Reds Battle Back to Edge Cubs at HoHoKam

Bobby Scales had two singles, a double, two RBI, and two runs scored, helping the Cubs rally from a 4-1 deficit to take a 6-4 5th inning lead, but the Reds scored two runs in the 6th to tie the game and an unearned run in the 7th to take the lead, and then held-on to edge the Cubs 7-6 in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny and warm Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.


Both the Reds and the Cubs were playing with split squads, with each team's other half playing each other in Las Vegas.



box score


Carlos Silva got the start for the Cubs today, and had a much better outing than his last one, which really isn't saying much. He retired the first six men he faced today L-7, 6-3, P-6, F-8, P-6, and K on just 20 pitches (15 strikes), but then the Reds started to tag him for extra base hits beginning in the top of the 3rd. Chris Heisey absolutely crushed a HR off the scoreboard beyond the LF fence to lead off the inning, and then with one out, Ramon Hernandez ripped a double and Edgar Renteria laced an RBI single to give the Reds a 2-0 lead. Silva retired the 3-4-5 hitters (Bruce-Rolen-Gomes) 1-2-3 in the 4th F-8, F-8, F-9, but then struggled to get through the 5th, surrendering a Jeremy Hermida lead-off HR over the RF fence, a Yonder Alonso one-out triple, and a sacrifice fly.


For the day, Silva allowed four runs (all earned) on five hits (a single, a double, a triple, and two home runs), no walks, and two strikeouts (Jeremy Hermida and Edgar Renteria). He threw 59 pitches (42 strikes) in his five innings of work, with a 5/8 GO/FO.  


One thing about Silva is that he works fast and throws a high percentage of strikes (71% today), probably the highest perecentage of strikes of any Cub pitcher. He does not nibble. But unlike most guys who "pitch to contact," Silva throws a lot of high fastballs that get transformed into extra-base hits when the batter hits it square (which happens fairly often). But Silva doesn't seem to mind, he just keeps throwing strikes at the belt. He reminds me of a utility player who is brought into a 15-2 blow-out in the top of the 9th to pitch an inning and save the bullpen. Or maybe a coach throwing BP before a game.


Meanwhile, the Cubs had several scoring opportunities against Reds starter Homer Bailey (six hits and two walks in four innings), getting two runners on base in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th innings, but scoring just once, and that was in the bottom of the 4th when Bobby Scales led-off with a single, James Adduci walked, Carlos Silva laid-down a nice SH, and Fernando Perez rapped an RBI ground out to score Scales from 3rd.


The Cubs then put up a five-spot in the bottom of the 5th against Dontrelle Willis, who could not find home plate. Marlon Byrd walked on four pitches, and Aramis Ramirez looped a single into right-center. Carlos Pena popped out, but then Geovany Soto walked to load the bases, before Bobby Scales smashed a two-run RBI single to score Byrd and Ramirez. Willis suffered what appeared to be a knee injury backing-up home plate and had to leave the game. He was replaced by RHP Jordan Smith, who struck out PH Kyler Burke (looking) for the second out of the inning after Jim Adduci reached on an E-4 to load the bases. But Fernando Perez and Darwin Barney each stroked two-out RBI singles to knock-in Soto, Scales, and Adduci, and give the Cubs a 6-4 lead.


Todd Wellemeyer entered the game for the Cubs in the top of the 6th, and he really struggled through his first inning of work, needing 40 pitches (only 24 strikes) and a spectacular catch by RF Jim Adduci (a leaping grab of what should have been a Brandon Phillips HR, taking the ball back from beyond the fence) to get out of the inning with only two runs scoring. Unlike Silva, Wellemeyer had difficulty throwing strikes, and when he did he could not put hitters away, as Reds hitters continually popped foul balls into the stands.


After Adduci made his HR saving catch to open the inning, Jay Bruce and Scott Rolen singled, Jonny Gomes knocked-in Bruce with a ringing double (sendiing Rolen to 3rd). Jeremy Hermida walked to load the bases, and then Chris Heisey walked to force-in Rolen and tie the game. At this point there was only one out, the bases were loaded, Wellemeyer had already thrown 32 pitches, and there was action in the Cubs bullpen. But Wellemeyer buckled down, striking out Yonder Alonso, and retiring Ramon Hernandez to leave the bases loaded.


The Reds scored what proved to be the winning run in the top of the 7th. Paul Janish worked Wellemeyer for a lead-off walk, was advanced to 2nd on a SH, and scored on a two-out throwing error by Aramis Ramirez (a lazy toss to 1st base on what should have been an easy 5-3 GO) that resulted in an unearned run scoring (and it turned out to be the eventual winning run). 


