Game 3 Recap - Garza Discovers What Being a Cub Is Like

Box Score | Video

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   R H E
Pirates 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 2   5 16 0
Cubs 0 0 0 2 1 1 0 0 0   4 9 1

The Good: Let's start with Matt Garza's first start as a Cub. It wasn't perfection, frankly it was odd. The Pirates knocked 12 hits off him, all 12 being of the single variety and a handful of the pure 'effin luck variety including a check swing hit and run and jammed dribbler through the right side. Garza matched those 12 hits with 12 strikeouts though on 0 walks and threw 80 of his 106 pitches for strikes. I'm feeling confident the earned runs will look a lot beter if he can maintain that strikeout to walk ratio the rest of the year. Honestly it was a pretty epic start, if not for the seeing eye singles and some bad defense, most notably Ramirez botching a double play with a bad throw.

While the infield defense was a hot mess today, the outfield did a good job cutting off a few gap hits and keeping them singles and then of course Tyler Colvin's big throw in the top of the 8th and the face tag by Soto to preserve the Cubs lead.

Offensively, the Cubs got their first home run of the season by Soriano and Starlin Castro had himself another good day at the plate with three hits, two of them triples and a walk out of the leadoff spot. Carlos Pena looked like he had a grand slam that the wind kept in the park and got on-base with a walk and almost a bunt single to beat the shift if not for a great throw by Pedro Alvarez.

The Bad: The fan getting thrown out for obviously accidently knocking over his beer on Pena's double. Garza getting a little too much of the plate at times with 2 outs and 2 strikes. The infield defense, especially in the 9th. We know Marmol's going to get himself in trouble, but Castro had no good reason to try and make that throw that let the winning run score. And let's not forget Marlon Byrd still batting third and ending the game on a double play with the tying run at third base.

The Armchair Managing: Start with the lineup and Barney hitting second and Colvin hitting 8th. End with Reed Johnson leading off the 9th against Hanrahan instead of going to Fukudome. I was also a little surprised to see Garza come out for the 7th, but he was still hitting mid 90's and had just struck out the side, so I can't fault that decision too much.

Parachat Moment:

H_Vaughn: " Harry would love that backward it's atabat"

jumbo: 'gazra=azrag"

Diamondbacks come into town...Barry Enright vs. Randy Wells


Castro's gonna really start pissing me off if he keeps blowing up the infield that way. Hold on to that ball, kid.

I sure like the way he hits though.

Do the Cubs really have a #3 hitter? That's part of the problem.

I didn't get to see much of the game but managed to see Colvin's nice throw, and then Soto practically tagging out the umpire.

Do the Cubs really have a #3 hitter? That's part of the problem.

They have several players who are paid like #3 hitters, but no, I don't think they have one.

Do the Cubs really have a #3 hitter?

Soto. Ramirez, if we get pre-2010 Ramirez.

Soto is not on par with other #3 hitters in baseball. In my opinion, he's not even close.

Soto is not a perfect 3 hitter because he walks at an awesome percentage and most people's perception is they want the three spot driving in runs. Soto wouldn't be bad. Pre-2010 Ramirez would be better. I wonder how long middle o the order ineptitude continues until we start hearing clamorong for Castro to move down (based on if he is still hitting well). It's possible. That's how f'ed this team is right now

Indeed, I agree that Castro could be a #3 hitter of the future. Maybe you make that move when he is moved to 2B ;)

The problem with Castro moving down is who is he going to drive in?

There's five guys in the lineup (four regulars) who you can expect to have a .370 OBP, Castro, Soto, Ramirez, Fukudome and Pena. Which combination of those guys bats 1-2 if not Castro and Fukudome?

I wonder if part of the "problem" of batting Soto in a higher profile spot in the lineup is the he's only going to start 130 games if healthy, and Quade likes the idea of leaving his #3 and #4 hitters pretty much consistent.

