Sori and Barney Wash Sox in Defeat

Darwin Barney singled and scored in the 2nd inning and sliced a two-out two-run triple into the RF corner to cap a four-run 5th, while Alfonso Soriano slugged a solo HR in the 4th and singled and scored in the 5th, leading the Cubs to an 8-7 victory over the crosstown-rival White Sox before a capacity crowd at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny and warm Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.

box score

Matt Garza got the start for the Cubs and threw three shutout innings, before the Sox began to chip away at the ex-Ray for a run in the 4th (BB, 1B, GIDP, 1B) and two more in the 5th (Omar Vizquel two-run HR over the RF fence). Garza benefitted from two neat DPs turned by the Cub infield (Castro-Barney-Pena both times), one in the 3rd and one in the 4th, or the day might not have turned out so well.

As it is, Garza worked five innings (88 pitches - 57 strikes), allowing the three runs (all earned) on eight hits and two walks, with four strikeouts and a 5/6 GO/FO. It wasn't exactly what I would call a stellar performance, but at least it was better than his previous Cactus League outings, and he did get his pitch count up to near regular season levels.

Braden Looper followed Garza to the hill, working the 6th and 7th innings (35 pitches - 22 strikes). He allowed a run in the 6th (two singles and a double), but threw a shutout 7th with a walk the only blemish. Looper did not show a strikeout pitch today, but he did get some timely infield pop ups to get out of further trouble in both innings (2/4 GO/FO). Whether his performance today (coupled with his previous sometimes extremely mediocre Cactus League outings) will be enough to get him the last slot in the bullpen (long relief) remains to be seen, but if I had to guess, I would say probably not. I mean, why pay Looper a million bucks (plus incentives) when Casey Coleman (for example) can do the same job for MLB minimum wage?   

I would have mentioned James Russell in the same sentence with Casey Coleman (see previous paragraph), except Russell probably pitched himself to Des Moines with his one inning of work today. Russell surrendered back-to-back home runs to Donny Lucy and Alexi Ramirez (and neither one was a "cheapy," either) on consecutive pitches to open the top of the 8th, cutting what had been a comfortable 8-4 Cub lead to 8-6.  

Carlos Marmol pitched the 9th and made things interesting, but not because of walks or hit batsmen. Marmol did throw an unusually high-percentage of strikes, but he also allowed a lead-off single to Paul Konerko on a 3-2 pitch and a two-out RBI double into the LF corner to Donny Lucy (who had a nice day), before finally getting the final out on a called third strike he somehow got past Alexi Ramirez.

Meanwhile, the Cubs offense made major inroads against Sox starter (and one-time Met #1 draft pick and BA Top 100 Prospect) RHP Philip Humber, scoring twice in the 1st, once in the 2nd, once in the 4th, and then four more times in the 5th, to take an 8-3 lead. 

Kosuke Fukudome drew a walk (something he does best) leading-off the bottom of the 1st, and Starlin Castro laced a double to left center to move Fukudome to 3rd. Marlon Byrd hit a more-than-adequate sacrifice fly to plate Kosuke, and then Aramis Ramirez pulled a shattered bat double into the left-field corner to score Castro with the second run of the inning.  

Darwin Barney led off the bottom of the 2nd inning with a ground single through the box and into CF, and then Koyie Hill drew his first of two walks (if you can't hit your way on, might as well find another way). Matt Garza then faked a bunt and tried the ol' "butcher boy" slug-bunt play, and it really worked, too, as he chopped the ball almost over the 2nd baseman's head for a hit, save for a leaping grab and throw to 1st by Omar Vizquel to nab Garza. But the play did move Barney and Hill up a base a piece, and Fukudome cashed-in the scoring opportunity, scoring Barney with a another Cub SF.  

After the Sox had scored in the top of the 4th to cut the Cub lead to 3-1, Alfonso Soriano got the run right back, clubbing a towering solo HR over the right-centerfield fence (just to the right of the CF "Green Monster" Batter's Eye) leading off the bottom of the 4th.

