April 2012

The Cubs have won 5 of 8 and are now proudly just the 5th worst team in baseball. A win today and the Cubs win their second straight series.

On a rehab assignment from AA Tennessee, Junior Lake (back strain) doubled, walked, stole a base, and scored a run, Pierre LePage (also on a rehab assignment after suffering a hamstring injury in Spring Training) laced an RBI triple, an RBI single, and walked, and Kevin Encarnacion ripped a two-run triple and scored a run, but the Angels scored three in the 5th and two more in the 8th to edge the Cubs 5-4 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Diablo Park Field #3 in Tempe, AZ.


What a dominant performance by Matt Garza.
The Philadelphia Phillies get one eensy weensy perfectly placed bloop single from Jimmy Rollins to lead off the game.
Then it's just Garza magic for 7 innings - one walk, no runs, Cubs 3 Phils zeeero.
Rafael Dolis gets 3 straight in the 8th.
And then it's Carlos Marmol.

1/3 of the way through Extended Spring Training, here are the Cubs Cactus League game statistics.


Oh Randy Wells.
You can't do this any more, brother...

Shawon Dunston Jr ripped a solo home run and Pierre LePage reached base three times, but the Cubs left six runners stranded over the final three innings, allowing the Rockies to escape with a 4-2 victory in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa, AZ.

Per Paul Sullivan and Enrique Rojas of ESPN Desportes, who tipped it late last night on Twitter, the Cubs are expected to disable Steve Clevenger--yes, 11-for-22 and 1249 OPS-hitting Steve Clevenger--because of "tightness in his side." Sullivan says Clevenger felt the discomfort during batting practice before Friday night's unmerciful thrashing of Roy Halladay.

Welington Castillo, hitting .320 with 2 HR and 8 RBI at Iowa, will get the call-up.

As our resident medical man, Cubster, said in the comments to the previous post, "Not officially an oblique strain but as close as it gets."

Xavier Batista blasted a three-run home run and an RBI double and Trey Martin singled twice, doubled, stole a base, scored two runs, and drove-in another, leading one squad of Cubs to a 10-3 victory over one squad of Giants on Field #1, and Rock Shoulders drilled a two-run single in the top of the 1st and six Cub pitchers combined to throw a three-hit shutout as the other squad of Cubs blanked the other squad of Giants 3-0 on Field #2, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training split squad doubleheader played this morning at Indian School Park in Scottsdale, AZ.

So is Halladay vs. Maholm a mismatch or the biggest mismatch ever?

Aided by 12 walks, a HBP, a balk, four wild pitches, two passed balls, and two errors, the Angels defeated the Cubs 8-2 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa, AZ.

The Cubs managed only four hits, but one of them was a Dan Vogelbach solo home run that gave the Cubs an early 1-0 lead.

Taking advantage of four errors to score four unearned runs, the Diamondbacks defeated the Cubs 8-5 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Whirlwind Field at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, east of Scottsdale, AZ.


Slowly, the infiltration has begun.

Marlon Byrd’s banishment from the nest cleared the way for Tony Campana’s
temporary custody of the roster spot reserved for Brett Jackson. If Soriano’s
reinvention as a singles hitter who doesn’t even manage many of those goes on,
how long might it be until LaHair takes his team-leading [no, it’s not saying
much] slugging totals to the outfield and defers to Raker Rizzo, the scourge of
PCL pitchers, at first base? We shall see.

In the meantime, today at Principal Park the Cubs-in waiting
wrapped up a four-game set with their Cardinal counterparts from Memphis, dropping a 4-0 yawner in front of a sun splashed crowd that couldn't have cared less. On
the mound for the Redbirds was their prized pitching prospect, Shelby Miller.
Miller’s stumbled a bit out of the PCL gate so far but remains highly touted [#8 prospect in baseball per BA last time I looked] and eagerly awaited in St. Lou as shadows lengthen on the careers of Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright.

9th inning dramatics at Wrigley and the Cubs have won 2 of 3. You probably don't want to go any farther back than that though.

The Cubs get their chance to make up some ground....I can't even finish that sentence with a straight face. How about? Cubs get the World Champs again and a chance to lose another series. Better.