It appeared that the Cubs intention today was to "piggyback" Silva and Wellemeyer, with each pitcher throwing four or five innings. But because Wellemeyer needed 58 pitches to get through two innings, Cubs top pitching prospect RHP Trey McNutt (who couldn't get through one inning without being relieved in his Cactus League debut last Sunday) was pressed into service and looked good, pitching a shutout 8th (19 pitches - 12 strikes, 2/0 GO/FO), getting two ground outs and a strikeout, while allowing just a harmless infield single. The 21-year old McNutt probably will be sent to Minor League Camp in a day or two, but at least he ended his Big League Camp Experience on a positive note. With only one full year of pro experience under his belt, McNutt will likely begin the 2011 season as the #1 starter at AA Tennessee (and the Smokies could be one of the best teams in minor league baseball in 2011, at least until some of the better prospects get moved up later in the season).  


Justin Berg pitched the 9th, and although he did not allow a run, he could not find home plate either, walking one and then tossng a WP, while throwing 17 pitches (but only eight strikes). Like McNutt, Berg's time at big league camp could be numbered, but unlike with McNutt, it's not ending on a positive note.


Josh Vitters entered the game at 3B in the 8th, but left after playing only one half-inning. I don't know what happened to him. He did not bat and he made no plays in the field while he was in the game.


The Cubs called up a number of position players from Fitch Park (Minor League Camp) for today's Cactus League game, and all eight of the players summoned (Kyler Burke, Matt Cerda, Evan Crawford, Marwin Gonzalez, Jae-Hoon Ha, D. J. Lemahieu, Rebel Ridling, and Logan Watkins) were among the 16 position players who reported early to Minor League Camp last week. Which only goes to prove the old axiom, "The early bird catches the shuttle van to HoHoKam."

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Comments

http://sports.espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/news/st...

Yanks, Nats among teams looking at Silva

Willis sprained his ankle on that play

what's there to look at? throwing high 80s junk he can no longer keep in the park or get ground balls on, check. awesome.

overly harsh, but meh...after last season the guy shows up in camp both overweight and out of shape. way to come through dude.

I think Silva and Reggie Golden had a Breakfast Club workout going on this offseason. Scott Eyre was their trainer.

----

One for AZ Phil: How does Soriano look in person, body-wise? From the pics I've seen of Soriano on the Chicago Tribune website he looks like he's in the best shape of his Cubs career. It's hard to tell on TV with a non-HD picture, everything is dark and blurry (insert pun).

watching yesterday he looked thicker waist down. IMO

Yanks...among teams looking at Silva
---
Must be the same scout that got the Yankees to sign Bartolo Colon

The always-fun-to-watch Yankee search for that elusive 5th starter.

Last year, with Sabathia, Burnett, Hughes, Vazquez, and Pettitte, was an exception. In 2009, their 5th starter spot was split by Mitre and Wang with 9 starts each. In 2008, Wang, Ponson, and Chamberlain filled the 4 and 5 spots with 15-15-12 starts each. In 2007, Hughes and Igawa had 13 and 12 starts for the 5th slot. Chacon and Lidle (11 and 9) split the 5th spot in 2006. In 2005, they only had TWO starters with more than 20 games started.

This year they have two spots open, and right now a 4-player competition for them:

Bartolo Colon, who hasn't pitched since 2009

Freddy Garcia, who is coming off a 12-6 season for the White Sox last year

Sergio Mitre, who had a 3.33 ERA in 54 IP, mostly out of the pen last year for the Yankees

Ivan Nova: who had a 4.50 ERA in 42 IP, including 7 starts for the Yankees last year

All 4 are pitching well so far in Spring Training, and unless Garcia implodes he should get the 4th spot. But I think they'd prefer to keep Mitre in the pen, especially since he is virtually guaranteed to get injured at least once a season. They worry about trusting a spot with a rookie like Nova, and he would likely be on a innings limit. And Colon is a completely unknown commodity at this point.

So if Colon stinks it up and they release him, they would look to grab a veteran like Silva, if he pitches well enough in Spring Training. This would allow them to pair him with Garcia, keep Mitre in the pen, and let Nova gain experience in the pen like Hughes and Chamberlain did, with either able to step up and fill in for any of the starting 5 if they get injured.

More NL Central Injury News:

Braun out with a strained muscle in his rib cage, just day-to-day for now but---and Doc can correct me if I'm wrong---with all of the torque from swinging, these types of injuries can often linger or reappear.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/spring2011/news...