The Cubs seemingly put the game away in the bottom of the 5th against Humber and ex-Cub LHRP Will Ohman. Castro drew a one-out walk, advanced to 2nd on a Humber WP, and scored on a Marlon Byrd line-drive RBI single to RF. Aramis Ramirez walked, and then after Will Ohman came into the game and struck out Carlos Pena swinging (Pena's third strikeout of the game, the first two being called third strikes), Soriano grounded a single to left to score Byrd, and Barney tripled into the RF corner to plate Ramirez and Soriano, and close the Cubs scoring for the day.  

The Cubs announced several roster cuts before today's game, optioning OF Fernando Perez to AAA Iowa, and sending INF Matt Camp, Scott Moore, Augie Ojeda, and Bobby Scales to minor league camp (where all four will be assigned to the Iowa squad). Perez had a poor Spring, and Reed Johnson simply outplayed the ex-Ray in just about all phases of the game (Perez is clearly a lot faster than Johnson), although Johnson himself just started to catch fire at the plate in recent days. Whether the Cubs will commit to R. Johnson as their 5th OF or continue to scour the eBis waiver wire for other alternatives remains to be seen.

I was somewhat surprised that the Cubs opted to keep Blake DeWitt on the Opening Day 25-man roster, when Bobby Scales and Scott Moore clearly outhit DeWitt throughout Spring Training. None of the three play 2B very well (Scales is actually probably the best of the three), and DeWitt does have one minor league option left, so it's not like the Cubs would have risked losing him off waivers if they had tried to send him down. And if DeWitt were to spend at least 100 days on optional assignment to the minors in 2011 he would not be eligible for salary arbitration post-2011, which would likely save the Cubs about $1M in 2012 payroll.    



The line to punch Jim Hendry starts behind me. He thinks Cubs can win it this year.

And the most glaring statement against the Ricketts-

" I don't look at surviving or I hope I keep my job. I never have."

" I don't look at surviving..." that would explain the diet.


what's he suppose to say in March?

"yeah, I made some moves to look like we're competing, but honestly the Brewers, Reds and Cardinals are better. All the fans should just stay home and not watch."

That's what Hendry is supposed to say, jacos... true or not.

The report of Hill drawing not one but two walks induces flashbacks to little league when all your pitcher had to do was fan the mandatorily substituted bench dreg by tossing three ordinary strikes past his useless bat & the game would be over. But no, he couldn't do it & the lineup turned over & there went the old ballgame...

I was that hitter as a kid, but I had the good sense to quit trying out for teams after a while.

But the pitchers liked pitching to you.

Ha... what a jackass.

What a great thing to be known for.

cubs should get this guy so he can eat the innings puked up by the guys in our pen who shouldn't be there...

high five

And if DeWitt were to spends at least 100 days on optional assignment to the minors in 2011 he would not be eligible for salary arbitration post-2011, which would likely save the Cubs about $1M in 2012 payroll.
This seems like a Hendry decision to not piss the guy off. It reminds me of when he trotted out Nady to first everyday so he could reach his incentives.

My take is this - while I think DeWitt should be in AAA, working on a power swing and dabbling at 2nd and 3rd ... I wonder if the Cubs feel that, if DeWitt gets back to what he was last year, if Blake isn't a better top of the order option (and I still don't think he is, just saying I wonder if the Cubs feel that way) than what they have on hand right now, and as such, may be willing to give him some time this spring.

Here's another reason the Cubs may have decided to keep DeWitt around, The Maddux Factor....

Cubs GM Jim Hendry gave Maddux some credit for the decision to acquire the Dodgers infielder in the Ted Lilly/Ryan Theriot deal. "We've certainly liked [DeWitt] for years," Hendry said. "He's a tough kid. He's 24 years old, so his better days are way ahead of him. … He has a chance to be a complete player. He has to be better offensively. Greg spoke highly of him, when Greg pitched for the Dodgers, and in my discussions with Greg about him a few weeks back."

