should be reading books now?
"Weren't the National considered a near lock last year?"
No, I think you're thinking of Radiohead, The 1975, or Bowie's last album.
Although The National's Greatful Dead tribute is pretty cool.
I don't think they're any kind of lock, though I do expect they'll make the playoffs.
It's not like I'm glad they've gone 4-8. I just don't think it's time to be all that worried -- just like I didn't think they were going to keep playing .730 ball.
vegas isn't a fan of the game because of how erratic and unpredictable it is.
SF has recently won 3 world series many thought they weren't supposed to win...BOS won a world series recently that they weren't even supposed to be in the playoffs for...favored teams with huge wins have seen 1st round exists...fun times.
I think they'll be ok too. But having watched this team since the mid-60s, I never think it's time to conclude, well, thank god the drought is over. I've seen/heard way too many people who follow the Cubs say glad we're finally going to win the Series this year. Please. Weren't the National considered a near lock last year?
Best record in baseball and largest division lead.
I'm jumping right now!
Can we please stop pointing out how ridiculous it is to panic and start panicking in earnest?
,571 winning percentage in May.
I think they're gonna be OK.
RAISIN: All I know is that Oscar de la Cruz is still shut down, and I don't know what his prognosis is, or what the plan is going forward.
Remember just two weeks ago, when "all" they had to do was play .500 ball the rest of the season and coast into the playoffs?
Well I guess if pitchers can keep working the edges of the plate to perfection it will be a long season. But that doesn't seem likely. Rizzo finally, fully, snapping out of it would help.
If I didn't believe in coincidences (or science), I would apologize to Gordon Downie--one of my favorites. Sad news about a great talent.
Hi Arizona Phil,
Has there been any news on Oscar de la Cruz' health?
O&B: Cease was apparently working on his off-speed pitches in his first & thrd innings, because in his second inning of work he just blew the D'backs away with high-velocity gas (that's when he hit 99-100 and struck out the side).