Catcher John Baker said that [Marlins third baseman Matt] Dominguez doesn't where (sp) a cup when playing third base, and when asked why he doesn't, Dominguez told him, "That's what my hands are for.''

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/spring2011/colu...

How can he field the ball when his hands are holding his junk?

He meant off the field.

Wakefield, Cameron, and Daisuke available:

http://sports.espn.go.com/boston/mlb/news/sto...

at the bottom of the bosox article...

(Rich) Hill is throwing sidearm now, which has added a good deal of deception, but his command still needs some work, the source said.

what's next, submarine?

Ted Abernathy, we miss you.

I can't see Wakefield going anywhere - he seems like a Sox or retire guy.

Having had a chance to watch Carlos Pena for awhile, it looks like he has the classic "slider-speed" bat. He hits breaking balls and off-speed stuff very well, but can't catch-up to quality fastballs. He has kind of a long swing that takes too long to get through the hitting zone to be able to hit fastballs consistently. Sometimes it almost looks like he's swinging under-water. He is a choosy hitter and he will take pitches he doesn't like, and while he has plus-power, he's just not a good hitter.

Another thing that came up yesterday regarding Pena. He was up in the bottom of the 2nd with one out and runners at 2nd & 3rd. The Reds were playing the infield back conceding a run, so all Pena had to do was put his bat on the ball and get either a ground out or a fly ball, but he did not, striking out and leaving the runners on base (they did not score). He did a similar thing the other day when he was batting 7th in the order, working a walk with runners at 2nd & 3rd and two outs, leaving it up to the #8 hitter to come through (which he did not).

In BP a hitting coach will sometimes stand behind the cage and shout out situations to the hitter ("runner on 2nd no outs" or "hit & run" or "runner on 3rd one out", etc), and the batter has to react and alter his approach based upon the situation. Pena can't do it. Byrd is REALLY good at it, and Ramirez, Soto, Colvin, Castro, DeWitt, and Baker can do it, too. But Pena is unable (or unwilling?) to play situational baseball. Same thing with Soriano. And having two guys like that in the lineup (especially when they usually hit back-to-back) is going to mean a lot of runners are going to be left on base.

Thanks for the good news.

Nice analysis, thanks. You nailed Soriano on his selfish approach to hitting; and yet the received wisdom (often suspect) is that he is well loved by his teammates.

I am not sure 24 spring training at-bats is enough to say that a player is "unable" to play situational baseball.

What I am curious about if this is his tendency in the regular season, is that Tampa adheres to a situational approach early in the minor leagues.

Since he spent the majority of time in the organization, it would be unusual that he did not embrace their philosophy.

But, maybe (prior to 2010) they just left him alone as he produced solid power numbers?

"What I am curious about if this is his tendency in the regular season, is that Tampa adheres to a situational approach early in the minor leagues."

Pena did not come up through the Tampa system, FWIW. Most of his minor league time was in the Texas system, 44 ABs in the A's system with ~ 1 year stops each at AAA for the Tigers & Yankees.

Submitted by WISCGRAD on Sun, 03/13/2011 - 12:02pm.
I am not sure 24 spring training at-bats is enough to say that a player is "unable" to play situational baseball.

=============================

WISCGRAD: Actually I'm basing it more on what I saw at Fitch Park last month than on what I have seen in Spring Training games, although the ST ABs confirm what I saw at Fitch.

When players take BP with coaches throwing (traditional "pre-game" BP), it's fairly common for the hitting coach to stand behind the cage and call out situations. Not on every pitch, just intermittently. Most guys hear the call and adjust (alter) their approach accordingly. Soriano has never done that, and Pena doesn't do it either.

I don't know how much of it is a matter of being unable to do it, and how much is a matter of being unwilling to do it. That I don't know.

Soriano batting 4th today on WGN game

Fukudome9/Castro6/Colvin3/Soriano7/DeWitt4/Johnson8/Smith5/Hill2/Zambrano1

Here's something else.

If the Cubs really want to improve their defense in 2011, adding Carlos Pena isn't enough. Pena is an above-average defensive 1st baseman, and he will save some throwing errors, but if the Cubs really want defensive improvement, they should move Starlin Castro to 2B and play Darwin Barney at SS.

I saw a lot of Starlin Castro at Fitch Park when he first arrived in the U. S. in 2008, starting with Minor League Camp, then Extended Spring Training, then AZL Cubs, and then the AZ Instructional League. I saw him play 2B-SS-3B (as did Junior Lake and Marwin Gonzalez), playing somewhere different every day, and I would say, without a doubt, that Castro's best defensive position is 2B, his second-best position is 3B, and then comes SS. I'm not saying that Castro can't play SS, just that he's better at 2B or 3B.