After the Sox had scored in the top of the 4th to cut the Cub lead to 3-1, Alfonso Soriano got the run right back, clubbing a towering solo HR over the right-centerfield fence (just to the right of the CF "Green Monster" Batter's Eye) leading off the bottom of the 4th.
Reading this makes me wonder how many of Soriano's homers come leading off an inning. Then it makes me wonder how many are solo. I'm sure this has been discussed before but I can't recall

54 HR's leading off a game
111 for his career leading off an inning (35%)

314 career HR's

199 career solo HR's (64%)

frame of reference, what about Albert Pujols?

84 leading off an inning out of 408 (20.5%)
221 of the solo variety (54%)

Soriano of course gets more opportunities leading off and with no runners on though than Pujols would.

so how about a power hitting leadoff man or one that led off once in awhile? Grady Sizemore?
45 of 129 lead off an inning (34.8%)
84 of 129 of the solo variety (65%)

doesn't seem too out of the ordinary for Soriano, I'm sure folks could find some other examples.

Tricky Ricky would be a good one to look at.

Lunch break is over, but you should be able to get the none on none out splits from BR to put the PA's into the equation.

"'s Jerry Crasnick first reported Yankees have traded Sergio Mitre to the Brewers. Now the Brewers are confirming the trade, with OF Chris Dickerson heading to the Yanks."

Their first move prior to acquiring Silva.

Fingers crossed.

That's not happening. Either Garcia or Colon is getting the 5th spot with the other going to long relief, and they just signed Kevin Millwood today for added depth.

as of now it's supposedly garcia with colon in the pen (though i'd reverse that, myself).

colon has his low/mid 90s velocity kicking and everything.

How many pitchers are going to make this team that don't belong in the majors?

"Manager Mike Quade officially named Randy Wells as his fourth starter on Friday, while also confirming that James Russell and Jeff Samardzija have made the staff.

That leaves one opening on the 12-man staff for either Carlos Silva, Braden Looper, Casey Coleman or Marcos Mateo."

Wells is fine, but Russell, Shark, and the 4 guys competing for the final spot? C'mon Hendry.

Also, Paul Sullivan doesn't know Seattle is eating $5.5 million of Silva's contract this year...

"Silva will either be a starter, reliever or be released, with the Cubs obligated to pay all but the major league minimum from his $11.5 million salary in 2011."

The frustrating thing is that it's just so damned random...

"Spring training stats count, unless they don't. The only place we do apply that criteria, though is starting pitchers who are really relief pitchers, bench guys and and anyone who makes less than $12 million a year. Besides that we have a very systematic system involving a handful of blades of grass and chicken shit bingo to determine the roster."

I have always thought relying on spring training stats to make roster decisions is ridiculous, especially when you're cutting a player with a track record of major league success, because he had a poor spring.

Case in point, between Silva, Russell, Coleman, Mateo, Shark, Looper, as much as everyone will hate to hear this, Silva deserves a spot over all of those guys. He had success last year. The Cubs are on the hook for $8 million to him ($6 mil this year and $2 mil buyout for next year). Why not let him open the season and see how he does? If he sucks, cut him then, but it's not like any of the young guys in that group are going to do anything of substance in the majors. They're all fringe players at best. It's not like keeping Silva means Cashner goes to AAA. Put Cashner in the rotation and Silva as the long man. If/when a starter gets hurt, Silva can move into the rotation (or maybe he's sucked so bad he's gone by then).

Koyie Hill on the other hand has never had what I would call big league success. So going by the numbers, and how he looks this spring, one could come to a strong conclusion that his skills have eroded and he's done. Maybe he 'heats up' once the season starts and hits a whopping .200 ish. But I can understand if they want Castillo to play everyday in the minors for a season or half a season before sitting on the bench here.

Any update on Max Ramirez and his wrist?

I agree on Silva, at least at the start of ST last year he stunk as well, then got it going, for the most part. But if it is a competition, how is Samardizja named ahead of Silva who did well last year or Mateo who has been good? Why did Wells have to pitch for a spot in the rotation, when DeWitt hasn't been given a roster spot regardless of how well he plays? How does Barney play himself into a starting position, when Moore can't make the team?

If you pick out one guy, you can sort of make a case, but Hill, Russell Wideout Side and DeWitt have not showed they deserve to be on a MLB roster and none of them have a proven MLB track record to fall back on.

