Spoiler Alert --- Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Cubs Win!

I know many of you probably watched today's game on WGN, but for those of you who didn't, or for those of you who did but weren't paying attention....

Reed Johnson slugged a two-run PH home run in the bottom of th 4th to break a 2-2 tie, and the Cubs defeated the Padres 5-3 at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park before a Cactus League record crowd of 13,262 in hot & sunny Mesa.

box score

Iowa Cubs RHP Mitch Atkins got the start today, and went two innings. Pitching under no presssure (Atkins was optioned to AAA earlier this week), the young right-hander labored through two innings of work (52 pitches - 30 strikes), allowing two unearned runs.

Atkins should have been out of the 1st inning 1-2-3, but a two-out bobble by second-baseman Mike Fontenot allowed Chase Headley (that's Headley, not Hedy) to reach base, and then Mongo (Kyle Blanks) launched a two-run HR over the LF fence. Atkins walked the next two batters after the long ball, but escaped further damage, although he did need 36 pitches (while throwing only half for strikes) to complete the inning.

Atkins had an easier second frame (16 pitches - 12 strikes), finishing strong with two strikeouts (Chris Burke called & David Eckstein swinging).

The Cubs scored a run in the bottom of the 1st off Padres starter RHP Kevin Correia (ex-SF). Alfonso Soriano led-off with a single, but was thrown out (easily) trying steal (Soriano got a bad jump off 1st, and he seemed to be favoring one leg while he was running). Ryan Theriot drew a one-out walk, and advanced to 2nd on a ground out. Milton Bradley then lined a two-out single to CF to score The Riot, and took second on an E-8 bobble  by Padres CF Emil Brown. Aramis Ramirez followed that with an infield single to short, but Bradley ran through 3rd base coach Mike Quade's "stop" sign and was caught drop-dead cold just a few feet past 3rd base (made a third out at third base again) as SS Everth Cabrera threw behind Bradley. (And this was not the first brain cramp by Bradley on the bases this Spring, either). Like I've said before, this is going to be a long year...

This is the point in Spring Training when Cubs Manager Lou Piniella likes to have his relievers try to throw more than one inning in a game at least one time, so Carlos Marmol relieved Atkins and worked the third and fourth innings (six up, six down - 24 pitches - 4/1 GO/FO). Marmol only threw 13 strikes, but nobody hit the ball hard off him in either inning.

The Cubs tied the game in the bottom of the 3rd when Soriano singled (again), and advanced to 3rd on a beautiful hit & run single by Theriot, who punched the ball right to the spot just vacated by 2nd baseman David Eckstein (who broke to 2nd base to cover). Micah Hoffpauir then roped an L-7 SF (Hoffpauir's MLB-leading 18th Spring Training RBI) that was hit so hard it almost went over Headley's head(ley) to score Soriano.

The Cubs took the lead in the bottom of the 4th, when, with two outs, Sam Fuld walked and PH Reed Johnson (batting for Marmol) followed with what would prove to be the game-winning HR. 

Kevin Gregg worked the 5th inning and into the 6th (1.1 IP, 28 pitches total), allowing just a two-out single in the 5th. Esteban German mishandled a grounder and then made a bad throw to 1st base for an error (I guess you could call it either a fielding error or a throwing error--take your pick) to start the 6th, but Gregg struck out the next batter, Emil Brown. Piniella then brought in lefty reliever Jason Waddell to face lefty-swinging Chris Snelling, and the Australian ripped a line-drive that was certainly headed for the RF corner. But somehow, someway,1st baseman Micah Hoffpauir caught the ball with a leaping stab, doubling off Kyle Blanks at 1st base forr an unassisted inning-ending DP (and next time you come by, bring my stomach!).

Waddell came back out for the top of the 7th, but got yanked after walking lead-off hitter Nick Hundley on five pitches. Angel Guzman was then brought into the game, and had his best outing of 2009, retiring all six men he faced (22 pitches- 15 strikes), on three easy ground balls and three strikeouts (Brett Dowdy, Matt Antonelli, and Chase Headley). When Gooz trusts his stuff and throws strikes, he gets outs. .  

The Cubs scored their final run in the bottom of the 7th, when Theriot led off with a single, and then PR Andres Blanco advanced to 2nd on a wild pitch, before scoring on a two-out RBI single chopped through the infield by Esteban German.

Kevin Hart had struck out nine of the last 11 men he had faced coming into today's game, but struggled with his command in the 9th while trying to get the save. Hart hit the first two batters he faced (Drew Macias and Chad Huffman) to bring the tying run to the plate, but the right-hander recovered to get a 4-6-3 DP (thanks to a strong relay throw to first by DP middleman Andres Blanco). Everth Cabrera then grounded a triple into the RF corner to drive-in Macias from third, but Hart got Dowdy for the final out of the game on a pop-up to short RF that was caught by So Taguchi while battling the afternoon sun. 

