Navarro Blast Propels Cubs to Victory over Giants
Dioner Navarro hammered a three-run home run to cap a four-run 1st inning, and Jeff Samardzija and six relievers combined to throw a six hitter, as the Cubs edged the San Francisco Giants 4-3 in the Cubs 2013 Cactus League home opener before a sparse crowd (7,784) this afternoon at cool & blustery Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.
The Cubs scored all four of their runs in the bottom of the 1st off Giants starter Matt Cain.
Starlin Castro ripped a single with one out, and was safe at second when SF 1B Brad Belt made an errant throw to 2nd base on what should have been the start of a 3-6-3 DP, with Anthony Rizzo reaching 1st base safely on the play. Alfonso Soriano then smoked a line-drive infield single off Matt Cain's left knee to load the bases (Cain remained in the game, although he was clearly limping), and the first run of the day scored on a Nate Schierholtz RBI ground out. Dioner Navarro followed with his three-run HR over the RF fence and into the Giants bullpen to finish the Cubs scoring for the day.
Jeff Samardzija got the start for the Cubs and had his sinker working very well today (4/0 GO/FO). He was sailing right along with two outs and nobody on base in the top of the 2nd when he surrendered a Francisco Peguero double and a Guillermo Quiroz RBI single. For the day, The Shark allowed just the one run on three hits, with two strikeouts and no walks over the 2.0 IP (33 pitches - 21 strikes).
Carlos Marmol worked the top of the 3rd (22 pitches - 12 strikes) and gave up a run, walking the lead-off hitter and then allowing a one-out RBI rocket double into the RF corner by Pablo Sandoval, before striking out Roger Kieschnick (Brooks' cousin) swinging to end the frame.
Cory Wade was next, and went two innings (26 pitches - 16 strikes), allowing one unearned run on one hit, no walks or strikeouts, and 1/4 GO/FO. The unearned scored as the result of an error by Cubs 1st baseman Anthony Rizzo, who dropped a low (but catchable) throw from Starlin Castro that allowed Brandon Crawford to reach base safely to lead-off the inning, and Crawford would eventually score on a sacrifice fly.
Casey Coleman, Kyuji Fujikawa, James Russell, and Shawn Camp threw a combined four innings (one inning a piece) of one hit shutout ball with five punch-outs (and no walks) as the Cubs held on for the victory. Fujikawa was especially sharp, showing some life on his fastball and a great splitter.
Cubs pitchers walked only one Giants batter all day, while strikng out eight.
The Cubs offense did not score after putting up the four spot in the 1st, but DH Brian Bogusevic (opposite-field line-drive double down the LF line) and Johermyn Chavez (line-drive double off the LF fence--or Cole Gillespie's face) collected extra base hits. Chavez's double was absolutely crushed, and probably never got higher than eight feet off the ground before reaching the fence.
The weather was not ideal (cold northwest wind), but stiill the sparse crowd was a bit of surprise, given that it was both the Cubs Cactus League home opener and a Sunday.
I have a lot of faith in Baez that he's going to turn into a more consistent, solid player. It looks like it took him about a half season or so of futility at the plate to figure out he was not talented enough to get away with the crazy approach he had. I think his running game will eventually have a more measured aggression.
I hope the D and bullpen show up. Cubs haven't had much luck against Davies, and he's been going well lately. A little uncomfortable with the Cards only 6.5 back--feels like they're right on our tails compared to the 11 game lead I've grown accustomed to.
Cardinals, stop that. Right now.
In a year or two, a lot of fans are going to point at trading him as a mistake. He'll probably be slashing something like 280/400/480 for Seattle at the time. Of course, by WAR, he'll still be worth less than 3, since we're talking zero defensive value.
vogelbomb debut for tacoma (AAA SEA)... 3-3, 1bb, 1 HR, 1 double...DH'd.
while he mostly played 1st considerably more than DH for AAA CHC, DJ Peterson is probably going to see most of the time at 1st for AAA SEA.
Carl Jr.! Very nice!
Baez with another "WTF?" play trying a delayed steal with a runner on 3rd and one out.. Remarkable talent, needs to make better decisions.
m.montgomery up in the pen with a man on 2nd, 2 out, and rondon 20 pitches into the inning.
...and rondon ends it 22 pitches in with a popout to RF.
I gotta say with the crappy defense the Brewers have displayed outside of Fowler I'm pretty disappointed the offense hasn't shown more and Rizzo seems to be very swing happy lately. That said my god am I happy Madden has finally given Carl Edwards a chance after multiple times up with nothing. I don't think he could handle a starting role with his body frame but his stuff plays so well in a relief role and he seems to be able to handle high stress situations very well.
2nd at bat. Fowler is good for the Cubs run differential.
welcome back fowler.
More slow news...
Did Davey Martinez have to bring the shotgun?
glad to see almora going to AAA to get work.
.265/.291/.422 through 86PA...2hr, 7 doubles.
i don't expect too much of an improvement when he's taking over CF next year, but the team doesn't really need him right now as much as they need him to get regular work (imo).
CHITOWNMVP01: The Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) has had one slot open since 7/6 (when RHRP Joel Peralta was Designated for Assignment).
The problem with the September roster is all of the pitching changes. They should find a way to limit pitchers to twelve except for extra inning games. More pinch hitters or pinch runners do little to slow the game down and are more fun than endless calls to the bullpen. I also think the fans get cheated when they use position players to pitch because employed a half dozen pitchers with righty-lefty switches. Having as few as four positions players on the bench to start a game also leads to some pretty ugly defensive substitutions.
CHITOWNMVP01: Joe Nathan's 30-day Article XIX-C minor league rehab assignment expires tomorrow, but he doesn't have to be reinstated from the 60-day DL tomorrow.
Also, I think 40 man roster should be full, not at 39, unless I counted wrong. I'm in a hurry to leave the house.