Castro is a very good hitter, and I predict he will win a batting championship somewhere down the line, and will develop into a 15-18 per year HR hitter. But he's never going to win a Gold Glove at SS. That doesn't mean he can't play SS, just that he is below-average there.

It's not like there would be that much of a drop-off offensively from DeWitt/Baker to Barney (especially given the fact that Barney would probably hit 8th), and the defense would definitely be better with Barney at SS and Castro at 2B than it is now with Castro at SS and DeWitt/Baker at 2B. It would be different if the Cubs had a plus-offensive player at 2B, but they don't.

That said, I feel very confident that the Cubs won't move Castro to 2B and play Barney at SS. It's just not going to happen. The Cubs do not want to get it into Castro's head that they don't think he can play SS. They want him to continue to work to improve his play at SS, and will just live with his misplays, and the below-average range provided by DeWitt/Baker at 2B.

Darwin Barney's career OPS in the minor leagues is .708. He can play short, but he's not exactly Ozzie over there. As a platoon Baker has had a .908 OPS vs lefties and DeWitt .701 vs RH pitchers. Saying it wouldn't be much of a downgrade is about equivalent to saying Prince Fielder isn't much of an upgrade over Russel Branyan.

This team needs offense.

This team is mighty offensive.

When they traded DeWitt, the Dodgers were trading a guy who had one home run in half a season. Not exactly Prince Fielder. (I know, Barney is not Branyan, either, but at least Barney can play middle infield.)

It's inexplicable why someone would draft DeWitt in the first round. Not fast, not a middle infielder, not a big enough frame to hit for power. Maybe they thought he would grow.

Hendry collects these first rounders on the rebound: Fontenot, Heilman, Robnett, Scott Moore (twice), DeWitt, Montanez. Who else?

Kerry Wood?

Well, Looper, too, for that matter; but Wood and Looper had careers that amounted to something. I'm referring more to first rounders who washed out.

Ben Grieve. Kyler Burke. Brad Snyder.

I was just kidding...but he fits into the first rounders on a 'rebound'.

I love me some Wood.

"It's inexplicable why someone would draft DeWitt in the first round."

You are kidding right? He is probably hands down the best high school baseball player in Missouri State history. He still holds the state records for career hits, doubles, total bases, extra-base hits, RBI, and runs, and he is third in triples, fourth in home runs. Not to mention he went 27-1 pitching. And those 27 wins were CONSECUTIVE. He was named to the BA All-American HS 1st Team, and considered the best pure HS hitter entering the draft. He was on his way to Georgia Tech until he got drafted.

Now, his minor and major league track record so far are not that impressive, so you can question why Hendry traded for him, but there is no mystery why he was drafted at the time.

Pro scouts don't get paid to read resumes.

He has no major-league tools, Wisc. A scout has to be able to see through that Saturday's-hero stuff.

Fontenot is another example, maybe better since he was drafted out of college and a scout couldn't pretend that he was still growing. Pretty swing, surprising power in a tiny package. But there are no tiny sluggers in the majors.

I'm trying to think of a DeWitt equivalent in the Cubs' organization, someone that Wilken drafted. Logan Watkins? But Watkins can play SS, and he went in the 21st round.

He does have a major league hitting "tool", he just doesn't couple it with power or a lot of patience or speed. He has also been worse with the Cubs than he showed with the Dodgers which is probably causing us to underrate him to some degree.

Sean Burroughs 2.0 so far, but maybe once Rudy finishes breaking him down he'll show a bit more.

Yep, I'm sure you are right. The entire scouting community and BA, etc. were blinded by the headlines. The Dodgers were so amazed by those numbers that they drafted him in the first round and gave him $1.2 million. Now they are kicking themselves and saying "damn, I wish VirginiaPhil was around back in 2004, he would have reminded us to look at that thing called 'tools' and we would have never drafted him." Really?

You would never have drafted Mark Grace either because of his lack of tools, but he turned out pretty well. So far, DeWitt hasn't put it together, but that was his upside: sweet swing with .315 BA, 15-20 HR, 30-40 doubles.

Fontenot is at least a usable piece. DeWitt, from what I have seen, does nothing better than Fonty did except have a little better range vertically.

I would love to see a "slow-off" between A-Ram and DeWitt.

