March 2011

Richard Jones blasted a solo HR onto 8th Street and drove in another run with a single and LHP Eric Jokisch (2010 11th round pick out of Nortwestern) threw three shutout innings with five strikeouts, leading the Peoria Chiefs to a 6-3 victory over the Asheville Tourists (Colorado Rockies Class “A” affiliate) on Field #2, while next-door on Field #3 the Daytona Cubs were cracking the Modesto Nuts (Rockies Advanced “A” affiliate) by a score of 11-4, as Matt Cerda went 3-3 with two runs scored and an RBI, Junior Lake had three hits (a double and two singles), scored one run, and drove in another, and Evan Crawford doubled, singled, stole a base (home), scored twice, and knocked in two runs, in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training action at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.


Cubs #5 starter Andrew Cashner made his final Arizona start this morning on Field #1, throwing three innings (and getting hammered) in an intrasquad game between the Iowa Cubs and the Tennessee Smokies.


Although they are assigned to the Iowa squad, RHP Blake Parker and Hung-Wen Chen pitched in the Daytona game this afternoon rather than the intrasquad game this morning, because they were bumped by Cashner.


In Minor League Camp roster news, a number of players were released or demoted today:


Evan Crawford raked a two-run triple over the left-fielder's head to tie the game, Tony Campana followed with an RBI single (his third hit of the game) to plate Crawford, and D. J. Lemahieu capped the inning with an RBI double to score Campana, as the Cubs Minor League All-Stars rallied for four runs in the top of the 9th to defeat the Chicago Cubs 8-6 in the 2011 Cubs Spring Training Intrasquad Charity Game at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny Mesa, AZ, this morning.

A. J. Pollack reached base five times on four singles and a walk, Kelly Johnson had four hits including a double and a three-run HR, ex-Cub Xavier Nady had four hits (including a grand slam HR) and scored three runs, and David Winfree had three hits including a solo HR and a three-run HR, leading the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 15-8 drubbing of the Cubs in what was the final Cactus League game for the Cubs (although they will be playing what's billed as an "intrasquad charity game" tomorrow morning at Dwight Patterson Field before flying to Chicago later in the day).  


Carlos Marmol allowed three first-inning runs, facing five batters and retiring only one (BB, 2B, HBP, F-7, 2B), and a four-run 8th inning Iowa Cubs rally fell one run short (the potential tying run was left stranded on 3rd base), as the Fresno Grizzlies (San Francisco Giants AAA affiliate) almost blew a 6-1 lead but held-on to edge the I-Cubs 7-6 on Field #3, while over on Field #2, Steve Clevenger “celebrated” his assignment to AA (for the third year in a row!) with an RBI single and a double, but two baserunners were thrown at key points in the game (Josh Vitters trying to advance from 1st to 3rd on a hit & run single to CF in the 4th, and D. J. Lemahieu trying to score from 1st on double in the 8th), as the Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants AA affiliate) edged the Tennessee Smokies 4-3 in Cactus League Minor League action at Fitch Park this afternoon


carlos y carlosLast year I traveled to Chicago over the Memorial Day weekend to see the Cubs and Cardinals do battle. My companion was a neighbor friend who also happens to be a Redbird fan.

I discovered too far out of town to turn back that I’d forgotten the tickets for the Friday afternoon game. Luckily we overcame that absentmindedness at the Wrigley Field ticket window when I was able to verify that I had indeed purchased the seats in question and duplicate tickets were issued. But that snafu on top of the clogged vehicular traffic in downtown Chicago and the really clogged human traffic on the CTA Red Line left us barely enough time to scramble into position down in the right field corner ahead of the first pitch.

Don't know about you, but with all this prolonged and intense ST Cubs scrutiny, my brain hurts a little.
The Carlos Silva thing - whether you think he was fairly treated or not - I'm just glad it's over.
Yeah, drama always makes things fun, but there's enough to worry about besides that guy.
So much so, I decided to shut my mind down for a bit by playing a little Doodle Jump over the weekend.
Which is when it occurred to me that it would make an awesome Cubs game.