Iowa already played today and loss to the Cardinals AAA affiliate, Memphis 6-2 at home. Jay Jackson with yet another poor outing, 5 IP, 4 ER, 0 K, 1 BB, 8 H. B. Jackson goes 2/4 with a SB, Rizzo 2/3 with a 2B and a BB and W. Castillo 1/4 with an RBI. The other minor league matchups include:

Dallas Beeler vs. Chattanooga (Dodgers): Soto 6, Watkins 4, Ha 8, Ridling, Mota 7, Burgess 9, Samson 5, Brenly 2, Beeler 1

Zach Cates vs. Lakeland (Detroit - Jacob Turner happens to be starting):  Szczur 8, Torreyes 4, Perez 9, Rohan 5, Jones 3, Andreoli 7, Silva 0, Noble 2, Alcantara 6

Jose Rosario vs. Lansing (Toronto):Devoss 4, Zapata 9, Cuneo 3, Hoilman 0, Davis 2, Easterling 8, Darvill 5, Hernandez 6, Gonzalez 7

Xavier Batista ripped a single, an RBI triple, and a solo home run to stake the Cubs to a 2-1 lead through five innings, but the Rockies scored two in the 6th and two more in the 7th and then held-on to edge the Cubs 5-4 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa, AZ.


Cubs break their 6-game losing streak on the strength of Maholm's pitching and a 2-out, 4-run rally in the 2nd. In the minors, Iowa loses 12-7. Sappelt goes yard, Rizzo goes 2/5 with 3 RBI's, Jackson 2/5 with a double and a K. Coleman pitched well enough, 6 IP, 2 ER and 7 K but 4 BB's. The bullpen blew up though, Corpas and Beliveau giving up 9 runs in 2 innings. It got so bad that Blake Lalli and Alfredo Amezaga had to finish the game. Tennessee won 4-2, N. Struck with the win (5 IP, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K). Antigua with 3 scoreless innings out of the pen and Hatley with a scoreless inning for the save. Ha (3/4), Ridling (2/3), Wright (2/3) provided most of the offense. Daytona won 13-2, Jokisch gets the win (5.2 IP/2 ER/3 BB/2 K). 5 doubles, 1 triple and a home run (Nelson Perez) were part of the offensive explosion. Peoria lost 2-1, but can't blame starting pitcher Michael Jensen who went 7 IP, 2 unearned runs, 1 BB, and 6 K.

Carlos Penalver had three hits, drove-in a run, and stole a base, and Rock Shoulders and Yasiel Balaguert hammered RBI doubles, leading the Cubs to a 6-2 victory over the Athletics in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Papago Park Baseball Complex Field #1 ("Connie Mack Field") in Phoenix, AZ.

UPDATE #2: @Sean_McAdam: Red Sox will be responsible for only the pro-rated minimum - about $400K -- of Marlon Byrd's $6.5 million salary. Cubs eat the rest.

UPDATE: @Sean_McAdam
Baseball source: Byrd to Red Sox for Michael Bowden and PTBNL done. Cubs will pick up "most'' of Byrd's $6.5 million.


Nick Cafardo was the first to report that the Cubs and Red Sox are working on a deal to send Marlon Byrd to the Red Sox. It would also make sense of the earlier roster move today where the Cubs called up Tony Campana to put Ryan Dempster on the disabled list since they still need to lose a body to make room for Randy Wells tomorrow.

Bruce Levine is saying the Cubs will get a left-handed reliever and a minor leaguer in the deal and it should be completed today. I'm presuming Cubs will pay a healthy portion of Byrd's roughly $6.5M salary as well, but no word on that yet. Franklin Morales and Justin Thomas are the 2 lefties on their current active roster. There's also Michael Bowden, a righty, that was DFA'd last week by them.

Lineups for today's loss after the jump...

Neftali Rosario had three hits including a solo home run and a game-tying RBI single in the bottom of the 7th, as one squad of Cubs and one squad of Diamondbacks played to a 3-3 tie on Field #2, and Wilson Contreras singled, doubled, and tripled, scored a run, and drove-in another, but the other squad of D’backs clubbed Frank del Valle for six runs on nine hits en route to a 6-4 victory on Field #3, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training split squad doubleheader this morning at Fitch Park in Mesa, AZ.

