April 2011

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.

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.


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....

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.

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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