I don't think it's a legitimate reason to bat Byrd third, but he'll probably be second on the team in games started, injuries aside.

Castro is not only the Cubs best option at leadoff, but also at #3.

Peoria beat reporter discusses the makeup of the Chiefs roster this year...

according to peoriachiefs twitter feed, Hayden Simpson well get Opening Day start, Austin Kirk goes second on Friday. Eric Jock-itch will also pitch after Simpson.

full roster:

Precious photo of Pirates scoring the go-ahead runs, with Ricketts framed in the shot and his pained expression:

Hah. Great photo.

I know, right?

Why do the Pirates beat the Cubs?

Big mystery. Could it be that the Pirates are younger, faster, more aggressive? Yesterday the winning run scored from second on a squibber to the infield and a throw to first. Who on the Cubs even tries to score from second on that play?

Castro, yes. Byrd, maybe. Barney, probably no. Colvin, no. Johnson, not at 34. Everyone else, don't be ridiculous. One yes and one maybe.

Other teams take advantage of the Pirates' obvious weaknesses, like Doumit's arm, the pitchers' lack of command, the porous defense. But Doumit actually throws out Cub base stealers (Fukudome last year and Barney on Friday come to mind.) The Cubs are actually worse when the pitcher can't find the strike zone, because they swing anyway. After the first two hitters got on base in the fourth inning yesterday, Ramirez, Pena and Soriano each swung at two pitches well out of the strike zone. As for putting pressure on the defense, the inning ended with Soto and Soriano popping up with runners on second and third. Even the Pirates can catch those.

Yeah, that fucking Soto hitting a flyball with a guy on third and one out - what a scrub.

It's usually called a pop fly or a short fly if it's not deep enough to be a sac fly.

Anyway, I misremembered. Both Soto and Soriano failed to bring the runner home from third with less than two out. Soto was the first out, Soriano the second. But the inning was effectively over because they walked Colvin intentionally and then got Garza.

Soto usually has good at bats and can be forgiven a lapse now and then. Soriano's at bat was typical in that it featured swings at two pitches out of the zone including the one he popped up. Then when he homers in the next at bat (solo of course) he poses!

Soriano also took a swinging strike at a WILD PITCH!! Ramirez stood on third in the meantime, not like he could run home in time

I had remarked yesterday that the Pirates outplayed the Cubbies the entire series.

16 hits yesterday, and only 3 earned??

They have 4-5 very nice, FAST, solid position players.

However, as we will soon see, the good teams will absolutely torch their pitching.

How our guys could look so inept is very discouraging at Wrigley, no less.

On Garza's start - I am not sure if "Epic" is how I'd describe it. You obviously want to pitch to the team you're facing, but if he throws those same pitches to the Reds, Brewers or Cards, he's giving up a lot more than singles. He was living high in the strike zone, and it worked out pretty well against a team with only one legitimate power hitter, and as mentioned one with their best hitter on the bench.

Johnson PHing in the 9th was nothing short of bizzare with Fukudome on the bench.

Holy shit, did anyone notice Hanrahan's K/9 numbers from last year? He's like a Marmol jr.

To Garza's credit, his slider was wicked good yesterday.

I'm pretty sure that Johnson had already come in as a defensive replacement, but I too was calling for K-fuk to take that at bat from Reed.

On Hanrahan, he showed that few Cubs can hit a pitch over 95mph

Stupid managing like that... learned at the feet of the expert.

Saving Fukudome to hit for the pitcher... in the seven slot. It would have been impossible for the Cubs have Fukudome come to the plate in the 9th, since he was the 8th batter up.

One thing I will give Quade credit for, letting Soto play yesterday (and again today). At least he seems to realize the black-hole of ineptitude that Hill's bat represents for an offense that is going to struggle.

Also, it will be Joe Saunders, apparently, because the last game in which Saunders was supposed to start was postponed. Enright tomorrow.