Both games were seven-inning affairs.

Scott Maine called up to replace Kerry Wood, who was placed on the disabled list with right shoulder fatigue backdated to last Saturday. Also, Ryan Dempster is in jeopardy of missing his start on Sunday and is headed for an MRI on his quad. It's posible Randy Wells would be called up to take the start.

Big nights with the bat for Anthony Rizzo and Nate Samson, but not a win in the organization.

Gerardo Concepcion threw five innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits (all singles) and a walk with four strikeouts and two wild pitches, but the Giants rallied for three runs off two relievers and edged the Cubs 5-4 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Indian School Park Field #1 in Scottsdale, AZ.

Sorry, no time for a recap last night as I got caught up in that Cliff Lee vs. Matt Cain epic showdown. Anyway, Cubs lost in every way possible although they manage zero caught stealings or errors. Iowa lost 6-4, Valbeuna hit a home run and a double. Jackson and W. Castillo hit doubles as well. Jay Jackson gave up 5 in 5.2 IP. Tennessee split a doubleheader, each of the 7-inning variety. Dallas Beeler gave up an unearned run in the first game and K. Rhoderick gave up the winning run for the loss. R. Searle, C. Weathers and F. Batista combined for the shutout in the nightcap with Ty Wright providing all the offense with a solo shot. Peoria lost 5-2, Jose Rosario giving up 3 ER in 4.2 IP.

Starling Peralta threw three perfect innings and Wilson Contreras, Kevin Encarnacion, and Garrett Schlecht smacked run-scoring hits in a five-run 7th, as one squad of Cubs rallied from a 5-0 deficit to tie the Giants 5-5 on Field #1, while meanwhile three pitchers were combining to throw a two-hitter on Field #2 as the other squad of Cubs edged the Giants 2-1, in a Cactus League Extended Spring Training split squad doubleheader this morning at Indian School Park in Scottsdale, AZ.


Both games were seven-inning affairs.


Garza goes tonight to try and stop the bleeding. And Tennessee plays a doubleheader in the minors.

The Cubs fall to 3-8 and only Peoria manages a win in the organization.

Dong-Yub Kim blasted a grand slam to cap at five-run 8th, as the Cubs outlasted the Angels 11-8 in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Fitch Park Field #3 in Mesa, AZ  

After a day off, the Cubs head to Miami for their first series in their new ballpark and the return of Ozzie Guillen after a 5-game suspension, which should bring a healthy dose of national attention to the game.

After 10 games, the 2012 Cubs are what we thought they were, a poor offensive team with moments of intriguing starting pitching. Here are some rather meaningless numbers I stumbled across...

I'd give the stars of the night to two Peoria Chiefs, Ryan Cuneo and Michael Jensen.

Javier Baez hit for the cycle and drove-in all five Cub runs with a two-run triple and a three-run home run, but the Angels rallied for five runs in the middle-three innings to edge the Cubs 6-5, in Cactus League Extended Spring Training action this morning at Diablo Park Field #3 in Tempe, AZ.


In addition to his big day at the plate, Baez also stole a base (3rd base following his double) and made the defensive Play of the Day, going deep into the hole to backhand a grounder headed for LF, and then nailing the out with a leap and an on-the-money throw to 1st.

Of course that's an imagined conversation between Theo Epstein and Boston GM Ben Cherington, but...

I get that Dale Sveum was trying to be all high-roady (and I even admire that) having his Cubs watch the World Champion St. Louis Cardinals have their ring cememony.
But for the Cubs it had to be pretty galling.
I didn't have the tv on.
Maybe they showed it, maybe the Cubs were all perfect gentlemen..
And maybe this is what they were all actually thinking.
 

Rob Whitenack (rehabbing from June 2011 TJS) threw two innings (27 pitches) of shutout ball with three strikeouts, but Cuban southpaws Gerardo Concepcion and Frank del Valle allowed a combined seven runs on 10 hits, five walks, a HBP, and two wild pitches over the next six innings, as the Athletics defeated the Cubs 7-4 in Extended Spring Training action this morning on Field #2 (AKA “Connie Mack Field”) at the Papago Sports Complex in Phoenix, AZ.

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