Hail to Szczur!

Matt Szczur drove-in six runs with a two-run double and a grand slam home run, Brett Jackson slugged a solo home run, ripped an RBI double, walked twice, and scored three runs, and Tony Campana singled and scored in all three of his at bats, stole a base, and drove-in a run, leading one squad of Cubs to a 10-4 victory over another squad of Cubs in an intrasquad game played at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny, blustery, and cool Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.

The game was a pre-planned six-inning affair.

Brett Jackson got things started for the Rick Sutcliffe Squad, leading off the game by blasting a towering HR on a 1-2 pitch over the 390-foot sign in right-center off LHP Travis Wood. Matt Szczur followed with an opposite-field line-drive single over the 1st baseman’s head into short RF, and after advancing a base on a ground out, scored all the way from 2nd on a Reed Johnson sacrifice fly caught against the RF fence by David DeJesus. (Szczur did not hesitate rounding 3rd base, and scored easily, without a play at the plate).

The Sutcliffe Squad added to their lead in the top of the 2nd, as Szczur roped an opposite-field grand slam HR over the RF fence, driving in Junior Lake (who had led-off the inning with a line-drive single to left), Tony Campana (reached base on a line-drive single over SS Starlin Castro’s head), and Brett Jackson (walked to load the bases). The inning was stopped with one out (“roll it!”) after T. Wood hit Jeff Baker with a pitch and Anthony Rizzo lined a single past first-baseman Bryan LaHair into RF.

After being set-down 1-2-3 by Randy Wells in the bottom of the 1st inning, the Dale Sveum Squad plated three runs and cut the lead in half in the 2nd. The squad loaded the bases with one out, as Marlon Byrd roped a sizzling double down the line and into the LF corner, David DeJesus drew a walk, and Blake Lalli reached on a single. Darwin Barwin then chopped an RBI bouncer to Josh Vitters at 3rd base, who was able to get a force-out at 2nd before Jeff Baker threw the relay past 1st baseman Anthony Rizzo and into the 1st base dugout, allowing a second runner to score. Blake DeWitt followed with a line-drive RBI single off a diving Jeff Baker's glove to score Barney from 2nd base. (DeWitt had three line-drive singles in three AB, one to RF, one to CF, and one to LF).

The Sutcliffe crew came back with a run in the 4th and three more in the 6th off Andy Sonnanstine.

Brett Jackson creamed a line-drive RBI double over CF Marlon Byrd’s head (Byrd got all turned around trying to track the ball), scoring Tony Campana from 2nd base in the 4th (Campana had gone back to tag-up at 2nd, so he had to really turn on the “after-burners” to beat Darwin Barney’s relay throw home), and Campana smacked an RBI single and Matt Szczur cracked a two-run double in the 6th (this inning was also stopped before two outs, when Sonnanstine reached his max pitch count for the day).

The Sveum Group scored the final run of the game in the bottom of the 6th, on a Darwin Barney 4-6-3 DP ball.

Four pitchers worked in the game (two for each squad), with each pitcher throwing three innings (although two of the innings were stopped before a third out was recorded). None of the pitchers were particularly effective, although Casey Coleman allowed only one run in his three-inning stint.

Alfonso Soriano hit lead-off for the Sveum Squad, the first time he’s done that in a while. It didn’t provide much in the way of a spark, however, as Sori went 0-4 with two strike outs.

Other than Marlon Byrd playing the B-Jax line-drive into an RBI double, the bad relay throw by Jeff Baker that allowed an unearned run to score, and a harmless E-6 (bobble) by SS Junior Lake, the defense looked OK.

This was the first intrasquad game played by the Cubs prior to the start of Cactus League play since 2006. The Cubs did play an intrasquad game as their last Spring Training game last year, but both Lou Piniella and Mike Quade favored simple work-outs (BP and fielding practice) at HoHoKam Park on the two days prior to the start of Cactus League play.

There is no "official scorer" for Spring Training intrasquad games, so here is the unofficial box score:

1. Brett Jackson, CF: 2-2 (HR, BB, 2B, BB, 3 R, 2 RBI)
2. Matt Szczur, LF: 3-4 (1B, HR, L-7, 2B, 2 R, 6 RBI)
3. Jeff Baker, 2B: 0-2 (5-3, HBP, 4-3)
4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B: 1-2 (BB, 1B, K)
5. Reed Johnson, RF: 0-2 (F-9 SF, P-4, F-8, RBI)
6. Josh Vitters: 3B: 0-3 (6-3, 5-3, 5-3)
7. Junior Lake, SS: 2-3 (1B, 6-3, 1B, 2 R, SB)
8. Michael Brenly, C: 0-3 (P-4, F-9, F-9)
9. Tony Campana, DH: 3-3 (1B, 1B, 1B, 3 R, RBI, SB)