Tyler Colvin crushed a towering grand slam HR over the RF fence to cap a Cub four-run 8th inning rally and narrow a six-run deficit to two runs, but the Colorado Rockies hung-on to defeat the Cubs 6-4 in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny & warm Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.


Brandon Watson (signed yesterday after getting released by the White Sox earlier in the week) doubled, tripled, and collected two RBI, Fernando Perez (just demoted from big league camp) singled, doubled, scored a run, and knocked-in two others, and Blake Lalli tripled and singled, scored a run, and drove-in another, helping the Iowa Cubs mount a fierce five-run 8th inning rally to close a 6-0 deficit to just one run, but Watson was left stranded at 3rd when Scott Moore and Matt Spencer struck out (Moore looking and Spencer swinging) and Ty Wright popped out to RF, and the Salt Lake Bees (Angels AAA affiliate) hung-on to edge the I-Cubs 6-5 on Field #3, while over on Field #2, Cubs LHRP Sean Marshall (sent to Minor League Camp to get work) threw a 13-pitch 1-2-3 1st inning (F-9, 5-3, F-9), Ryan Flaherty and Rebel Ridling hammered solo home runs (Flaherty’s a towering 450-foot job over the “Green Monster” Batter’s Eye in dead CF), and Nate Samson reached base three times (a triple, a single, and a walk) and drove-in two runs, leading the Tennessee Smokies to a 4-1 nine-inning victory over the Arkansas Travelers (Angels AA affiliate) on Field #2 (although the game was extended an extra half-inning to allow LHP Chris Siegfried to pitch his pre-scheduled inning--bumped to extra innings when Sean Marshall arrived, and the Travelers scored four runs in the top of the 10th), in Cactus League Minor League action at Fitch Park this afternoon


Starlin Castro drilled a three-run double to cap a four-run 7th inning rally, as the Cubs defeated the Seattle Mariners 6-3 in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny & warm Mesa, AZ, this afternoon  


Darwin Barney singled and scored in the 2nd inning and sliced a two-out two-run triple into the RF corner to cap a four-run 5th, while Alfonso Soriano slugged a solo HR in the 4th and singled and scored in the 5th, leading the Cubs to an 8-7 victory over the crosstown-rival White Sox before a capacity crowd at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny and warm Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.


Matt Spencer raked a two-run triple off the CF Batter’s Eye “Green Monster” to key a three-run 1st inning, and Robert Coello struck out six in three innings of work, leading the Iowa Cubs to a 3-2 victory over the Tennessee Smokies in a six-inning intra-organization game at Fitch Park Field #3 this morning.  

Battling for the 5th starter's job and perhaps his big league career, Carlos Silva threw six innings of three-hit ball, retiring 17 of the last 18 men he faced, and Reed Johnson--also battling for a spot on the 25-man roster--singled twice and scored two runs, leading the Cubs to a 3-1 victory over the Oakland A's in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny & warm Mesa, AZ, this afternoon    


Carlos Marmol threw a nine-pitch 1-2-3 1st inning (K, F-9, P-5), Jose Valdez singled, tripled, stole two bases, scored two runs, and drove-in another, and D. J. Fitzgerald clubbed a two-run HR onto 8th Steeet, leading the Daytona Cubs to a 4-1 victory over the Inland Empire 66ers (Angels Advanced Class “A” affiliate) on Field #3, while Justin Berg allowed three runs on two hits and two walks in his one inning of work, as the Cedar Rapids Kernels (Angels Class “A” affiliate) drubbed the Peoria Chiefs 9-1 on Field #2, in Cactus League Minor League action at Fitch Park this afternoon. 


Marmol and Berg had their scheduled outings rained-out yesterday, which is why both threw in games at Minor League Camp today.