Baker, Castro, Byrd, Ramirez, Soto, Pena, Soriano, Fukudome, Wells today

if you volunteered to help, check the email address you have associated with your TCR account or 2 thread below where I mentioned it for instructions.


crunch you're already good to go...

Rob, I am setup for the spreadsheet.

We just put an X next to a reliever who appeared in the game, and a red X if he threw 30 or more pitches?

basically, I can email you the instructions. Should I use the same address?

Technically, the x is black and the background color goes to red if it's over 30, otherwise default white background. Day of the week column should be yellow.

I just updated my email address, so use the gmail one on my account. Thanks.

Only 20,000 actually showed up Sunday at Wrigley, accd. to sources. D'backs series should be even worse.

Has it been explained why the Cubs are opening the season in early April in Chicago with six games?

Not to go all Navigator, but I could see the Rickett's starting to get nervous right about now.


don't know why baseball has decided that the first games of the year shouldn't just start in warm weather and domed stadiums. But for some reason, they're not willing to do it.

I understand you can't drag it out for too long since their would be uneven number of road games for those teams later in the year, but doesn't seem all that complicated to figure out.

I assume teams even in warm weather stadiums get poor April attendance, so maybe that's the driving factor, that they have to switch it up every year.

see if I can find 8 domed/warm weather stadiums in the NL

Giants (sort of)

make the Reds the 8th I guess since they start every year at home

I guess if you want to start with some division NL West matchups, that makes it difficult.

"don't know why baseball has decided that the first games of the year shouldn't just start in warm weather and domed stadiums. But for some reason, they're not willing to do it"

Story I heard is that the West and dome teams do not want to lose summer games when kids are out of school.

Don't shoot the messanger.

This comes up every year, but every team still wants the warm weather dates. Even warm weather cities want summer dates when school's out and people use their vacation time. The schedulers can't favor some cities early for fear of denying them later, more appealing dates. So you gotta go with a random distribution, even if that means an opening series in a cold city with no stadium roof.

So you gotta go with a random distribution, even if that means an opening series in a cold city with no stadium roof.

I am talking about the first week of the season, not the first two months. Is there someplace where kids get out of school on April 8th now?

You can talk about whatever you want, but you asked for a reason. The reason is money. Apparently there's enough revenue difference between a series in late March/early April and a later series that warm-weather teams would complain if they had to consistently sacrifice later dates for early dates.

You provided a reason that makes no sense. Do you have any souce for your reason with no sense?

What doesn't make sense?

Nevermind. It doesn't really matter if you think it makes sense or not, does it?

If you think MLB has another motivation for their decisions than money, so be it.

yeah, I was thinking the first 6 games as well, I understand the long term ramifications.

If the owners ever decided to stop thinking only about their own teams and the sport as a whole, seems they could figure out a simple gate sharing deal for the first week inconvenience.

simple gate sharing deal

Sounds reasonable, but is there ever a simple way to share money? :)

I forget how much the road team currently gets of the gate, but I think it is around a third. Does anyone know for sure?

Road teams get 40% of the gate.

no idea of the accuracy or timeliness of that article but it says 80-90% goes to home team in MLB

60/40 is for the NFL

Well, they used to get 40% of the gate, but I just read that supposedly MLB stopped splitting gate receipts when they started revenue sharing.

I don't know, but I would guess that MLB opening weekend generates more of a buzz than the 2nd week of the season. The guy behind me at work goes to opening day here every year, regardless of the timing, but I would think that the second or the third day of the baseball season would be better than the 8th or 9th - from an excitement standpoint... not so much from a weather standpoint in Philly or Chicago.

