April 2011

Game 3 Recap - Garza Discovers What Being a Cub Is Like

Box Score | Video

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   R H E
Pirates 0 1 1 0 1 0 0 0 2   5 16 0
Cubs 0 0 0 2 1 1 0 0 0   4 9 1

The Good: Let's start with Matt Garza's first start as a Cub. It wasn't perfection, frankly it was odd. The Pirates knocked 12 hits off him, all 12 being of the single variety and a handful of the pure 'effin luck variety including a check swing hit and run and jammed dribbler through the right side. Garza matched those 12 hits with 12 strikeouts though on 0 walks and threw 80 of his 106 pitches for strikes. I'm feeling confident the earned runs will look a lot beter if he can maintain that strikeout to walk ratio the rest of the year. Honestly it was a pretty epic start, if not for the seeing eye singles and some bad defense, most notably Ramirez botching a double play with a bad throw.

Chiefs & D-Cubs Rally to Tie a Wrap on Minor League Camp

D. J. Fitzgerald singled, doubled, tripled, stole a base, scored one run, and knocked-in two more, and LHP Austin Kirk threw four shutout innings, as the Peoria Chiefs rallied to tie the Cedar Rapids Kernels (Los Angeles Angels Class “A” affiliate) 3-3 on Field #2, while next-door on Field #3 Michael Burgess clubbed a grand slam HR over the RF fence and Evan Crawford doubled, tripled, walked, stole a base, drove-in two runs, and scored another, as the Daytona Cubs rallied from an early 5-0 hole to tie the Inland Empire 66ers (Angels Advanced “A” affiliate) 7-7, in Cactus League Minor League Spring Training action at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ, this morning.


This was the “getaway day” game for both Daytona and Peoria, but since the Iowa Cubs will be remaining in Mesa for another day (they open the season Thursday at Round Rock, TX), I-Cubs catcher Welington Castillo stayed at Fitch Park and served as a DH for Daytona while his teammates traveled to Diablo Park in Tempe to face the Angels Salt Lake Bees AAA affiliate.


Game 2 Recap - Cubs Almost Lose to the Pirates Again

Box Score | Video

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9   R H E
Pirates 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0   3 5 1
Cubs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 x   5 9 0

I know, I know, it's just the second game of the season and it doesn't matter where you get your wins, but losing to the 'effin Pirates irks me like nothing else. I feel comfortable labeling today's game the first must win of the season. :)

The Good: Z pitched well enough, and if not for a cramp, had a chance to leave with 7 IP and 3 ER. I think we'd accept that everytime. The team managed some extra-base hits, the first of the season by Z himself with Baker, Soriano and DeWitt also hitting doubles. The bullpen retired the last 9 in a row after Wood walked his first hitter (Ronny Cedeno of all people) and as a group struck out 6 over those 3 inningss. And of course the 8th inning...

Fukudome worked a nice walk laying off a close 3-2 pitch off the inside corner. Castro launched one to the ivy in right for a double that scored Fukudome. Byrd was due up next and all I asked for was something to the right side and he obliged on a 1-2 fastball with a grounder to Overbay who muffed it about as bad as anyone could muff a routine grounder. Castro hustled home for the second run after the ball bounced into short right. After a Ramirez flyout, Soto delivered his second hit of the day, but Pena popped out weakly leaving it up to Soriano to try and tie the game or better. After looking slow on a few fastballs, Soriano caught up to one on the outside corner and it dropped in right center easily scoring the tying run and Evan Meek was done for the day. Chris Resop came in and walked Colvin and then Blake DeWitt went with the pitch over the third basemen's head for the game-winning hit. And there was joy in Cubville....

Game 1 Rec...Aw Crap, We Lost to The Pirates

Box Score | Video

The Good: Fukudome got on-base 3 times out of the leadoff spot, Castro went 3 for 5, Pena got on-base twice with an RBI and and multi-hit games by Ramirez and Barney as well. Ramirez also just missed a 3-run game tying homer in the 7th. Dempster looked like a good pitcher for the first 4 innings and did strike out 7 on the game. Castro made an awesome dive to turn a double play to save Samardzija's ass. Some aggressive baserunning by Castro and DeJesus helped score the first run. The team pounded out 10 singles.

The Bad: No extra-base hits and just two walks by the offense, Barney got thrown out by Ryan Doumit and there was the 5th inning. After a leadoff single by Ryan Doumit, Dempster faces Garrett Jones. A hit and run is called and Jones fouls it off. Next pitch, no hit and run and a chopper to third that Aramis had a play at second base on and never takes a look and tosses it to first. He probably doesn't have a double play there, but you should always go after the lead runner of course. Then a walk to Ronny Cedeno which is a feat in of itself and maybe Dempster isn't so keen to pitch out of the zone against Cedeno if first base is occupied. Bob Brenly attempts to justify this by saying that it now sets up a possible double play with the pitcher up. It also sets up an sacrifice attempt and two runners in scoring position with the top of the order coming up. Tabata walks and then Neil Walker comes up. The count goes 3-2 and Dempster throws a splitter that Walker fouls off. Even if he keeps that it play, it may go for a single, but at worst it's a tie game. For some inexplicable reason, Dempster goes fastball next time and judging by the replay didn't miss his spot by too much and leaves one right in the lefty happy zone. Blame Soto, blame Dempster, blame Mark Riggins, but sweet jeebus was that a terrible pitch.

After two more walks in the 6th by Dempster and what looked like he was losing a little velocity, Q-Ball decides to keep him out in the 7th claiming that he thought he was fine and Dempster earned the right to tell him if he was done. He also cited that he liked how he finished up the 6th with Cedeno. *Facepalm*

Jeff Samardzija pitched an inning with the game still within 3 runs.

Opening Day 2011 - Pirates @ Cubs

It's Christmas time for baseball fans and Santa's delivered the lowly Pirates to the Cubs. Of course, the Cubs went 5-10 against one of the worse teams I've ever seen play baseball last year, so the Cubs have that going for them. Don't forget to join the fun during our in-game chat. Folks come and go throughout the game so if you hang around for awhile, someone is usually sure to pop in.

LF Tabata RF *Fukudome
2B #Walker SS Castro
CF McCutchen CF Byrd
1B *Overbay 3B Ramirez
3B *Alvarez 1B *Pena
C #Doumit C Soto
RF *G. Jones LF Soriano
SS Cedeno 2B Barney
P Correia P Dempster

Undoubtedly Correia is going to throw a shutout today, but generally you have to laugh at a team employing a guy for Opening Day with a career 4.57 ERA and a 4.91 ERA over the last three years, the last two being in Petco Park.

My division predictions after the jump...

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  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 2 hours 1 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 2 hours 2 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 11 hours 44 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 14 hours 41 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 14 hours 54 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 15 hours 3 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 15 hours 8 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 15 hours 26 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 16 hours 3 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 16 hours 20 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 16 hours 22 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 16 hours 40 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 16 hours 47 min ago view
  • so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.

    im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.

    crunch 17 hours 43 min ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 18 hours 1 min ago view
  • 9 pitches in and this game already rules.

    HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).

    ...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.

    crunch 18 hours 5 min ago view