Snyder Doubles Cubs Pleasure

Brad Snyder crushed a game-winning two-run double off the CF Batter's Eye in the bottom of the 9th, scoring Bobby Scales from second base with the tying run and Sam Fuld from first with the winning run, as the Cubs edged the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-7 in Cactus League action in front of 11,775 fans under sunny skies (65 degrees) at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa this afternoon.

box score

The Cubs fielded a starting lineup today that featured three of their recent #1 draft picks (LF Tyler Colvin, 3B Josh Vitters, and CF Brett Jackson) and their #1 position player prospect (SS Starlin Castro), but only one front-line big league position player (2B Jeff Baker, presuming one considers Baker a starter). But the Diamondbacks brought Justin Upton, Adam LaRoche, and Mark Reynolds up from Tucson to hit 3-4-5 in their lineup.

Carlos Zambrano was the Cubs starting pitcher, and (like Randy Wells yesterday) he threw two perfect innings (28 pitches - 18 strikes), mowing down the D'backs 4-3, 3-U, 6-3 (Upton), Ks (LaRoche), F-8 (Reynolds), and 5-3.

Dan Haren got the start for Arizona, and he also threw two shutout/hitless innings and faced only six batters. (Kevin Millar walked leading off the bottom of the 2nd inning, but was erased on a "strike 'em out/throw 'em out" when Josh Vitters fanned swinging).

And the game remained scoreless going into the bottom of the 5th, as NRI RHP Casey Coleman (the Cubs 2009 Minor League Player of the Year) threw two impressive shutout innings (27 pitches - 17 strikes, 3/2 GO/FO), striking out one and walking none while allowing just a two-out Chris Young PH double in the 3rd, and Jeff Stevens struck out the side (Mark Reynolds-Chris Snyder-Ryan Roberts) in a 1-2-3 top of the 5th.

Ex-Cub Aaron Heilman, who was traded to Arizona during the off season for two minor leaguers, entered the game for the D'backs in the bottom of the 5th and really got lit-up. Josh Vitters led-off with a line single to right-center, and scored the game's first run when Brett Jackson tripled off the CF "Green Monster." The ball did a ricochet off the Batter's Eye into LF, and Jackson almost ran up Vitters' ass coming around second base headed for third. It looked like Jackson probably could have had an easy inside-the-park-HR, but 3rd base coach Mike Quade held him up at 3rd (much to the chagrin of the fans). Koyie Hill followed with a vicious line-drive single that caromed off Heilman's foot and landed in short LF, scoring Jackson. After Jeff Stevens struck out failing to lay down a bunt, Starlin Castro singled to right-center, sending K. Hill to 3rd. Jeff Baker walked to load the bases, and then Tyler Colvin (who had roped a double over the right-fielder's head in the bottom of the 4th) pulled a sharply-hit single between first & second, scoring Hill and Castro with the third and fourth runs of the inning, while sending Baker to 3rd. The inning ended when Baker was thrown out at home 8-2 trying to score on a Kevin Millar fly out to CF. (Baker quite obviously left early from third, but he got thrown out anyway).

The Snakes came right back in the top of the 6th, as their first two batters reached on fielding miscues. (CF Brett Jackson lost a routine fly ball in the sun on what was scored a double, and then 2B Matt Camp booted an easy grounder for an E-4). Stevens (working a second inning after throwing 16 pitches in his first inning) did not handle the adversity very well, as he then gave up a Tony Abreu RBI single to left, a walk to Gerardo Parra to load the bases, and a gargantuan Justin Upton grand slam that hit off the top of the scoreboard, thereby unloading the bases. Stevens was allowed to pitch to two more batters (a screaming line-drive to LF and fly ball to the warning track in CF), before John Gaub entered the game to get the final out of the inning on a ball that bounced off his body and then back to the catcher, resulting in a somewhat unusual 1-2-3 GO. Stevens finished with a line of 1.2 IP, 3 H, 5 R (4 ER), 1 BB, 3 K, and 1 HR, 42 pitches - 24 strikes, 0/2 GO/FO.

Gaub also pitched the 7th inning and allowed a long lead-off HR over the LF fence to D'Backs utility infielder Ryan Roberts, but struck out the final two hitters he faced. Gaub is the protypical LOOGY (lefty specialist), but he faced only one LH hitter today (Brandon Allen, who he retired on a routine 4-3 GO). Gaub labored through his 1.1 IP, going to full counts on several hitters (31 pitches - 20 strikes, 2/0 GO/FO).

The Cubs threatened but did not score in the bottom of the 7th, as Starlin Castro hammered a one-out ground-rule double to deep right-center (it was hit to exactly the same spot his triple was hit yesterday, and this one would have been a triple, too, if the ball hadn't bounced off the rock-hard warning track and then up & over the fence), but was left stranded after Matt Camp flied out to CF (Castro advanced to 3rd) and James Adduci grounded out 4-3.

RHP Marcos Mateo worked the top of the 8th for the Cubs, allowing a ground ball single and a HBP, but no runs (14 pitches - 9 strikes, 3/0 GO/FO).

Down 6-4 going into the bottom of the 8th, the Cubs rallied to tie the score off Diamonbacks LHRP Clay Zavada. With one out, Brad Snyder fisted a single to right, and advanced to second on a Vitters rope-single to left (his second hit of the day). Brett Jackson reached base for the 4th time (two walks, a triple, and a HBP for B. Jackson today) when he was hit by a pitch on the upper right shoulder by Zavada, loading the bases, and then Chris Robinson lined an RBI single to CF to score Snyder, leaving the bases loaded with out. James Adduci was up next, and he ripped a low line-drive to RF that Collin Cowgill snagged with a spectacular diving catch, but Vitters had a brain fart and forgot to tag up (he ran for home as soon as the ball was hit), so he did not score. But Darwin Barney got Vitters off the goat horns, drawing a bases-loaded walk on a 3-1 pitch to force-in a run and tie the score at six. Matt Camp then struck out (swinging) with the bases-loaded to end the inning.