1. Alfonso Soriano, LF: 0-4 (6-3, P-6, K, K)
2. Ian Stewart, 3B: 0-3 (K, 4-3, 4-3)
3. Starlin Castro, SS: 0-3 (5-3, 5-3, E-6, CS)
4. Bryan LaHair, 1B: 1-3 (F-7, 1B, 4-3)
5. Marlon Byrd, CF: 1-2 (2B, BB, P-4, R)
6. David DeJesus: RF: 1-1 (BB, BB, 1B, 2 R)
7. Blake Lalli, C: 2-3 (1B, 6-U FC, 1B)
8. Darwin Barney, 2B: 0-3 (5-4 FC+E-4, F-8, 4-6-3 DP, R, RBI)
9. Blake DeWitt, DH: 3-3 (1B, 1B, 1B, RBI)

1. Randy Wells: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 60 pitches (30 strikes), 6/2 GO/FO
2. Casey Coleman: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 2 K, 1 GIDP, 52 pitches (34 strikes), 4/2 GO/FO

1. Travis Wood: 2.1 IP, 6 H, 6 R (6 ER), 2 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP, 1 WP, 2 HR, 60 pitches (36 strikers), 4/3 GO/FO
2. Andy Sonnanstine: 2.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R (4 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 WP, 57 pitches (31 strikes), 2/4 GO/FO
NOTE: Travis Wood’s second inning was stopped with runners at 1st & 2nd and only one out when he reached his max pitch limit for that inning, and Andy Sonnanstine’s last inning was stopped with a runner on 2nd base and only one out when he reached his max pitch limit for the day

1. 2B Jeff Baker E-4 – errant relay throw to 1st base while attempting to complete 5-4-3 DP allowed runner to score from 3rd base and batter-runner to advance to 2nd base
2. SS Junior Lake E-6 – bobbled ground ball allowing batter to reach base safely


Michael Brenly: 1-1 CS
Blake Lalli: 0-2 CS, 1 PB



fwiw, televised games (live and tape delay/rebroadcasts) start tomorrow on MLB Network.

lot of games sunday.

no cubs for a while on the schedule...some AM-timed replays from the day/night before early on. boo.

cubs "30 teams in 30 days" on Wednesday...many repeats to follow.


MLB Network spring games broadcast schedule

Az Phil: was Ian Stewart's swing limited to one plane?

it's all fun and games til you actually watch the guy swing a bat rather than how pretty AAA numbers look.

he's a cub...i'm not.

unless he's received new instruction to ignore (besides lowering his bat from where he used to load it behind his head to his shoulders) i doubt he's swinging a bat any differently than the past 3 years.


hi, im ian stewart...who wants to see a low-upper-chopping swing where my back shoulder locks as i predictably ground or line anything not a low fastball in/at middle-plate to the 2nd/RF?

...at least the line drives usually turn to hits. hopefully he'll get enough mistakes (or talent elevation) to do something when he doesn't miss high or low. some warning track power would at least be some kinda sign. he's going to have a hard time with power on anything not low and on the plate...anyone throwing him low heat praying for a ground ball out or popup FB is playing with fire when you can pitch him high and get the same thing without a high threat of him putting it over a wall. he cannot get his power cranked there with his toned-down 1/2 jeromy burnitz swing. burnitz K'd a lot with his stroke, but his swing was designed to put a ball in the OF or over a wall...whether he hit .250 while doing it or not.

Dang! I was going to ask that!

Darwin Barwin? Not such a big fan of him, eh?

Thanks PHIL!

I see you are in early ST mode. NO attendance! haha!

Was wondering if the pitchers - via the pitching coach's direction - are just throwing limited breaking balls? Throwing everything at 3/4 speed? And, is there any stoppage of play for "teaching moments" at the big league camp like is done in AZL play?

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 6:43pm — The E-Man
Re: Hail to Szczur!

Thanks PHIL!

I see you are in early ST mode. NO attendance! haha!

Was wondering if the pitchers - via the pitching coach's direction - are just throwing limited breaking balls? Throwing everything at 3/4 speed? And, is there any stoppage of play for "teaching moments" at the big league camp like is done in AZL play?


E-MAN: The pitchers appeared to be throwing like they normally do early in the Cactus League season, which is to say they weren't throwing only fastballs or informal "live" BP, but they did seem to be lacking the command I would expect to see later on. For example, Randy Wells only threw 50% strikes.

That said, Travis Wood and Andy Sonnanstine really sucked. Make of that what you will.

After all of the attention to bunting at Fitch Park recently, only one player tried to lay down a bunt today and that was Junior Lake. His bunt was a real beauty, too, just rolling foul at the last second. (Lake also had two hard-hit line-drive singles to left... both had a ton of hook).

There was no stoppage of play to allow for teaching moments during the game, but nothing really happened today that would have seemed to warrant that.

It was indeed good to see not one but two "roll it!" interruptions, though. Just like Extended Spring Training. All that was missing was a "stay out there!" (invoked when a pitcher doesn't throw enough pitches before getting three outs in an inning), and (of course) the ten or 11 man lineups with two or three extra designated hitters.