As far as I can tell, Russell is making the team based primarily on his 2010 Spring Training stats. He had a 6.65 second half ERA last year and has a 9 ERA this spring.

Quade became manager on Aug. 23. From that date till the end of the season, Russell pitched fourteen times, and had one bad outing (against the Mets on 9/5 when he gave up 5 runs). In the other thirteen appearances, covering 10.1 innings, he gave up 1 ER on 8 hits, with 1 BB and 9 Ks.

Russell has good control, especially for a young lefty, and that's what separated him from Maine. Quade mentioned Maine's command on the day he sent him down.

For Quade, Russell often pitched to one hitter and proved to be an effective loogy. They don't do that in ST.

What kind of math did you use to get to 31 outs over 13 appearances = "often pitched to one hitter"?

Russell pitched to one hitter four times in September. It's in the AB column in BR's game log. He got all four hitters out, because the IP column for those four appearances says 0.1.

You're right, though, the 10.1 innings should be 9.2, for 29 outs instead of 31. The two outs from the Mets game on 9/5 should have been excluded, since I was talking about all his appearances except that one.

30 days in September, so four times is once every seven and half days... but that's still not "often", that's occasionally. Plus Quade was there the whole season, he should have been watching Russell. Over the same time period Maine had a 1.63 ERA, only giving up a single run in two games, with a 5/11 BB/K ratio and no HR's (Russell gave up two). Then he out pitched Russell, who I like, but has sucked, this spring, despite not having his 2nd best pitch... and still he goes down.

There is undoubtedly some reason, but like I said, from the outside looking in, these decisions are just unfathomable.

1) While ST is a great opportunity for unsung players to showcase their talent, the rules are not that whoever puts up the best numbers gets the job. For one thing, ballplayers are streaky, and a cold March could mean a hot April-May.

2) Quade mentioned that Maine had pitched better for him last season, and indicated that he should have come to spring training ready to throw strikes. Throwing strikes is never a problem for Russell.

3) I made a general observation, and when challenged, produced four separate instances in one month. You weren't satisfied. I can live with that.

I'm a pretty happy camper right now, and don't find the recent Quade-Hendry personnel decisions stupid or unfathomable.

Maine only walked 2 guys in his six innings of ST work. Garza and Samardijza walk that many per inning. Maybe Quade thinks giving up HR's is a good thing in spring training...

By the way, if you take 4 out of 31 outs over 13 appearances that's 27 outs in 9 other appearances.

That's a funny idea, that Koyie Hill is on the team for his hitting. I'm assuming it's a fantasy-ball mindset, although I don't know first hand.

If you're wondering why Castillo is having trouble beating out Hill, watch his reaction to Marmol's slider in the dirt in the Sox' last at bat (Ramirez) with the tying run on second in the ninth yesterday. Watch how quickly he drops down, whether he gets his glove on the ball, where the ball ends up.

Marmol's throwing a slider in the dirt is not unusual, and when it happens, it doesn't matter if the catcher can hit.

If the Cubs are up by 4, because their catcher can hit, instead of up by one, because their catcher can't hit SEC pitching, it doesn't matter if Carlos Marmol throws a wild pitch.

Maybe Castillo drives in three runs himself, but the Cubs are only winning by one run, not four. You still have to play defense in the ninth.

I don't know about Quade, but Piniella sometimes brought Hill in late in games where it looked like the Cubs might use their closer. A few times, Hill came in just to catch Marmol. Most or all of the catcher ABs in those games went to someone else.

Do you really think these things are true? Koyie Hill came in one time, solely as a defensive replacement for at catcher last year, in April.

Hill came in specifically to catch Marmol four times between 9/11 and 9/20 the year before.

Rightly or wrongly, Piniella thought it made a difference which of the two players was catching Marmol--at least in September '09, when the Cubs still had hope of catching the Cards.

I've said several times that I don't think Hill's role is as important under Quade as it was when Piniella and Rothschild were running the show. Back then, Hill represented order amidst chaos. There's not going to be chaos now. Hill may be expendable. I like him, but I won't cry when he's gone.