FTR:believe montanez was cubs', though not hendry/wilkens, misjudgment originally [wasn't he a top 5 overall hs kid?]...

Montanez was the 3rd overall pick in 2000, under outgoing GM Ed Lynch (who had offered to resign in mid-May but MacPhail gave him until the All-Star break, then replaced Lynch with himself).

A couple years ago, this is what Baseball Prospectus had to say about him (they ranked him #10 prospect in the Dodgers system 3stars)

The Good: On looks alone, DeWitt has one of the prettiest swings in the minors, notable mostly for its speed and fluidity. He has excellent barrel control, no weakness by location, and at least average power. He’s a decent third baseman who makes the plays he gets to. (sounds a lot like Josh Vitters -- only better!)

The Bad: As much as scouts love DeWitt’s batting tools, the results have hardly been eye-popping, and he’s yet to show enough in the way of secondary skills to project as a classic third baseman. (Wow...just like Vitters!) A move to second base last year was a failure, as DeWitt lacks the athleticism to play up the middle.

I guess it's inexplicable why the Cubs drafted Josh Vitters in the first round.

DeWitt was too small to project as a power hitter, pretty swing or not. Vitters is listed today in BR as 6'2, and that was his published height when he was drafted. The average height of the top 25 home-run hitters in the NL last season is 6'2 and change (74.4 inches). Vitters is about average.

DeWitt is listed at 5'11. Pardon me for wondering whether, if he really was 5'11, he wouldn't advertise himself as 6 feet, as athletes tend to do. Be that as it may, only 3 of the top 25 HR hitters are listed in BR as under 6 feet. They are Fielder (5'11), Uggla (5'11) and Weeks (5'10). Decide for yourself which of these three DeWitt would have resembled most if you had been scouting him.

Baseball is not basketball, but size matters, especially if you don't compensate for it with speed or defense.

I'm interested to hear that DeWitt was such a baseball prodigy. I wasn't really aware of that. I doubt we'll see that brilliance again--it seems that the game has chewed him up pretty well, including this spring--but if we do, I'll be a happy fan.

Here is the top 25 that I've been referring to:

Pujols 42 6-3
Dunn 38 6-6
Votto 37 6-3
C. Gonzalez 34 6-1
Uggla 33 5-11
Fielder 32 5-11
Reynolds 32 6-2
A. Gonzalez 31 6-2
Hart 31 6-6
Howard 31 6-4
Weeks 29 5-10
Wright 29 6-0
Holliday 28 6-4
Kemp 28 6-3
Tulowitzki 27 6-3
Werth 27 6-5
C. Young 27 6-2
Huff 26 6-4
K. Johnson 26 6-1
Braun 25 6-1
Bruce 25 6-3
Laroche 25 6-3
Pence 25 6-4
A. Ramirez 25 6-1
Zimmerman 25 6-3

he's no cody ross...

What's the point of this discussion again? Are we illustrating that DeWitt isn't an All-Star? Everyone already knows that. Are we saying he's never going to amount to anything with the bat? That may be true, but based on the evidence we have, his nothing is still better than Darwin Barney, who must be considered a nothing minus one.

Barney also has the benefit of batting right handed, so we wouldn't even get the one reasonably good platoon hitter (Baker) into the lineup if Barney wins the 2nd base job, unless the plan is to platoon Baker in at both 2nd base, and yoyo Castro back and forth between 2nd and SS, which is a disastrously bad one.

Not to mention I'm not sold on Barney's defense being that much better at short than Castro's.

I took the bait when you compared DeWitt to Fielder--not directly, I know--but the basic reason I'm unhappy with DeWitt is that I don't think the Cubs have to accept other teams' discards any more. The Cubs can draft and develop better second basemen than DeWitt. Unfortunately, it's 2011, and many of the things I expect to happen soon are not here yet.

No, I was comparing the platoon bats of DeWitt/Baker to Barney as Fielder would be Branyan aka a big difference. Baker, for his part, has hit LH pitchers better than Ryne Sandberg did.

The best offense is a good defense.

Pena's career numbers with runners on and RISP is about the same as his career numbers fwiw. I can't get to his ROB%, I assume their around average. Considering his general lack of contact, no one should be surprised if he's not the most prolific RBI guy. Guessing the net effect of his power will still outweigh byrd's slap and Judy routine.

Submitted by Rob G. on Sun, 03/13/2011 - 1:02pm.
Pena's career numbers with runners on and RISP is about the same as his career numbers fwiw. I can't get to his ROB%, I assume their around average. Considering his general lack of contact, no one should be surprised if he's not the most prolific RBI guy. Guessing the net effect of his power will still outweigh byrd's slap and Judy routine.