BTW, there were three umpires at the game, and I believe they were MLB guys. So other than it being the Cubs playing the Cubs and the two "roll it!" stoppages, it wasn't much different from your typical Cactus League game.

saturday is shaping up to be a hell of a day to go golfing for regulars...it's kid's day lineups for both squads.

Quote from Sveum today: "We don't have the bona fide guys at any position in the order."

Whoops, sorry about that big fella.

"Cody Ross homered twice and drove in five runs as a Red Sox split-squad beat Northeastern 25-0 on Saturday."

daaaaamn. 6 innings, btw.

At least the NU basketball team outscored Boston by 45 today. And Iowa by 4.

Recent comments

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  • based on what SF has been doing every other year lately, getting access to the postseason playoffs seems to be what's important. bring on dat short series!

    that said, skipping the sudden death 1-game WC would be nice from here on out.

  • I know what you are saying, but I feel compelled to point out that there's no such thing as luck, curses, etc. The Cubs this year have as good as a chance as the Pirates to move on to the next round. If the Cubs proceed to the next round or not tomorrow, it will not be because of luck, but because one team outlasted the other. When/if the Cubs are lucky enough to make it to the league series, that's where they may find their biggest challenge. The Dodgers have a good, deep pitching staff.

  • debuting the new format 1 game "sudden death" WC matchup at yankee stadium does a perfect job of showing the intense emotion and drama this game can be.

    that said, i'm ready to not see yankee stadium or hear fans at yankee stadium for another 5 and 1/2 months. at least i don't have to sit through the braves with their "tommy hawk chawp" this postseason.

  • i'd like to know why the mlb.tv internet radio feed of the game (which is always delayed by a few seconds at best) is almost a minute faster than the ESPN cable TV coverage. wtf?

  • i dont know what order they'll be in, but i pretty much expect fowler/schwarb/rizzo/bryant/montero/castro/lastella/arrieta. any change at all (aside from the first 4 guys) wouldn't shock me, though. coghlan is still a wildcard in the lineup equation...plus joe could always march d.ross out there with very slow arrieta pitching.

  • Yup. Have to agree. Baseball, like golf, certainly has that psych component for the player. There is no real reason why a fielding position should affect a batting average. The Cubs are 106 years over due for a little luck. Don't you guys think so? Maybe the rookies can bring some dumb luck on.

  • probably stacking capable lefties vs cole while keeping the "hot" castro in the game. fwiw, he's 1-6 lifetime with 0 bb/k vs cole (double).

    i chalk bryant's issues at the plate while playing OF up to coincidence so far.

  • I will call your dead horse, "Trigger".

    In one game, when anything is possble, I am glad that Joe Maddon is our Manager.

    He knows the stats better than all of us. It would seem, IF La Stella gets the start at 3B, it will be only up to the point that they were to get the lead (crosses fingers). From everything I have read, the game will be managed like a hoops game: offense/defense. So expect La Stella to be out of the game by the 5th. This team is incredibly deep which is so surprising. We never woulda thunk it.

  • i don't know what their roster plans are, but j.herrera is out there practicing with the team.

    i can't imagine him making any roster, though. dude had 4 PA the entire month of sept. him being a good dude to be around while keeping the clubhouse loose seems to be his main role at this point.

  • I know it's my own personal dead horse to beat --but Bryant has been a lousy hitter when playing the OF this year. Given that it's his first playoff game, I really hope they keep him in his natural position and don't mess with his routine.

    Lousy as in 8-for-45 with one XBH and no HR. Small sample and all that -- but why take the chance?

  • hard to tell what's up given they'll probably want to stack as many good lefties into the lineup as possible.

    castro being a bit hot doesn't help things. if he was still cool they'd probably stick la stella at 2nd and call it a day.

  • Madden won't announce lineups but Stella is practicing at 3rd and Bryant in LF today. I'd rather see Bryant at 3rd but I guess Stella has been hotter than Coghlan.

    /edit. Though I guess they could be practicing this with the idea Stella would come in as a PH then double switch him to 3rd base and Bryant to LF. Hope that's the plan instead

  • I really like the sound of that idea about expanding the AFL to ten teams. Each org. gets to field more players.
    They should do that anyway, regardless of Adv. Instructs.

  • Dallas Beeler, Corey Black, David Garner, Pierce Johnson, Steve Perakslis, James Pugliese, Duane Underwood Jr, and Rob Zastryzny threw early-morning bullpen side-sessions at Riverview yesterday.  

    Underwood threw last, and received specific one-on-one instruction from pitching coach Mike Mason. 

  • HAGSAG: There are only five advanced instructs squads left, and presently the only "co-op" team operating is the Angels/Cubs.

    The league was originally established as a "parallel" league to the AFL (a sort of "junior AFL"), for players too advanced for traditional ("basic") instructs but who were unable to get placed on AFL rosters due to AFL player-limits.

  • He is but I would think it'd be better to start out with offense and then bring in Jackson and LaStella once they have a lead. Stella has very good PH #s too.