I don't remember this many empty seats at Wrigley since the early 80's. I might have told this story before, but back in April or early May of '82 I went to a game and the Cubs had been promoting Rag Ball day, the first 10,000 fans get a free Cubs Rag Ball (a Rag Ball was a cloth baseball). We got in after the first pitch. The ticket takers told us they were out of Rag Balls. I was a kid and was disappointed. We go up the ramp and there's NOBODY in the park. Later in the game when they announced attendance, it was 4,500 or so. The crappy Tribune company had promised free Rag Ball's to the first 10,000 fans and then screwed everyone. I also remember Larry Bowa, in his first month or so as a Cub, taking a routine ground ball at SS and launching it into the stands over the first baseman's head. LOL.

good start jackass

At least it's not BIP luck hurting him.

What's with the fans? Bloomquist hr's to lead off the game and the fans start booing mercilessly. It's 1 ab, people.

A large contingent of fans at Wrigley started Randy Wells on their fantasy team today. :(

Joe Saunders currently has a no-hitter going. Just sayin'.

It's like TCR is in the stands.

Geo guns down the Mitsubishi Montero. Nice throw.

Nice to see Soriano hitting hr's in April.

Fucking Soriano, only hits HR's with the bases empty. He should have struck out and homered his next time up (assuming, and this is a big one, that Pena doesn't HR or GIDP).

he should have been on third on the sac fly, he can see Upton's setting up to throw home. And then would have scored on the wild pitch.

baby steps, rob, baby steps

Millar rips Lou; funniest thing about it is all of Sullivan's typos:

Then Lou goes into the post game and throws up his hands and says "I am doing everything I can do." Sure you are, Lou.

Sounds like Bradley wasn't the only one making things uncomfortable in the dugout/clubhouse, if Trammel won't speak up or Ramirez/Lee are afraid to ask to know if they're in the lineup when they arrive at the ballpark.

The lineup is posted pretty early during the regular season, sometimes before everyone's arrived.

PWSullivan Paul Sullivan
Friend of Lou defends mgr from Millar's criticism: "The only thing Kevin Millar needed to know about the lineup was he wasn't in it."

The first thing speaking with (Ryan) Dempster, he loves this guy. It’s a different feel.

this dempster/quade lovefest is getting uncomfortable. Do they smoke pot together or something?

Cubs have second highest paid # 7 hitter(for now)

"Knee jerk move based on small sample size."

There is definitely something to be said for concocting a plan and sticking to and trusting it, even if it starts out rocky.

Also, the 26th ranked #3 hitter as of today.

Guessing Byrd is below that?

Nope. It was Byrd!

ohh, I thought you were talking about Crawford.

Carry on!!


Mark Riggins with his first mound visits. I was worried the guy was gonna start getting hemorroids considering he hasn't moved off his ass in 4 days.

hey look, bad infield defense

still fun to root for him

nice Houdini work there to save Castro

He's going to pitch every day, apparently, so you should get plenty of chances.

yes it is!

Would you consider removing the team's best current hitter for D at the SS position, late innings?

Or, does that fuck up the kid's head?

Or, is that "over-analyzing"?

The D is going to cost the team 8-10 games potentially, in 2011

The D is going to cost the team 8-10 games potentially, in 2011

I'm not sure about overanalyzing, but that sure is overestimating.

Are you just gonna ignore the plays he does make that other a lot of other shortstops don't?

Are you just gonna ignore the plays he does make that other a lot of other shortstops don't?

Well, not ignore, but how do you quantify "plays he makes that others don't.". There is not a stat for that that I have seen. Whereas, errors are tracable as are unearned runs leading to a loss.

Yeah, maybe 8-10 games may be a bit much.
4-6, then?

Or in other words, you don't know to account for his positives, so you will only account for his negatives.


That is kind of like saying Adam Dunn is going to make X more outs than the average player, because he strikes out X more times. (too lazy to look up actual numbers).

No. That is in your other words as per your usual habit of misinterpretation.

Had you read my post from earlier today, I focused on the positive with Castro, in reply to defense and TRN. Look above and you will see, in light of his 3-4 two triple Sunday.