========================================

ROB: I would expect Carlos Pena's numbers with RISP and runners on base to match his overall career offensive numbers, because he doesn't do anything different whether the bases are empty, there is a runner at 2nd with no outs, or the bases are loaded.

What I was talking about is that Pena does not alter his approach depending on the situation. Players who are able to alter their approach are successful situational hitters.

Another thing about Pena is that because he takes a lot of walks, he is probably not well-suited to hit 7th (as he has occasionally this Spring vs LHP). It's not particularly useful for the #7 hitter to walk to get to the #8 hitter and the pitcher, especially if there are men in scoring position. That's why I like Soriano in the #7 slot. He's the ideal #7 hitter IMO. That problem there (of course) is that a club shouldn't be paying a #7 hitter $18M per year.

I know what you're saying, but you're also implying that his approach makes him somehow a worse guy to have up than Byrd with runners on. But that' not the reality of the situation. There are times when Pena will K or walk when you need contact that will frustrate fans, but there are times when he'll hit a HR or double that Byrd won't. Ultimately Pena comes out slightly ahead...

OBI% (Others Batted In i.e. RBI's not including home runs in context of how many actual baserunners you have an opportunity to bat in)
Byrd - 14.4% (2010), 17.8%, 12.5%, 18.4%
Pena - 13.6%, 15.5%, 15.8%, 18.3%

It's not to say Pena's an ideal RBI guy, nor is an Adam Dunn or Soriano, etc. It's gonna be more hit and miss with Pena and if Pena hits below the Mendoza line again, his approach won't matter at all. Aramis, Pujols, Manny Ramirez are your ideal RBI guys, power hitters who don't strike out a lot.

Interesting in those number that Byrd did better with guys on first and Pena with guys on second, pretty much the exact opposite of the hypothesis being discussed here.

At the end of the day, neither of them should be batting third for a club with aspirations of a playoff birth.

If Pena hitting third would work out like it did for the 2008 Rays I would take it.

That team was 8th in scoring and 2nd in run prevention, but yeah if he could hit .245 .416 .566 batting third for the Cubs, I think most people would take it. Let's get 266 K's and 32 starts out of Wood while we're at it.

wasn't expected, but i was hoping to see paul goldschmidt get a start for ARZ. wonder if he's back in minors camp. no chance of making the bigs out of spring, but he's fun to watch swing a bat...huge dude, major power.

Parrot Chat?

It won't let me sign in for some reason.

if you're in firefox the newer java package is wonky with it...refresh and try again.

C'mon in, the water is great.

i'm actually doing a "help people plant gardens" talk at a coffee shop right now...getting my volunteer cred in and wasting time on the innerwebs.

i should be back home in 20-30, though.

woo...sundays.

Refreshed several times, even restarted Firefox, even tried it in Chrome, no luck. Oh well.

Crazy start

Z almost drop sac on purpose, tries to throw away
Next pitch picks off runner
Bloop in LF where Sori kicks it and throws runner out at second

I thought that first inning was interesting in that Z didn't really get anyone out as a pitcher. Free out and two baserunning snafu's.

A team must love it when their own player openly talks about how much he wants to play for another team.

John Buck, new Marlins catcher, on his offseason...

"Buck was intrigued by the possibility of replacing V-Mart behind the plate in Boston: "Who doesn’t want to play for the Red Sox? Being a kind of historian of baseball, regardless of all the money and all that other stuff, it would just be a cool place to play."

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/03/red-sox...

you guys teased me with Parachat...

WGN can't bring HD cameras with them?

Yep, no HD, ever in spring training on WGN. I complained about that a week ago. Just for the hell of it I emailed WGN asking why. We'll see if they reply.

z looking sharp

Did we ever find out what was going on with Miles when he was here? Hendry made some reference at one point that he had some person problems affecting him. Divorce? Addiction? Sick/Dying family member? I would think it would have to be one of the first two, otherwise, why didn't someone say at the time, 'hey, backoff on this guy, he's going through something with his (blank).' I could see a divorce or addiction being something nobody wants to publicly address.

you lied jacos

I WILL NEVER TRUST HIM AGAIN.

*swoon*

I was there for a couple of innings.
Crunch was out saving the world and Paul was complaining about how we has trouble with AOL....

soccer moms and hippies need gardening advice. i'm there to help.