RHP Justin Berg entered the game for the Cubs in the top of the 9th, and promptly allowed a Cole Gillespie HR over the LF fence that gave the Diamondbacks the lead. Berg then retired then next three batters in order, but the damage was done. (19 pitches - 12 strikes for Berg today)

So the Cubs entered the bottom of the 9th needing one run to tie, and two to win. With D'backs RHRP Esmerling Vasquez on the mound, PH Bobby Scales (batting LH) led-off the inning and was immediately drilled with a pitch. Micah Hoffpauir followed with a hard-hit ground-single to RF that just missed hitting Scales, such that Scales had to hold-up at 2nd base. Sam Fuld was sent-in to PR for Hoffpauir, and then hitting with a 3-2 count, Snyder apparently got the pitch he was looking for, hammering it off the CF Batter's Eye to give the Cubs the victory.

The Cubs face the White Sox tomorrow at HoHoKam Park, in a game that is supposed to be televised on WGN-TV. Newly-acquired RHP Carlos Silva (obtained by the Cubs from Seattle in the Milton Bradley deal) is scheduled to get the start for the Cubs, presuming the game does not interfere with lunch.


Thanks for the recap. Nice finishing touch.

Woo, real baseball again, woo!! Can't wait 'til I get to Mesa at the end of the month for some ballgames and golf. Always a good time in Phoenix in March.

OK, with Guzman (predictably?) injured again, count me as real concerned about the 2010 Cubs bullpen. Who the hell can reliably take the ball besides Marmol, Grabow and I suppose (if he doesn't start) Marshall? A bucket full of untested minor leaguers?

My left field idea is....isn't John Smoltz still unsigned? Would he be agreeable to bullpen work instead of starting? He does have an excellent track record as a reliever after all.

And of course, thanks for the daily recaps AZ Phil, you're the man.

Smoltz has an excellent record as a reliever.

Of course, so does Bruce Sutter.

It isn't very likely that either of them would be much help today.

Thanks PHIL.

And, this is a one of your finest lines:

"Carlos scheduled to get the start for the Cubs, presuming the game does not interfere with lunch."


anyone know much about Adeiny Hechevarria, another 19 yr old Cuban SS about to go to the highest bidder. Supposedly the Cubs are in the mix.

Az Phil, has Fitch filled back up with minor leaguers yet?

Submitted by Hagsag on Sat, 03/06/2010 - 8:37am.
Az Phil, has Fitch filled back up with minor leaguers yet?


HAGSAG: Pitchers & catchers have reported, and everybody else reports on Tuesday, although some of the infielders & outfielders have already arrived.

"Vitters had a brain fart and forgot to tag up (he ran for home as soon as the ball was hit)"

Such a little league mistake. I hope his dad got in his face and reamed him for that one.

trot nixon isn't a cub. =p

No news on Guzman as of the completion of the Bruce Levine Talking Baseball show (noon, chicago). Expect the MRI report to be discussed on the game telecast today (it's on WGN-TV).

Wittenmeyer tweets it's a torn ligament. Career could be over.

F-uck. Bad few months for Guzman.


Recent comments

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  • has some interesting stats/graphs on pitch and strike zones and you can dial up individual games/pitchers. I'd love to see some comments from readers who can interpret this better than I can. I thought the Ump was really inconsistent with a very wide zone. Does this info seem to match up with my eyeball perception?

    Here is Lackey/Lester from last night. It seems their box is a bit different than the K-Zone TBS was using.

    Here is Lester's data:

  • AZ Phil: Agree, this must have been a really fun game to watch. There was a lot of base stealing going on. Are the pitchers not holding runners or is the catching still a work in progress?

  • Cuzzi has long been known as having the biggest strike zone among all umpires.

  • AZ Phil, give me a scouting report on Chris Pieters since he has become a 1B/OF.

  • I think it's probably hard to adjust to an ump's zone mid-game, as least for hitters. Pitchers can locate to an ump's zone, but hitters have minimal time to react.

    But, whatever. Umps are going to miss calls. Let's beat up on the non-Lackey starters.

  • Watched a little of Mets-Dodgers.

    Jason deGrom -- oh, my.

  • Cubs 3-4-5 hitters are 0-21 so far in the post-season.

    Let's change that in a big effin' way tomorrow, boys.

  • Considering how players reacted it seemed pretty accurate high and wide (to righties), but not so accurate low and in. I thought the strike zone by the ump was awful, but it was consistent and the Cubs never adjusted.

    Rizzo and Bryant need to have good at bats. They are really looking outclassed in these two games.

  • that game sounds fun as hell.

  • I was just wondering the same thing. I'd rather not see it at all. If it's inaccurate, it's a bad viewer experience. If it's accurate, it shows some shitty calling by the umpire.

  • TBS' K Zone seems to be more harsh than the others.

    I wonder if MLB will ask the networks to stop using them. They just make the umps, and the game, look bad, and it only pisses off the fans.

  • ...joe.

  • "Strop vs. Cardinals." Seen the movie. Hated it.

    Not all that disappointed -- I didn't think they would beat Lackey in Game 1. Need to get the bats going against the guys with less experience -- and they hit Wacha pretty good.

  • Rizzo has been slumping the last couple weeks of the season. Very disappointed it has continued during his penultimate moment of his career to date.

  • Really doesn't matter, but I was surprised to see Lester pulled and Strop pulled in. Should of left Lester in. oy.

  • Sweet merciful fuck, I hate the Cardinals.