April 2012

When the Chicago Cubs were up 9 (nine!) to nothin' over the St. Louis Cardinals, the best word I could come up with was "exotic".

Because that's how it felt.
Two days in a row of massive Cub bat-damage?
That's like being on some island in National Geographic where the lizards all have fur and bring you rum drinks.

Javier Baez belted a three-run home run and Yasiel Balaguert stroked an RBI triple and scored on a Jair Bogaerts RBI single, as the Cubs plated five runs in the bottom of the 4th en route to a 5-1 victory over the Angels in Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa, AZ.

Dan Vogelbach, Danny Lockhart, and Xavier Batista drove-in the runs, as the Cubs rallied for two in the 8th and two more in the 9th to defeat the Angels 5-3 in Extended Spring Training action this morning at Diablo Park Field #3 in Tempe, AZ.  


Javier Baez slugged a three-run home run, tripled twice, drove-in four runs, and scored three more, Dan Vogelbach crushed a towering two-run home run over the RF screen and onto Camelback Road, and Garrett Schlecht blooped what proved to be a game-winning RBI single to short LF with two outs in the top of the 7th, as the Cubs swept the Giants by scores of 4-3 and 9-3 in an Extended Spring Training split squad doubleheader this morning at Indian School Park in Scottsdale, AZ.


Both games were seven-inning affairs.


Chris McFarland led-off the bottom of the 8th with a moon-shot solo home run over the LF fence and onto the roof of a portable classroom at Frank Borman Elementary School, breaking a 1-1 tie and giving his team the lead, as the Brewers scored one in the 7th and one in the 8th to edge the Cubs 2-1 in Opening Day Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #7 (Paul Molitor Field) at Maryvale Baseball Park in Phoenix, AZ.


I didn't get to do a major league recap and I'm off on vacation this week. Apologies in advance if things get untidy around here. As for the major league game, it was déjà vu all over again. Marmol and Wood blowing a second consecutive game, the bullpen blowing a win for Garza or the Cubs just blowing a game, pick whatever storyline suits your needs...it's like choose-your-own adventure Cubs storytime.

Word is that the wind is blowing out briskly to left, so Sveum has loaded up on the righties to battle southpaw Gio Gonzalez in his NL debut.

Round Rock hasn't had any trouble getting into the jet stream above Principal Park. The Express have belted four homers in two games including a back-to-back pair Friday night off of Casey Coleman that were the difference in the 4-3 contest. But the home team remains homerless, having split the first half of a four-game set to open the season.

I'd probably go Eric Jokisch and Arismendy Alcantara as your pitching and hitting stars of the day, both for Hi-A Daytona.

Tuesday night I endured a local school board meeting. It comes with the territory of my day job. I sat glassy-eyed in the gallery, my mind drifting ahead 48 hours at which point I would be sitting in the stands on Opening Night at Principal Park, cracking open peanut shells instead of stifling yawns.

I can't really afford the time to pour into these game recaps as I'd really like, so I'll just comment briefly on the bigger WTF moments.

Today, the honor goes to Kerry Wood and Dale Sveum in the 8th. Granted, I got called to a meeting just as Wood was imploding, but let's take at the play-by-play.

- K. Wood relieved R. Dempster
- I. Desmond stole second
- R. Zimmerman walked
- I. Desmond to third, R. Zimmerman to second on wild pitch
- A. LaRoche walked
- J. Werth walked, I. Desmond scored, R. Zimmerman to third, A. LaRoche to second


So after not paying attention to the tying run, then a walk, a wild pitch and another walk of a guy that had already struck out 3 times versus a righty, who in the ballpark was thinking Wood was suddenly going to find his groove to shut this thing down?

Raise your hand, Dale Sveum!

Here it is, Opening Day 2012, where optimism reigns...until you see Jeff Baker starting at 1B.

Nationals Cubs
Desmond, SS *DeJesus, RF
#Espinosa, 2B Barney, 2B
Zimmerman, 3B Castro, SS
*LaRoche, 1B Soriano, LF
Werth, RF *Stewart, 3B
DeRosa, LF Baker, 1B
*Bernadina, CF Byrd, CF
Ramos, C Soto, C
Strasburg, P Dempster, P

Bryan LaHair is out today, but claims he should be available off the bench Saturday and ready to start by Sunday, so doesn't look like the disabled list and doesn't look like Tony Campana will be up with the team.

How many strikeouts for Soriano today?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

I'm going to attempt to be in Parachat later, but make no promises. I'll keep the prediction contest open up until first pitch.

My division and playoff picks for the year.

Paul Maholm threw 5-2/3 innings (77 pitches), allowing three runs (all earned), seven hits (including two doubles, a triple, and a Javier Baez tape-measure home run), two walks, and a HBP, with five strikeouts and 5/5 GO/FO, in intrasquad action this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa.


I thought I knew a little about baseball til I started reading your posts here at TCR, Arizona Phil.
The depth of your knowledge and your frank, watchful eye have kept us all deeply in the loop of our favorite team.
Thanks.

And now...2012!
Whatever the hell it turns out to be. 

Chris Volstad threw four innings (67 pitches), allowing two runs (only one earned) on six hits (all singles), with no walks and eight strikeouts, and Jeffrey Baez singled twice, tripled, drove-in a run, and stole a base, in Extended Spring Training intrasquad action this morning at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.

Jeff Samardzija threw 4-2/3 innings of no hit ball, Luis Flores clubbed a solo home run, Shawon Dunston, Jr hammered a two-run homer, and Carlos Penalver had three hits, scored a run, and drove-in another, in Extended Spring Training intrasquad action this morning at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.


Here we go again, a full rundown of all the Cubs' prospect lists fit to print. Click on the "Prospect Listmania" tag at the bottom of the post for previous years or you can always visit Wiklifield.

Matt Garza threw four innings of shutout ball, allowing two hits and no walks with six strikeouts, Adrian Cardenas slugged a 420+ foot three-run HR over the CF fence, Welington Castillo drove-in three runs with a two-run double and a sacrifice fly, and Blake Lalli had four hits, leading the Iowa Cubs to an 8-1 victory over the Salt Lake Bees (Los Angeles Angels AAA affiliate) on Field #3, and Casey Coleman threw four innings of one-run ball, but knuckleballer Joe Zeller was tagged for four runs, as the Arkansas Travelers (Angels AA affiliate) defeated the Tennessee Smokies 5-1 on Field #2, in Cactus League minor league game action this morning at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ  


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