I know you all are exceedingly interested, but Jason Marquis sporting a nifty 0.00 ERA as a ST starter for Tom Gorzo's Nats (who is on the opposite ERA side w/a 7.71)

ninja being ninja...unfortunately...

wonder what his 2011 will be.

Shark boy looks god-awful. I'd rather watch Silva.

Gawd.

Jeff Samardjia sucks ass.

cubs win the game vs. ARZ...

Why wasn't that one on TV instead?

Any game that Ninja is going to appear in should be blacked out by MLB mercy rules.

wgn crew was already in vegas from yesterday's game, most likely.

Spend the $ on the MLB Premium!

I saw both, split screen.

I hate you :)

So were the manager and the pitching coach.

Jeff Baker Smile Maker

matt "I'M MATT F'N BUSH" bush actually got 5ip this spring with TB...totally missed that...assigned to minor league camp a couple days ago.

5ip 3h 4bb 5k (2er)

In a sequence of events starting to remind me of the Bears' good breaks 2011, injury news re: Wandy Rod:

http://blog.chron.com/ultimateastros/2011/03/...

Pitcher has tedinitis.

I would think all pitchers have tendinitis to varying degrees, though. Right?

That's really crazy. Who are the Reds going to lose?

Well, right now I think they are "losing" one pitcher to immigration problems that has not been resolved yet.

Is it Volquez, maybe?

Hopefully, his passport will get taken away.

You only take the passports away from murder suspects. MLBTV was saying that he's going to be their opening day starter according his Dustyness - has he still not reported?

Cueto left game on Friday with forearm stiffness

allegedly not serious

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110...

but wasn't forearm tightness what Prior complained about before the rest of his arm blew up?

Z had his from internet use.

Prior had the calf problem then arm problems.

Chris Carpenter still has not pitched since his "not serious" hamstring pull.

http://www.healthandfitnessadvice.com/the-hea...

a partial list of guys that had forearm tightness that led to shoulder/elbow problems...

Cueto given the okay to start throwing again, so we'll find out soon enough.

If all of the other NL Central's #1's have injury problems for...I don't know...the 1st 45 days of the season, we could have a shot at above .500 and in the Division Title mix!

Not if we go 3-14 against the Pirates again.

Coincidentally, today is 3-14!

Prior never complained, he soldiered through.

he soldiered through.
---
I say...Garbage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heJMHKuoqhI

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/03/out-of-...

All of the Cubs' catchers according to this list.

Honest to God, how bad does Welington Castillo have to be in catching Cubs' pitchers compared to Koyie F'in Hill in order to make the 25-man roster. I mean my HS Junior son believes he could hit .100 in the Majors (of course, he doesn't lack for confidence).

It is tough to remain a Cubs' fan knowing that that piece of crap is on the five-man bench this season. Two automatic outs when he's in the starting lineup (unless Z is pitching).

They're just getting Castillo the maximum number of at bats instead of him rotting behind Soto. I think everyone knows this, but the disconcerting part of this is that there are scores of better backup catchers than Hill but they seem to love him for some reason. Cue the list of ridiculously worthless Cub backups (with circus music in the background)

Is this old here?

http://www.bryantdaily.com/post/Bryants-Wells...

It includes the alarming " But it also includes an unusual provision that guarantees that in 2013, Wells will be included on the Cubs’ 40-man roster. "

major mostly-b-team lineup today

fuku/r.johnson/s.moore(2nd)/montanez/lahair/vitters/w.castillo/barney(SS)

garza going today vs. a mostly regulars SEA lineup

Skinny Dick, you had a nice major league career - nothing to be embarrassed about. If you don't hang it up in the next week, people are not going to be able to say that any longer.

8 straight fastballs by Garza to start

pitch 9 a slider, pitch 14 his first curveball

GO 3, BB so far

Garza K's F. Gutierrez and W. "just die already Koyie' Castilllo throws out Figgins trying to steal

Castillo then BB's to leadoff 2nd, followed by Darwin getting a gift infield single, Garza lays down the sacrifice.

How scared are girls to go out on dates with Doug Fister?

Fuku lines out to Ichiro, no run and Reed grounds out

haha

The players in it aside, does that lineup construction make any sort of sense to anyone? Good to see Vitters isn't hurt.

bump mont down to 7th/8th and move everyone up a slot and it makes more sense...dunno how he got the 4 slot today unless he's gonna be replaced after a couple of ABs with an actual power hitting LF'r.

Didn't he actually bunch his RH/LH hitters too? I realize he's trying to make lemonade here, but sheesh.

AramRam hasn't started for two days, fwiw.

Rob G is in mid-season parachat form.

heh..

