Dustin X-Ackley What Mariners Need to Throttle Cubs

Dustin Ackley smashed a three-run home run to cap a four-run 5th inning, and Guillermo Quiroz cracked a two-run HR to finish the scoring in the 9th, as the Seattle Mariners drubbed the Cubs 10-3 in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in cool & sunny Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.

Chris Volstad (acquired from the Marlins in exchange for Carlos Zambrano during the off-season) got the start for the Cubs and looked very good, retiring the first seven men he faced and throwing three innings of one-hit shutout ball (32 pitches – 18 strikes, 2/4 GO/FO). As was the case with Jeff Samardzija yesterday, Volstad had his scheduled two-inning stint extended by an inning after throwing only 17 pitches (combined) through his first two innings.

Kerry Wood followed Volstad to the mound, making his 2012 Cactus League debut. Woody threw a shutout inning, allowing a two-out Justin Smoak double that was rifled down the RF line. KW is always a fan favorite at HoHoKam.

Meanwhile, Alfonso Soriano gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 2nd, slugging a lead-off solo HR just to the left of the “Green Monster” Batter’s Eye and off the roof of the CF refreshment stand. Sori has been on fire this week, as he appears be in the midst of one of his patented home run binges. The 36-year old Soriano may be just a one-dimensional player at this stage of his career, but that one dimension is an ability to hit gargantuan home runs.

Cub closer Carlos Marmol took the hill in the 5th, and he had a bad outing. He did rack-up a couple of strikeouts (both swinging), but otherwise he couldn’t even retire the side before having to be relieved. For the day, Marmol allowed four runs on four hits plus an HBP in 2/3 of an inning. Among the hits allowed was a Dustin Ackley three-run HR that landed above & beyond the RF bullpens.

RHP Blake Parker (competing for a RH middle-relief job) relieved Marmol and extinguished the fire in the 5th by striking out Justin Smoak, but the Mariners scored a run off Parker in the 6th on consecutive one-out hits before a “strike-‘em-out/throw-‘em-out” (in concert with catcher Welington Castillo) ended the inning.

Down 5-1 going into the bottom of the 6th, the Cubs scored two runs off Seattle RHRP Tom Wilhelmsen to make the score 5-3. Both of the runs were unearned, thanks to a couple of throwing errors, one by Wilhelmsen himself when he overthrew the first-baseman after fielding a strike three pitch that bounced off the catcher’s shin-guard and halfway out to the mound.

LHP Scott Maine did nothing to win the 2nd LH relief job, coming into the game in the top of 7th after the Cubs had scored two in the previous half-inning and promptly giving both runs back. Josh Vitters contributed to the problem with an E-5 throwing error, but the fact is Maine just could not throw strikes. He was all over the place, and ended-up walking the bases loaded and then surrendering a two-run double before getting yanked out of the game with the Cubs down 7-3.

RHP Alberto Cabrera relieved Maine, and although he got the last out in the 7th (leaving two runners stranded), he then gave up three consecutive hits leading off the 8th. 38-year old veteran LHRP Trever Miller came into the game with the bases loaded and nobody out, and did as well as probably could be expected under the circumstances, allowing one of the runners to score on a single, but also inducing a couple of comeback bouncers to the mound (one leading to a 1-2 FC, and the other beginning an inning-ending 1-2-3 DP).

RHRP Casey Weathers (competing with Blake Parker and several others for the RH middle-relief job) pitched the 9th, and he stunk, walking three, throwing two wild pitches, and allowing a two-run HR. (Weathers was the pitcher the Cubs got from the Rockies in the trade involving Ian Stewart, Tyler Colvin, and D. J. LeMahieu).

Cubs dead-head brain-fart Play of the Day was by Twins castoff infielder Matt Tolbert, who, with runners at 1st & 2nd and no outs, dived to stop a ball behind 2nd base, and then instead of tossing the ball six feet to a waiting Junior Lake (who was STANDING ON 2ND BASE) for an easy 4-6 force-out (the runner would have been out at 2nd by three or four steps), inexplicably decided to get to his feet and try to throw out the runner at 1st base (who had crossed the bag by the time the throw arrived). Not exactly Chris Webber calling timeout when his team had no timeouts left in an NCAA National Championship basketball game, but it was still a stupid decision.