Carlos Pena crushed a three-run HR, Starlin Castro tripled, singled, scored a run, and knocked-in another, and Geovany Soto drove-in two runs with a wind-blown double, as the Cubs took a 7-4 lead after the top of the 4th inning in Cactus League action at damp and windy Tempe Diablo Stadium, in a game that was called due to rain after 3-1/2 innings before it was an official game.  


It's a 14-team league this year, 25 roster spots, start the standard 8 positions(LF, CF, RF specific) and a utility spot and 9 pitchers (4 SP, 3 RP, 2 P). It's a points-based system, with the only real difference from a roto league being that SB's aren't that big of a component. Essentially if you're high on the OPS or wOBA scale, you're a good offensive player  or VORP for a pitcher with closers and relievers really helping your points per innings (1500 IP limit). You must keep 6 keepers on your roster and they are assigned a draft round depending on their performance from last year.

Welington Castillo continued his torrid Cactus League hitting, lining a walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th inning to score Bobby Scales from 2nd base with the winning run, as the Cubs edged the San Francisco Giants 3-2 in front of an all-time record crowd of 13,465 under overcast skies at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.  


Darwin Barney reached base five times on three singles and two walks, Starlin Castro slugged a three-run home run, and Carlos Pena ripped a double and two singles, but it wasn't quite enough, as the Cincinnati Reds outslugged the Cubs 14-13 in Cactus League action before a capacity crowd of 13,186 at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in warm and sunny Mesa, Az, this afternoon.   


Esmil Rogers threw five innings of one-hit shutout ball, and the Colorado Rockies defeated a split squad of Cubs 4-2 in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson at HoHoKam Park in sunny & warm Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.


The Cubs dropped their spring training roster down to 40 today by optioning and assigning 18 players to the minors.

To the list...

RHP: Robert Coello, Thomas Diamond, Alberto Cabrera, Rafael Dolis, Kyle Smit, Chris Carpenter, Trey McNutt, Jay Jackson

LHP: Scott Rice

C: Steve Clevenger, Chris Robinson

INF: Bryan LaHair, Marquez Smith, Josh Vitters

OF: Jim Adduci, Brett Jackson, Lou Montanez, Brad Snyder

They join Esmailin Caridad and John Gaub who were optioned last week. Marquez Smith is the only one that I'm surprised by, but it was a longshot for him to make the team anyway.

That leaves 20 pitchers, four catchers, 10 infielders and six outfielders. The NRI's that are still in camp include:

Todd Wellemeyer, Braden Looper, Angel Guzman, Matt Camp, Scott Moore, Augie Ojeda, Bobby Scales and Reed Johnson

And the rest of the current spring training roster:

C: Soto, Hill, Castillo, M. Ramirez

INF: Pena, Baker, Dewitt, Castro, Barney, A. Ramirez

OF: Soriano, Colvin, Fukudome, Byrd, Perez

SP: Zambrano, Dempster, Garza, Wells, Silva, Cashner, Coleman, J. Russell

RP: Marmol, Wood, Marshall, Grabow, Samardzija, Maine, Stevens, J. Berg, Mateo

Bobby Scales had two singles, a double, two RBI, and two runs scored, helping the Cubs rally from a 4-1 deficit to take a 6-4 5th inning lead, but the Reds scored two runs in the 6th to tie the game and an unearned run in the 7th to take the lead, and then held-on to edge the Cubs 7-6 in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny and warm Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.


Both the Reds and the Cubs were playing with split squads, with each team's other half playing each other in Las Vegas.


Ryan Dempster threw five shutout innings and Carlos Pena drove-in two runs with a solo HR and a single, leading the Cubs to a 4-3 victory over the White Sox in Cactus League action at Camelback Ranch this afternoon.


Brett Jackson rifled an RBI single into the LF corner with two outs in the bottom of the 9th to score Jim Adduci from 2nd base with the winning run, as the Cubs scored one in the 8th and one in the 9th to edge the Cleveland Indians 2-1 in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny & warm Mesa this afternoon.