My general hypothetical question was would anyone be willing to guard against late inning errors and give up Castro's bat if the trend continues?

well there are advanced defensive metrics that do a reasonable job of it.

and the kid does make mistakes out there and some of them will be costly (like yesterday that wasn't called an error) and some won't be costly (like today's that was an error).

He is what he is... very young, ton of talent. You take the good with the bad. A couple games do not bother me, but I will be interested to see if he learns to slow the game down on defense or does he make boneheaded plays all year.

I'll admit I've been paying a lot more attention to the Bulls this Spring than the Cubs, but does it seem to anyone else that the Ricketts clan has finally broken the cash-camel's back?

I know it's not great weather, but the stands looked EMPTY today, and there's really no one on this team I'm the least bit excited about outside Castro, Colvin, and Cashner (and I'm pretty sure those guys are a couple years away from really producing). I just think people have finally given up on throwing away what little disposable income they have on a shitty baseball team with greedy owners.

Then again, I'll change my mind the first sunny, 70 degree day we get around here.

The weather has been bad (save for yesterday) and they're playing shitty teams. I think those reasons are more responsible, though certainly skepticism reigns.

it's just a weird level of empty there the past 2 days. you'd think there was 1" of rain in the forecast or's mid/high 40s and windy for the most part today.

Most reports say the Cubbies have about 22K-ish STH's.

Then you factor in Comcast, licensing, some dailies, etc.

I am sure they are not bleeding - yet.

If it's like that in June, then panic.

w/ a 3 run lead couldn't we consider giving the closer a day off? is howry still available?

on the other hand, how many times will be leading a close game in the 9th on 3 consecutive days?

Chicago Cubs East about to go 4-0, Brewers drop another one to go 0-4.

Gonna be soooo pissed if they make the playoffs with all those ex-cubs... Not even funny.

GREAT GAME. Really enjoyed it. But Rickass is lucky if there were 10,000 actual people in the stands today. It looked like April 1967 out there (and here's hoping the Cubs are at least as successful as they were in that turn-around year).

Laffable Official attendance: 26,292

Just 26,292 seats were sold, the smallest paid crowd in nine years at the Friendly Confines.

Pena D2D with a sprained thumb, explaining the Reed p-hitting appearance.

Ah, that makes more sense. Hopefully Pena is fine. Jeff Baker at first was downright goofy.


I wonder if he sprained his thumb on that wild throw by Castro?

Levine said yes. Ball hit him in the glove hand with the least padding on it. Ouch!

For those of you who got to watch today, what was up with Wells's Gorzellany impression?

On a good note, the Cubs staff got 27 outs without giving up a run today.

I hope we see Colvin more regularly as the season progresses than we have so far. I have a hard time justifying giving PAs to Byrd or Fukudome over Colvin. Pena's injury maybe gets him some playing time at first base.

Fukudome is Mr. April, no reason not to keep riding that streak for one last season.

Byrd could use a mental break though.

I really agree. Byrd is the guy who I'd like to see lose the most playing time to Colvin, at least until Fukudome gets cold or if Pena turns out to be a .200 hitter.

And in reply, Byrd goes 3-for-4 and drives in the go-ahead run in the 7th inning.

Plus if you don't want to bat Castro leadoff the best bet is probably Fuk. I hope Colvin gets more AB's too. I just hope more get taken away from Byrd at this point (which will never happen).

Recent comments

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  • HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC. 

    Arizona Phil 22 min 26 sec ago view
  • ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels. 

    M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores)  the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating. 

    Arizona Phil 25 min ago view
  • E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.  

    Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).  

    Arizona Phil 34 min 51 sec ago view
  • PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.

    The E-Man 1 hour 17 min ago view
  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 6 hours 2 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 6 hours 3 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 15 hours 45 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 18 hours 43 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 18 hours 55 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 19 hours 4 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 19 hours 9 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 19 hours 27 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 20 hours 4 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 20 hours 21 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 20 hours 23 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 20 hours 41 min ago view