The Cubs travel to the west-side tomorrow, where they will play the White Sox at Camelback Ranch.


Which thread should I comment in?!?!? So many choices! :)
- Thanks Arizona Phil - always enjoy your reports.



Phil - you mentioned yesterday that there were a lot of Cuban refugees at camp but they were missing several DR players. Is there some sort of VISA limit that could prevent them from bringing too many foreign players into camp?

Thu, 03/08/2012 - 9:18pm — DavidP

Phil - you mentioned yesterday that there were a lot of Cuban refugees at camp but they were missing several DR players. Is there some sort of VISA limit that could prevent them from bringing too many foreign players into camp?


DAVID P: There used to be a limit of 26 H-2B work visas available for each MLB club each season. Sometimes a Cubs minor league player would get sent back to the Cubs Dominican Academy just so a different player could get a visa and come to the U. S.

But there is no longer any limit, because about five years ago the U. S. immigartion law was changed to allow minor league players to apply for and receive P-1 work visas (the same ones MLB players use).

Foreign minor league players can still have a problem getting a P-1 visa, though. For one thing there is a waiting period, and also there has been increased scrutiny of individuals applying for work visas post-9/11, so any mistake or discrepancy on the application can cause a delay in the issuance of the visa.

you mean like using a name that is not really yours? LOL

There's an exception if they can roll crepes.

Ian Stewart for Tyler Colvin, OK, I'm on board with that. Makes sense for both teams.

But DJ LeMahieu for Casey Freaking Weathers? Wow. I think the Cubs finally found a reliever that is less successful at throwing strikes than the previous champion, Felix Heredia.

Prediction: Marmol doesn't make it to June 1 as the closer.

at the risk of the retarded "i think theo knows better than you" crowd popping up about weathers again...i dunno a single scout that likes anything he brings to the table.

the fact he's on the 40-man roster is useless, imo. he was probably just a toss-in on a list of unattractive options. if he was actually targeted then...sigh.

he wasn't good before he was injured and he's been worse since then. he's never had it...probably never will.

blah blah 1st round pick...he sucked in college (for a 1st round pick projection) and wasn't even a starter. he was supposed to be one of those guys that spends a part-to-one season in the minors before contributing in the bigs. all stuff and no idea what to do with it. keeping the ball in the park is about the only thing he can do. when he was doing it vs. alluminum bats in college some people's eyes glossed over about a guy that needs 20+ pitches to get through an inning pitching on an elite NCAA team.

fwiw, given the lack of 3rd base availabilty anywhere it would have probably taken more than colvin to get i.stewart...but then again they got him from a team that wanted colvin for a bench spot and felt more comfortable with a nearly 40 year old FA manning 3rd over stewart.

I think there's going to be quite a few guys who don't make it pass the trade deadline. I look for BJax, Rizzo, and (if they don't make the Opening Day roster) Dolis, Castillo as well. If Marmol has a semi-decent first 75 games, it will be interesting to see what he, Dempster, Soto, and Byrd might return.

That's gotta be the hope, that Marmol looks decent the first few months and then Team Theo, who hopefully despise pitchers that can't throw strikes as much as we do, can trade him away to a contender that "needs a closer."

I'm just REALLY tired of seeing pitchers on the Cubs with high BB/9 rates, it drives me nuts.

I am trying to think of the elite closers who fall in the pattern of high BB-then-strike-out-the-side guys. There have to be a couple?

In pre-Marmol years we watched Joe Borowski, Bobby Howry, Randy Myers, Wild Thing, Sutter, Lee Smith, Bob Scanlan, etc.

I remember Mitch Williams in his prime would walk three and strike out three. It seems like the closers with low walk rates may be the exception?

"I think Soriano had his best year as a Cub last year"
(face palm)

Did say Soriano has lowered his leg kick and has so far done a better job of not swinging at breaking balls in the dirt.

Moved Ian's hands down, and changing his weight distribution. Says he was leaning back too much to start.

Yeah for that comment, Rudy should have his man card revoked....2007-2008 were clearly better..