Really cruel chant from guy in crowd as LaHair comes to bat: "Let's go Triple-A." He promptly hits his second double of the game.

W. Castillo singles in his 2nd AB, Garza with another sacrifice bunt

Ichiro/Figgins did pull off a double steal earlier

Castillo batting .600 in 10 ab's, Koyie batting .048 in 21 AB's

Q-Ball: "So, what's yer point?

Is Garza throwing faster today?

/end of arguement

Have I ever mentioned that I hate Koyie Hill, I hate Koyie Hill being on a MLB roster, and I hate Cubs management for putting him on the 25-man roster? Well..........I do.

U - R - / - Alone

Castillo singles again in the 6th...

Garza only goes 4 (thought SP's were going 5 at this point, I assume he hit a pitch count).

Marshall gave up a run and it was tied.

Cubs loaded it up but Adduci grounds into a double play nailing Castillo at home.

Kyler Burke gets into the game in left, and preservers Diamnond's perfect 7th by making a leaping catch on the warning track described as "maybe the best play I've seen in Spring Training" by a guy who sounds a lot like Len.

doh...

"Andrew Bailey came out of Monday's game against the Indians after grabbing at his surgically-repaired right elbow following a pitch."

damn...video replay of it didn't look too good. immediately bent arm back into chest and doubled over a bit...didn't extend it once afterward, even when walking back into the dugout.

"Andrew Bailey (elbow) told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle via text message that he will see Dr. James Andrews on Tuesday."

doh...

from the department of wait-huh-what?

"Scouts says #Rangers are eyeing Andrew Cashner in any Michael Young talk #Cubs. Feliz happy as starter could put Carlos Marmol in play."

http://twitter.com/ChiTribRogers/status/47430...

trusted Phil Rogers sources...

There was something on mlbtraderumors today about how the Rangers were a little delusional about the value of Michael Young, which either Rodgers read and ran with or confirms his barmy rumor. The Cubs don't have any money for Young, though, unless like Silva goes with Cashner.

Here's hoping Hendry is only going to rape the system for one journeyman player this year.

+ 1,000,000 (didn't think plus one provided enough emphasis on how much I agree with your opposition to trading more farmhands this year)

"Here's hoping Hendry is only going to rape the system for one journeyman player this year."

What fun is that? We need more discussions and debates about the relative mediocrity of players like DeWitt, Barney, and Fontenot, don't we? Bring them on! What else is everyone gonna do during Project .500 .450?

garza on today's outing...

"Today was more mixing," Garza said of his game plan. "I knew I had a live fastball. I was able to locate it better and I didn't want to keep using it. I wanted to mix stuff today.

"I threw curveballs when I didn't need to, I threw changeups when I didn't need to," he said. "I threw pitches in counts where they're 'called for' counts. Everybody in the world knows an offspeed [pitch] is coming on 2-0 [count], and that's not my style. But I used what I had to use, and got the pitches I had to get. I kept a lot of balls on the ground today and that's a good sign."

http://m.mlb.com/chc/news/article/20110314169...

2-0 count is a breaking pitch count? I guess if you can throw it for strikes.

2-0 the batter favors looking fastball.

Not sure where you could find it, but I'd say if someone had the numbers, 2-0 in MLB is a fastball 65% or so of the time, which is why hitters would look for it.

"I threw curveballs when I didn't need to, I threw changeups when I didn't need to,"

very modest

he's just doing the "greg maddux line" of throwing what he needs to in order to get his work in...unlike maddux he's probably not telling his teammates in the dugout between innings what he's going to throw to what hitter in what order and that they'll never see it in the regular season.

...then again he's no greg maddux.

Levine will be on WMVP at 10:40 a.m. with a rumor regarding potential Cubs trade for 2B...

Was nothing more than a teaser. Levine shoots down the various Michael Young rumors and says the Cubs will go with what they have in camp, unless Hendry can make a dollar-for-dollar trade.

...the Cubs will go with what they have in camp...

Meaning Matt?

http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/loca...

For those who follow this kind of thing:

Down 12% overall so far. Rockies and DBacks way up (after moves from Tucson). Rest of teams down 9%-33%.

Cubs -29% compared to last year. (a previous article said the perennial top draw in the Cactus League has dropped to 4th this spring-- nice job P.K. Ricketts!)

I miss steroids.

"Barring another setback, manager Tony La Russa anticipated the right-hander would have no problem elevating his pitch count in time for the opener."

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/spring2011/news...

Ohh goody the Cubs are interested in bringing in Luis Castillo!

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