Soriano Blast Is All Cubs Need

Alfonso Soriano had three hits including a two-run HR and Carlos Silva threw five innings of shutout ball, as the Cubs blanked the Colorado Rockies 2-0 before 10,005 fans in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in breezy & (mostly) sunny Mesa, Arizona, this afternoon.


box score

This was the last Cactus League game for the Cubs, although they will be staying in town for a couple of more days while playing pre-season exhibition games with the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field in Phoenix Friday night and Saturday afternoon.

2010 Opening Day for the Cubs will be Monday in Atlanta.

Carlos Silva got the start for the Cubs today, and Jeff Francis was the starter for the Rockies. Both threw five innings of shutout ball.

Although Silva did not allow a run, he did give up six hits in his 5.0 IP (plus one batter faced in the 6th). He benefitted from some big defensive stops (one of which was Silva himself catching a hot-shot liner on the mound), but he also absolutely shattered a bat into slivers with one of his heavy sinkers. He also retired seven men in a row at one point between the 2nd and the 4th (6-3, P-6, 1-3, Ks, 1-3, F-9, L-7), his best stretch today.

Silva was relieved by Carlos Marmol in the top of the 6th, after allowing a lead-off single to Ryan Spilborghs on his 75th pitch of the game (48 strikes, 5/8 GO/FO). Koyie Hill then threw out Splilborghs trying to steal 2nd base, and Marmol struck out Todd Helton and Troy Tulowitzki (both swinging) to end the inning.

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the 6th, when Derrek Lee roped a lead-off double off Rockies RHRP Matt Daley that sailed over CF Dexter Fowler's head. Then after Aramis Ramirez and Marlon Byrd struck out swinging, Alfonso Soriano clubbed a two-run HR over the LF fence. And that's all the runs the Cubs needed.

Jeff Samardzija faced only two batters in the 7th (L-7 and a single) as Manager Lou Piniella apparently just wanted The Shark to throw two days in a row at least once during Spring Training (Samardzija was moved back to the bullpen last weekend). LHP John Grabow relieved Samardzija with one out and promptly walked lefty-hitting Ian Stewart to put runners on 1st & 2nd, before striking out Jonathan Herrera (looking) and getting PH Jason Giambi on a 3-1 inning-ending ground out.

RHP Jeff Gray was brought up from minor league camp and worked the 8th (21 pitches - 14 strikes), getting into immediate difficulty when he walked Dexter Fowler and allowed a single to Ryan Spilborghs to lead-off the inning. But then Gray retired the next three batters on an F-7, a 9-6 FC (a bloop that fell between Mike Fontenot and Kosuke Fukudome in short RF, but Fukudome was able to quickly pick-up the ball and force the runner at 2nd base), and an inning-ending 4-3 ground out.

Acquired from Oakland in the deal that sent Jake Fox and Aaron Miles to the A's, Gray was a contender for a Cubs bullpen slot coming into Spring Training, but he missed about a month after suffering a strained groin the first day he threw off the mound in February, and he just never got caught up. But he will likely be one the first Iowa relievers considered for recall in case of Cubs bullpen failure.

Esmailin Caridad pitched the 9th (12 pitches - 9 strikes), and induced PH Melvin Mora to bounce into a game-ending 5-4-3 DP after allowing consecutive one-out singles to Eric Young, Jr and Jonathan Herrera that put the potential tying run on base.


thanks again phil...hope you had a good ST season.

I haven't seen Silva pitch this year and I realize he's everyone's dude to hate but I remember another big sinker baller who had a few decent seasons. Wrigley is a good place for a guy with a really good sinker. Hope springs eternal. If Alf can golf a few out over the left field fence this year that would be nice, too, but I'm not convinced yet he can hit a curve ball to save his life. If Rudy can fix that he'll deserve some new award.

He looked okay today. Just okay. I mean at least come to camp in shape, or people will get the impression you just don't give a shit. His stuff, it didn't have a lot of giddyup on it, but he was staying away from the center of the plate. He has a nice, long arms and a nice downward angle to his delivery. It's easy to see why they drive those into the ground.

All in all, I'd say he is almost as good as Marquis. Sweet dreams, TCR.

Thanks, Ryno. Well, I guess that's not so bad for a 5th starter, which Fangraphs argued recently doesn't even really exist.

Thanks Arizona Phil for a wonderful job of bringing spring training to life for all of us.

Now that they've completed their Mesa season, who had the most impressive spring as far as you are concerned, who surprised you the most and who was the biggest disappointment of spring training?


You bring so much original content, knowledge, and detail about the Cubs you can't find anywhere else on the net. Heck even other teams don't get this level of reporting.

You make spring training better for everybody else.

Another ST under the belt and you make it enjoyable AZ PHIL!

Thanks again, and thanks for the Chad Tracy call!

That pretty much sums it up. Thanks for all the detailed reports and 'insider' info.

jake fox once again catching for the A's...this time in the 7th. they really want him to break with the team.

...and the seagulls in SF are swarming the bleachers already in the 8th...

City puts breaks on Toyota sign

but did they fix the accelator pedal?


With S.T. winding down, it will give Az. Phil more time to concentrate on finding the Cubs a couple of "blue chippers" at Extended S.T.