Was Rudy with the Cubs in 2007-8? I can't remember. Maybe he just meant, since he's been with the team. I may be getting a little crusty, but I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, especially when they're in an interview.

This might be getting to the point that Dusty is going to have to shit the bed pretty bad to lose this division.

He's up for the challenge.

Brewers are still very much in it, in my humble opinion.

Brewers look good enough to compete. But if they get out of the gate slow and get in a hole and are several games back after 1/3 of the season, there'll be a lot of pressure to trade Greinke and Marcum and re-plenish that decimated farm system. Signing Weeks and Ramirez notwithstanding, their window sure looks like it's about to close.

they have 3.5 months to be out of it, and what's out of it with an extra WC?

Even if they're 4 games back of a playoff spot, with 3-4 teams in the mix. Obviously, that's not even close to "out of it" mathematically speaking, but I doubt they want to bet the whole decade on a team who might be 43-41 in early July.

If it was my decision, I'd sure be nervous about not getting some return from contenders looking at Greinke, Marcum, and KRod. Their farm doesn't have a lot of impact talent to produce. Even with the core of Braun, Weeks, Gallardo, Ramirez, Axford, and Gamel, and with the $25M or or so they'd have to spend, it seems unlikely they could turn around and re-construct a pennant winner for 2013.

So the point is, with the window closing after this year, a franchise like Milwaukee with a $90M or so payroll ceiling has to make a calculated bet.

agree to disagree, their owner seems more than willing to go for it. I don't see any "white flag" trades.

If they're truly out of it, of course, but the rule of thumb is usually 5 games back and a .500 mark. If that's where they're at around July 1st, they'll likely be looking to add more than subtract.

I think they're in it, they just aren't very deep. They have almost anybody go down and they'll be in trouble.

AZ PHIL: Any sightings on Robert Whitenack? Is he still rehabbing? Thx.

he had TJ surgery last june.

shame...good arm.

expected mid-season AA.


Thought he might be out in the AZ.

Fri, 03/09/2012 - 11:21am — The E-Man
Re: Dustin X-Ackley What Mariners Need to Throttle Cubs

AZ PHIL: Any sightings on Robert Whitenack? Is he still rehabbing? Thx.


E-MAN: Rob Whitenack is at Minor League Camp and he is assigned to the AA Tennessee squad. While he is running and participating in most of the fielding drills, he is restricted as far as throwing is concerned. I have not seen him throw off a mound yet.

I would think he will almost certainly open the regular season at Extended Spring Training, and then maybe (hopefully) he will be back in the starting rotation at Tennesse by mid-season, or at least by next season.

Four non-roster invitees have been assigned to minor league camp: right-handed pitchers Marco Carrillo and Trey McNutt; infielder Jonathan Mota; and outfielder Jae-Hoon Ha.

Chicago’s spring roster of 59 players consists of 28 pitchers (eight non-roster invitees), seven catchers (four non-roster invitees), 14 infielders (five non-roster invitees) and 10 outfielders (three non-roster invitees).


AZ Phil:

How's the Manny Corpas Reclamation Project going?

If Shark indeed moves to the rotation, Corpas is about the only veteran pen guy who can replace him.

Thanks in advance for the knowledge.

Fri, 03/09/2012 - 1:43pm — Seamhead

AZ Phil:

How's the Manny Corpas Reclamation Project going?

If Shark indeed moves to the rotation, Corpas is about the only veteran pen guy who can replace him.

Thanks in advance for the knowledge.


SEAMHEAD: I saw Manny Corpas throw "live" BP twice at Fitch Park and one inning-plus in one Cactus League game, and based on that limited amount of information, I have not been impressed.

He is throwing from various arm angles, kind of like he is trying to trick the hitters. But he hasn't fooled too many so far.

As to who might be the frontrunners to win RH relief jobs coming out of Spring Training, I would say Rafael Dolis and either Marcos Mateo or Blake Parker (Mateo is out of minor league options). Or perhaps Rodrigo Lopez , Andy Sonnanstine, and/or Casey Coleman could pitch effectively in middle relief, although I really like Lopez better as the "12th man" (long-man & spot starter)

Actually, the best RH relief arms (talking about guys who throw hard stuff) are probably down the street at Minor League Camp... Kevin Rhoderick, Aaron Kurcz, and Tony Zych. The Cubs decided not to give any of three an NRI (inviting Marco Carrillo instead), although both Rhoderick and Zych were called up from Minor League Camp and threw an inning a piece in a Cactus League game earlier this week. We might be seeing more of them in Cactus League games during the course of Spring Training if the others who were invited to big league camp are found wanting.