Four Cubs had two hits each today, including Ryan Theriot (who also reached base a third time with a walk), Alfonso Soriano, Milton Bradley, and Aramis Ramirez, and eagle-eye Sam Fuld walked twice while playing a stellar CF.   

The Cubs travel out to Camelback Ranch tomorrow for a Cactus League game with the cross-town rival White Sox (and with the White Sox now based on the west side of Phoenix, the Cubs and the Sox are actually "cross-town" rivals out here, too!) 

Comments

Like I've said before, this is going to be a long year...

Terrific.

Perhaps we should teach MB the girl's softball method of running the bases - station to station, no rounding! Listening to your coaches would be nice, too...

not to let him off the hook, but hey...the guy was running full out around the bases. it's spring...i'll take the healthy legs over the stupidity. hehe..

If he gets on base at 436 again he can run the bases backwards for all I care.

ahah

yeah.

Good point!

2003-2004 Moises Alou is the gold standard of ridiculous base running in my book. There may have been goofier Cubs base runners, or those from other teams, I just didn't see them. MB has some way to go to match Moises, however early returns aren't good. I've seen (at most) 4 of MBs at bats so far this spring , and 2 running blunders.

Off topic - I'm looking to sign up for a new credit card with benefits, and I was wondering if anyone here on TCR owns a Cubs credit card. I was just looking to find out what perks you get with that card.

I believe the interest rate is always lower at the end of October.

awesome...

I'm number 73,112 on the waiting list.

In the end they never deliver on the perks they promise. That card always disappoints.

Recent comments

Subscribe to Recent comments
The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • How well does he hold on runners?

    #baseballtalk

    Tito 39 sec ago view
  • It's August 26. Cubs with 14 game lead. And not for #1 draft pick.

    Words I never thought I would type together.

    Jackstraw 15 min 49 sec ago view
  • One more victory to ensure a winning season!

    billybucks 2 hours 32 min ago view
  • If I were a betting man

    Give me the Dodgers tonite, not just because of
    Monty on mound.

    Two nights in LA for the kids? Woooo

    /Prove me wrong

    jacos 2 hours 32 min ago view
  • When Scherzer is on his game, he might the the most dominant and intimidating pitcher. A couple of games he has pitched against the Cubs when he had his stuff, and his mound presence was just powerful.

    billybucks 2 hours 33 min ago view
  • So are lack of chances due to the great pitching?

    jacos 2 hours 36 min ago view
  • TLS watch: 0-4 with Iowa last night. Saving his pinch hits for September.

    Cubster 3 hours 25 min ago view
  • Objectively true. Scherzer's FIP is almost a half point higher than his ERA, mostly I deduce because his BABIP is .249 so something ridiculous like that. It's not like the guy can't be scored on, but when I watch him, I sometimes feel that he's the most in control of the game moving around him.

    John Beasley 4 hours 10 min ago view
  • Certainly might be the hottest pitcher right now, but he's behind a few pitchers by most objective full season standards.

    Rob G. 7 hours 24 min ago view
  • Well noted. You may also note that Lester's Career Playoff ERA is almost a full point lower, and he has a lower WHIP as well.

    Can't have everything, I guess.

    The E-Man 12 hours 30 min ago view
  • i'm happy enough with the Lester signing, but Scherzer has more than earned the extra money so far. If he was in the rotation instead of Lester, this team would feel practically bulletproof to me.

    Blaspheme maybe, but I think Scherzer is the best pitcher in the NL right now.

    John Beasley 13 hours 22 min ago view
  • Maddon was pimping Russell for Gold Glove honors recently as a manager should do...

    Here's some defensive numbers:

    Fangraphs

    1. Crawford (22.2)
    2. Seager (16.9)
    3. Cozart (14.2)
    4. Hechavarria (13.5)
    5. Russell (12.4)

    Baseball Reference

    1. B. Crawford 2.3
    2. Russell 2.0
    3. Hechavarria 1.7
    4. N. Ahmed 1.6
    5. Z. Cozart 1.5

    .....

    13.C. Seager 0.7

    Traditional stats

    Crawford

    .978 FP, 11 E, 333 A, 162 PO, 562 Chances, 4.27 RF, 72 DP Turned

    Russell

    Rob G. 13 hours 55 min ago view
  • Let me guess: Land of Contusion? Puppet Prez Reagan mistakenly blows the world up due to a bum thumb?

    Eric S 16 hours 50 min ago view
  • Favorite Genesis video

    https://youtu.be/QHmH1xQ2Pf4

    jacos 17 hours 20 min ago view
  • Twitterverse reporting that Almora's examination by a hand specialist went okay, it's still just a hand contusion.

    Eric S 17 hours 59 min ago view
  • Attaboy, Eloy! Jimenez named Midwest League MVP and Best Prospect.

    Gonzalez and Morrison also honored.

    VirginiaPhil 23 hours 19 min ago view