Melky Cabrera drove-in three runs with a bases loaded triple to key a five-run 1st inning and the Royals never looked back, as the Cubs were thumped 13-4 by Kansas City in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny & warm Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.  


Five Colorado pitchers combined to throw a five-hit shutout, and Jordan Pacheco crushed a pinch-hit three-run home run, leading a Rockies split squad to a 4-0 whitewashing of the Cubs in afternoon Cactus League action at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Resort on Salt River Maricopa-Pima Indian Community land located east of Scottsdale today.


Bryan Lahair drilled a walk-off single off the right-centerfield fence to drive-in Fernando Perez from third-base with the winning run, as the Cubs rallied from a ten-run deficit to edge the Los Angeles Angels 14-13 in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in warm and sunny (and VERY breezy) Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.


Up from Minor League Camp (Fitch Park) to provide some back-up insurance on the bench, D. J. Lemahieu slugged a pinch-hit two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th to give a Cubs split squad a 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in warm & sunny Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.


Marlon Byrd doubled twice, walked once, and scored three runs, and Bobby Scales walked with the bases loaded to drive-in one run and cracked a two-run HR to knock-in two more, leading the Cubs to a 9-4 victory over the San Diego Padres in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in warm and sunny Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.


Carlos Zambrano threw three shutout innings, Blake DeWitt doubled, singled, drove-in a run, and scored another, and Augie Ojeda smacked a bases-loaded two-run double, but a split squad of Texas Rangers rallied from a 5-1 deficit to edge the Cubs 8-7 in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa this afternoon.


You've probably read or heard about yesterday's dugout fracas between Carlos Slim and Aramis Ramirez after the first inning. The Cubs continued their defensive indifference that has plagued their early Cactus League games with 3 errors in the first inning - 5 total on the game (Yahtzee!) -  and that led to a 6-run first inning. You try not to infer too much meaning in spring training results, but despite what Carlos said at the Cubs Convention about not having to compete for a spot in the rotation, the reality is that it's between him, Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner for two of the spots. And while his hefty contract may earn him the benefit of the doubt over Wells or Cashner, both of whom still have minor league options, you hope he will have to demonstrate some modicum of success in March. Thus he was somewhat justified in his anger if he felt his teammates let him down in the first. But like his namesake has hopefully learned by now, you can't act on it in the dugout in front of witnesses.

For the fifth year running I go through the various prospect lists. I'm trying to stick the more established ones and there are even more lists available at Wiklifield. Of course, many of them were made before the Matt Garza trade. Click on the image for the link to the original article.

Wrigley vacanciesOn day five of single game ticket sales yesterday it was still possible to buy four seats together for Opening Day.


I suspect the Ricketts gang has taken notice of the fact that spit and polished pee troughs are trumped by a 5th place team and 9% unemployment when folks sit down in February to calculate whether or not they can afford $72 bleacher tickets come summertime.


There are other causes for concern as the bean counters contemplate the 2011 schedule and project the team's prospects at the turnstiles.


The two months with the highest number of home games are April and May with 15 and 17, respectively. Not only is the weather at its poorest then, but the early returns on advance ticket sales indicate that fans are taking a wait and see approach on this year’s edition rather than banking that Mike Quade’s 24-13 audition last year was an accurate forecast of the 2011 winning percentage.


The Yankee series is the only one at home over a weekend in June.


Attendance at the first two exhibition games was spotty. Unseasonable weather may be an early factor there, but even subpar Arizona weather is likely to far surpass whatever awaits in Chicago in April and May before Wrigley has a chance to put her face on.


Has the Cub/Wrigley Field brand peaked? It appears right now that the baseball business headquartered at Clark & Addison is in danger of having its streak of three million-plus attendance seasons snapped at seven.


If that happens will the storm sewers outside the Addison Red Line station be able to handle the flood of scalpers’ tears?

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