Maholm Shoots Blanks at Friars
Paul Maholm and three relievers combined to toss a six-hit shutout, as a split squad oif Cubs blanked the San Diego Padres 2-0 this afternoon in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny Mesa, AZ
Maholm threw five innings of shutout ball (70 pitches - 40 strikes, 6/2 GO/FO), allowing no runs on four hits and two walks, with six strikeouts.
Carlos Marmol followed Maholm to the mound, and labored through his one inning of work, throwing 22 pitches while allowing a walk and a single, but no runs. Something still does not look right with Marmol.
Casey Coleman continued to pitch well in Cactus League games, tossing two shutout innings of one hit ball. It looks like Coleman could make the Cubs Opening Day MLB 25-man roster as a RH middle-reliever or as the "12th man" (long reliever/spot starter).
RHP Rafael Dolis notched the save with a scoreles 9th, although two runners did reach base with two outs, one on a strike three wild pitch, and another on a walk, before Dolis induced a game-ending 4-3 ground out. Although there has been talk about Dolis beginning the season in the big leagues as one of the Cubs set-up men, it might be best to let him close at AAA Iowa for a while and work on improving his command.
There wasn't much offense on display at HoHoKam Park today, but the Cubs did push across a run in the 1st and then another run in the 2nd against Padres starter Tim Stauffer.
Starlin Castro singled with two outs in the 1st, and after stealing 2nd, scored on a Bryan LaHair two-out RBI double off the fence in right-centerfield, and Reed Johnson knocked-in the second Cub run on a two-out RBI ground single ripped through through the box into CF, scoring Jeff Baker, who led-off the inning with a screaming double into left-center.
What really stood out today, however, was the Cub outfield defense.
Tony Campana hustled to field a bloop hit down the LF line in the top of the 5th, and after a 360-spin, uncorked a perfect throw to 2nd base to nail Will Venable trying stretch the hit into a double, Reed Johnson followed Campana's play with a fine running catch on a line drive to end the 5th, and Daytina CF Matt Szczur (up from Minor League Camp for the day) made tte defensive play of the afternoon, a diving catch of a line-drive in right-center for the first-out in the top of the 9th.
While one squad of Cubs was blanking the Padres in Mesa, the other squad traveled up to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick to play the Arizona Diamondbacks, losing 3-2.
I wasn't at that game, but D'backs starter Ian Kennedy threw seven innings of one-run ball, the only Cub run scoring on back-to-back doubles by Blake DeWitt and Ian Stewart in the top of the 7th.
Iowa Cubs RHP Jay Jackson got the start at Salt River Fields, and allowed all three of the Arizona runs on seven hits (including three doubles and a Paul Goldschmidt HR) and one walk over his four innings of work.
This was the last Cubs split squad day of the 2012 Cactus League season, so it would seem likely that the final roster cuts will be forthcoming soon.