That leaves one opening on the 12-man staff for either Carlos Silva, Braden Looper, Casey Coleman or Marcos Mateo."

Did I miss when the Cubs said that Cashner would be on the big league roster? I have only seen Joel Sherman talk about "another club exec" saying Cashner would be the 5th starter. But if for some reason he isn't the 5th starter, is he automatically on the roster? Or does he go to AAA and start down there?

Levine, quoting Quade:

Len and Bob tweet:
There's one #Cubs pitching spot left. Either Cashner starts & there is another righty in the pen or Cashner relieves & 5th starter is open.

Plus I think Sullivan has written it a couple of times.

"Cashner is on the club," Quade said. "What we don't know for sure yet is (his spot). We're looking hard at him as the fifth starter, but there are other scenarios there where that doesn't materialize. So basically, we're looking for one pitcher."

Keith Law was asked today, on the ESPN Baseball Today podcast, about red flags he looks for in spring training games for pitchers. He talked about down velocity and general loss of stuff, the example he gave was seeing Jay Jackson this spring, adding that he looked hurt.

keep throwing worse innings after bad...

The Cubs....screwing up contracts since 1876.....That's really,
really amazingly dumb.

One of my favorites was when they put Terry Mulholland on the wrong type of waivers and lost him to the Giants in 97.

What are you referring to? You just linked to the entire MLBTR blog.

I thought it was the bit about Silva about to get released, but then DB's comment didn't really jive with that, did it?

Please open up the part of the article about Matt Szczur's having to be placed on the 40 man roster after this season, or be exposed in the Rule 5 draft. This is because, the Cubs decided to release him, and then "re-sign" him to a new deal to give him a bigger signing bonus for forgoing the NFL combine. This move means that he'll have to be put on the 40 man roster after this season, or they could lose him. Oh, and this will be his first full season of baseball.

Stupid move.

Please refer to the part of baseball history where the Cubs were the first dynasty. I guess you can put me on the "It is better to have Szczur with the Cubs than with the Packers" bandwagon.

oh, i dunno, maybe the part about the cubs i guess...

why don't they just put AZP on retainer?

For those who don't mind that they don't talk about the game 100 percent of the time, members of the Baseball Project will be in booth with Len and Bob at some point during today's broadcast.

1 opening remaining in Transmission's annual "Rod Beck's America" fantasy baseball league. It's Head to Head with fairly deep rosters and 12x12 stat categories (mix of ratio and the usual counting stats). The returning members are pretty much all current or former TCR readers/members. It's competitive, but it's a pretty casual league with only two 'rules'. 1) don't be a jerk 2) if you do sign up, you need to be at least semi-active (we'd prefer if you can check in at least once per week) but you DO need to check in at least once per month or we'll shoot you a polite email asking you to please check into your roster to make DL adjustments or whatnot.

The live draft is this Sunday at 1 PM EST, it's free, and hosted on Yahoo. If you can't make the live draft you can pre-rank your selections.

Just go to the Yahoo fantasy baseball homepage (you'll need to register if you don't have an acct), and click the "join custom league" tab and enter the following info

League id is - 132209
Password is - samfuld

who the hell is transmission?

the ghost of Laddie Renfroe.


game on WGN. neat.

The guy sounds like he's doing a Wayne Messmer impersonation.

Cubs can't even get this right. I hate this kind of announcing. It would be so much cooler to have someone with some personality in his or her voice rather than a generic cheesy snooze like this guy.

At least if he gets sick there'd be no end to people who can fill in and sound exactly the same.

I don't care what they do as long as they don't have the poor bastard talking about bullshit at 140 decibels from the time the gates open until the national anthem. That was sooooooo annoying.

wow hendry...he's off his diet again.

Jeff Baker pulled after 3 innings for cautionary reasons, tight hamstring.

FREE Bobby Scales!

UPDATE: DeWitt turns into Godzilla and hits a high hr to RF.

and his replacement, dewitt, hits a homer off a softball playing bartender.

Bronson Arroyo needs to clean his bong, fungal infection in his lungs, according to Len and Bob.