Anyone know why Hawk calls Stone, Stone Pony? Is there a story there?

because hawk is a dick

Stone Pony is a pretty famous music venue in NJ.

In fact, Asbury Park - Springsteen's house.

That is the most likely the reference.

There is also a band named that - not to be confused with Stone Temple Pilots...

His pathological need to drop a nickname on everyone drives me crazy. His whole Folksiness schtick, in fact, makes me want to vomit after about 3 minutes.

I hate "can of corn" more than just about any phrase in the history of broadcast sports. Especially the way he says it.

I'd put "he gone" right up there, too.

Memo to Harrelson: You broadcast for a team based in Chicago. Chicago is a city that is located in the northern midwest region of the United States of America. WE DO NOT SAY "DADGUMMIT" HERE. That is all.

Well, to be fair, no different than Quade, right?

Someone needs to explain to Stone the difference between a delayed steal and a walking lead.

im guessing it's junior lake...the cubs in-house master of the "delayed steal"

ryan klesko approves.

awww. boo.

a real pitcher's ump.


O U T!!!


hawk just went copier guy turned Moose Skorowon into the "Moosemiester"

Just die already.

muted tv to hear len on mlb.net
just in time not to hear stoney cream himself over donnie veal now in the game

fuku in right

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    crunch 58 min 23 sec ago view
  • there was more than one way to get there


    Rob G. 1 hour 3 min ago view
  • supposedly jed "who?" hoyer, too

    crunch 1 hour 6 min ago view
  • same...i just happen to not like sitting through shit sandwich meals for multiple years. baseball is kinda boring when you're punting on 1st down for a slew of years in a row.

    i fully understand why it was done, but i didn't enjoy it. there was more than one way to get competitive and this was the chosen way.

    crunch 1 hour 7 min ago view
  • fwiw, apparently McLeod signed extension as well after he didn't get Twins gig.

    Rob G. 1 hour 7 min ago view
  • I am once again reminded why I am happy that Theo is running the organization.

    Rob Richardson 1 hour 12 min ago view
  • if not they can just intentionally tank the team for 3-4 years and rebuild.




    crunch 1 hour 15 min ago view
  • Hopefully after the Cubs complete their sevenpeat :)

    Rob Richardson 1 hour 26 min ago view
  • They're the best in the business and have been for 12 years running now. The only question is when they'll get bored of it.

    Rob G. 1 hour 30 min ago view
  • I was right here. I don't require my GM's to be perfect, but I would like them to understand what wins baseball games (IMO controlling the strike zone and creating/avoiding outs), and knowing where the organization is in the success cycle.

    Theo and company have made and will make plenty of mistakes, but they seem to understand those two items pretty well.

    Rob Richardson 1 hour 33 min ago view
  • Now we're all Theo-believers, where were you when he signed Edwin Jackson? Or how about trading away DJ Lemehaiu? And not signing Samardzija to an extension? Or not pursuing Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols? Or signing Lester? Or trading away Cashner, Dempster, Feldman, etc?...I think I'm losing the narrative here.

    So his deal runs through 2021? Which pretty much coincides when all these guys are due to hit free agency.

    Rob G. 1 hour 43 min ago view
  • Great news.

    "Terms of the deal were not disclosed."


    Rob Richardson 2 hours 10 min ago view
  • Theo inks five year extension

    PC tonite at PNC

    jacos 2 hours 32 min ago view
  • Not as a major factor, but could be a tie-breaker. But, yeah, on performance and experience, it's Coghlan.

    billybucks 3 hours 20 min ago view
  • Arrieta’s 2.85 ERA would be good enough to lead 26 other teams. He's 3rd on #Cubs behind Hendricks (1.99) and Lester (2.28)

    Rob G. 3 hours 26 min ago view
  • jacos 4 hours 24 min ago view