I love all of Phil's reports, but to be honest, the most valuable to me are those in EXT and AFL. Beat reporters cover some of the ST games and activity, but there is just about a complete blackout of the low minors during and after the season.

DavidP, I couldn't agree more.

The only thing that pisses me off about AZ's reporting is that sometimes he forgets to include the attendance figures during those EXT and/or AFL games.

But seriously, yes, there is no other resource I'm aware of regarding the team's minors.

Hagsag - did you get my email reply?

DavidP, I got it.

Arizona Phil or anyone else who'd like to chime in,

I know that Tyler Colvin has zero walks this spring and has a history of low walk totals in his minor-league career. My question is, are there good examples of good/great hitters who have a similar approach at the plate and have been successful? Especially guys who are more of a spray hitter than HR hitter? Most of the guys I can think of like that are power hitters with an all-or-nothing approach (HR or K) at the plate, but this isn't of course Colvin's style as a hitter.

I can almost smell Opening Day! Go Cubs Go...

I'm not an expert, but Jacque Jones seems like an easy comp to Colvin. Low BB%, relatively high K%, hits with some pop to all fields, likes to swing early, above average speed, decent center fielder when healthy. That may not sound so great, but Jones would've been much more appreciated his time in Chicago if he'd been playing out his league minimum and arbitration years rather than coming in as a free agent.

j.jones...another in a line of players who bring to light some of the racist crap people have to deal with @wrigley playing the OF.

...and another person some people choose not to believe.

Recent comments

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  • BRADSBEARD: I haven't noticed any new rule or a change in the interpretation of an existing rule happening in Advanced Instructs, I don't know what rules will be tested in the AFL, although almost all recent rule changes and new interpretations of existing rules (the home plate collision rule, replay, time clock between innings, et al) do get their start in the AFL.  

  • Yep

  • AZ Phil: I've heard that the AFL will be testing out a new force out rule that would affect break-up plays (like the Utley play). Have you heard anything about this new rule and any details about it? Are they testing it out at the advanced instructs as well?

  • Pretty sure I already know the answer to this, but since I will be in NYC next week I want to confirm... If the Cubs were to advance to the NLCS, the winner of LAD/NYM would have home field based on being a division winner (as opposed to Cubs by virtue of better record), correct?

  • CUBSTER: This "hammy" is on the other leg I heard last night. See you at the ballyard today young man!

  • Lulz

  • Oh what do you know, Cubster? Go back to your day job.

    --- Ducks, puts on Cardinals cap, runs.

  • Russell had a severe hamstring last year while with the A's system, forcing him to miss the first half of 2014. I've even wondered if his injury last year was a component of Billy Beane putting him on the trade market. He was quoted saying that last year's injury was a 10 out of 10 when it happened. Last night he said his hamstring soreness was a 1/1.5 out of 10. Hamstring injuries are tricky though, so I'd expect the medical team to be overly cautious here.

  • ...I want to reinforce the observation that there was no sea of red in the crowd. The usual Cardinal fans roaming the stadium were few and far between.

    Also, almost every 2 strike pitch brought the fans to their feet. Good for those in knee rehab.

  • "1st team hit hit 6HR in a game in the postseason." rises above obvious...i checked it with the official fact-finding commission of Douche, Douche, and Douchestein. they agreed with you, but they're a bunch of f'n douches so who cares?

    btw, the cubs are 2-1 in the post-season series.

  • I should be able to watch the game on the NFL replay app, whatever that thing is called. I've got it on my iPad. This is the first year I haven't forced myself to somehow watch every game - no I take that back, last year was - in quite some time. Last year was so unbearable, no pun intended.

    You make some good points about Cutler, and I was a holdout defender of Cutler for a long time. I gave up on him a bit after one too many dumb interceptions, but last year doesn't count. Trestman was the worst coach in Bears history.

  • Nice little reportage there!. I think you're older than me. Considerably older. Maybe several generations. Working out is so essential, especially as age kicks in, isn't it? I still lift weights, and so I'm confident that when I get to be at the hip breaking age, mine won't be a statistic. But I have a ways to go for that to be a concern.

  • What was impressive to me is that the Cubs won despite poor base running, several defensive miscues, Russell leaving due to injury, Arrieta having an off game and getting knocked out early, and Rondon giving up 2 runs in the 9th. If they can win a game like that... 

  • I was there too. The crowd was absolutely electric. People were standing for every big and semi-big moment, from the first inning on. It felt incredibly strange and exhilarating to see the Cubs (the Chicago bleepin' Cubs!) score playoff insurance runs on the Cardinals. What a game. One to remember.

  • 14 in attendance. What's the record for attendance in the fall? I guess I should ask what the record attendance listed is in one of your recaps.

  • I was there too, with my grown son. This is my miracle year-- I rose to the top of the season ticket list after eight years, completely unexpectedly, and my wonderful wife agreed to put the ticket fee on the emergency credit card. The whole point of course was that the Cubs were going to be good this year, and then for a while, so to get season tickets with the guaranteed shot at the postseason was incredible timing. We got to the remote lot at 4:10 after stopping at Nhu Lan for our usual banh mi sandwiches, only to find the lot full, way earlier than normal.