The Crazy Chicago Bears Good Luck continues to help the Cubs.

out in AZ they have soil-borne fungus that hits humans like mono effects some teenagers with a condition called "valley fever"

basically, this time of year in the desert until it gets stupid hot anyone kicking up a lot of dirt or near construction sites are at risk for getting this.

it can persist with symptoms for months.

I know, Steve Stone had valley fever and one of our pitchers did a few years back, I'm forgetting his name. I know it's bad stuff. But I can imagine Arroyo with a bong, and I doubt it's very clean. lol.

But really, think about the weird injuries that keep happening to NL Central pitchers...

Greinke, basketball injury
Arroyo, bong injury
Cueto, injured petting a kitten
Wainright, run over by a drunk Tony Larussa


Shark has let his hair grow, now he looks like an English Springer Spaniel as he runs in from the bullpen. Just another reason not to like him.


He looks like a clown, I would cut him just for the hair.

I thought I told you to shave those sideburns!

Fuck you. I like English Springer Spaniels, lol.

Braden Looper retires after not making the team.

Recent comments

Subscribe to Recent comments
The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • Hate to give the Mets credit, but they did everything right tonight in what had to be a very tough game for them to play. As Hollandsworth said on the Cubs post-game -- if you watched the game, you saw Mets players consoling Marlins players who were in tears during the game. Between that and the way Molina handled the Ross farewell -- maybe the Mets and Cardinal players aren't pure evil. Just the fans.

    billybucks 4 hours 29 min ago view
  • New York Mets @Mets
    Dee Gordon lead-off home run. #AintEvenMad #BiggerThanBaseball 1-0 Miami.
    7:25 PM - 26 Sep 2016

    crunch 5 hours 7 min ago view
  • Amazing effort by Gordon -- truly remarkable.

    billybucks 5 hours 28 min ago view
  • Cubs get 100, KB gets 100, Hendricks gets below 2.00, Cards get absolutely destroyed by the Reds -- all good, other than some Rondon concern. Hopefully, he can get a few outings in this week and find his groove. Also, I guess Soler is still struggling with his right side. Hmmmm. Too bad Joe didn't let Addy bat with the bases loaded in the 7th -- great RBI opportunity.

    I assume all the relievers are on a set schedule this week, but it seems strange Chapman pitched back-to-back.

    billybucks 5 hours 30 min ago view
  • Barry Rozner article interviewing Greg Maddux (with comments on Kyle Hendricks).

    "I like watching him pitch," Maddux said of Hendricks. "I like guys that rely on movement and location. I can relate to him. That's what I had to do. "I'd rather watch him pitch than some lefty throwing 95 mph."

    Cubster 5 hours 51 min ago view
  • cubs win #100. neat.

    crunch 6 hours 2 sec ago view
  • Chapman in to stop the bleeding.

    Brick 6 hours 7 min ago view
  • they're falling apart late in WAS...damn.

    crunch 6 hours 38 min ago view
  • Wilson Ramos may be hurt badly. Carried off the field. Looks like the knee.

    John Beasley 6 hours 40 min ago view
  • Hendricks 6 shutout innings, ends night with an ERA of 1.99

    Cubster 6 hours 51 min ago view
  • in case it hasn't been mentioned yet, Twins are hiring Indians 32-year old Derick Falvey from the Cleveland Native Americans organization.

    Suppose McLeod could still be asked by another organization but likely staying put.

    Rob G. 7 hours 49 min ago view
  • Well put, both your remark, and Crunch's.

    Transmission 7 hours 51 min ago view
  • I saw the Gordon HR. It was like a funeral where the mourners were made to play baseball. So sad...

    CTSteve 7 hours 55 min ago view
  • i wanted to watch more of it, but it started to feel like i was going beyond witnessing a human experience that isn't often seen into an uncomfortable voyeurism. these guys are in pain.

    crunch 8 hours 14 min ago view
  • wow I am glad I missed the start of the MIA game.  I would have been sobbing.

    Transmission 8 hours 23 min ago view
  • Baez!!

    Brick 8 hours 27 min ago view