Marshall Perfecto & Three Cub Bombs Drop A's at the Ho

Sean Marshall,threw three perfect innings and Alfonso Soriano, Jake Fox, and Aramis Ramirez slammed home runs, helping the Cubs dump the Oakland A's 6-4 under overcast skies and 80-degree temperatures and in front of 6.500 fans at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa this afternoon.

In a battle for the #5 starting job, Sean Marshall got the start for the Cubs and was simply marvelous, retiring all nine men he faced in three consecutive 1-2-3 innings. 

Unlike his last time out, when he kept bpuncing his curve while leaving everything else up in the strike zone, Marshall was right on target today, dropping his curve in for strikes, and coaxing the A's into five ground ball outs through the first two innngs while facing the likes of Jack Cust, Matt Holliday, Jason Giambi, Bobby Crosby, and Kurt Suzuki. 

Marshall might have begun to tire just a little bit in the top of the third when the A's put a couple of balls into the air, but then the lefty finished off his outing by striking out pinch-htter Jeff Baisley.

For the day, Marshall threw a total of 35 pitches (24 for  strikes), with a 5/3 GO/FO, and no balls were hit hard. 

Kevin Gregg worked an EXTREMELY quick 4th inning, retiring the side on five pitches (all strikes, with four of the balls put into play, and all four of those on the ground)..I think I might have blinked twice (three times max) during that inning. 

Meanwhile, the Cubs offense was playing long-ball with the A's pitchers, putting up six runs thanks to a solo HR over the RF fence and into the Cubs bullpen by Alfonso Soriano off A's starter (and ex-Cub) Sean Gallagher leading off the bottom of the 1st, a two-run blast also hit over the RF fence and into the Cubs bullpen by Jake Fox off reliever Kevin Cameron in the bottom of the 3rd, and a three run moon-bomb by Aramis Ramirez off ex-Cubs LHRP prospect Jerry Blevins that landed just in front of the scoreboard well beyond the LF fence following walks to PH So Taguchi and Ryan Theriot in the bottom of the 4th.    

With the Cubs up 6-0, veteran lefty reliever Mike Stanton pitched the 5th, and he did not have a good outing (28 pitches - 15 strikes). He gave up three hits and a walk, and most everything was hit hard off him. He could not even retire lefty-swinging Eric Patterson. I realize Stanton hasn't pitched for a couple of years, and I'm fairly sure the Cubs will give him a reasonable chance to try and get himself into some kind of groove, but so far he looks washed-up to me. 

Making his 2009 Cactus League debut (he was late to camp, supposedly due to "visa problems"), RHP Luis Vizcaino (acquired from Colorado for Jason Marquis during the off-season) worked the 6th, and he looked very good (a 1-2-3 inning, retiring Holliday-Giambi-Bowen, 1/1 GO/FO, one K, on only 12 pitches). I have to admit I was half-expecting to see a broken-down sore-armed guy slinging the ball up to the plate, but his fastball actually had some zip on it, and his breaking ball looked good, too. 

2008 #1 draft pick RHP Andrew Cashner (he of the 99 MPH fastball and high 80's slider) made his Spring Training game debut in the 7th. As one would expect, he had command probblems (24 pitches - only 12 strikes), and along the way he allowed two runs on three hits, a walk, and a wild pitch (and got no punch-outs), before leaving the game with runners on 1st and 2nd and only one out in the inning. 

Neal Cotts relieved Cashner, and immediately induced an infield pop up that Jake Fox (naturally) dropped. But since there were runners on 1st & 2nd with only one out, it was an infield fly rule situation, so the batter was out. Except the runners took off running as soon as Fox dropped the ball, and so Fox (far more alert than he is competent defensively) gunned the ball to a waiting Luis Rivas at 3rd base. Except Rivas stepped on the bag instead of tagging the runner. So the runner was safe. Except the runner thought he must be out, so he walked away. And thus Rivas had a chance to redeem himself and tag the runner. But Rivas didn't do that, instead throwing the ball back to Fox (who was wildly waving his arms "NO!!!" and pointing at to the base runner headed to the dugout), But alas it was too late, and the A;s 3rd base coach was able to communicate to the runner to get his ass back to 3rd. Which he did. So the inning continued with the tying runs at 2nd & 3rd. . Cotts got the next hitter, too (GO), but it shouldn't have gotten that far.   

RHP (and ex-catcher) Randy Wells (September 2008 stress fracture in his pitching arm) made his 2009 Cactus League game debut in the 8th, and had an easy seven-pitch 1-2-3 inning (two ground outs and a pop up).

Going for the save, RHP Esmailin Caridad worked the 9th, and he labored (18 pitches - only eight strikes). Caridad put the tying runs on base on a one-out walk and a double, but then he seemed to bear down, retiring the final two hitters on a ground out and a pop up.

I thought Soriano had some really nice swings today, His home run (off Gallagher) was on a high outside fastball, where he stood on his tip toes and just lined the ball over the RF fence. (He had another swing exactly like that yesterday, too, but the ball was caught on the warning track in RF). In his second AB today, Sori tomahawked a high fastball to LF that almost took Matt Holliday's glove off. And then in his 3rd AB, he hit another rope to RF that was caught.

It was also nice to see Eric Patterson again, doing that voodoo that you do so well... easy ground ball just to the right of first-baseman Giambi, Patterson ranges to his left and makes a stop about 15 feet behind and slightly to the left of the 1st base bag, he has all the time in the world, and so he double clutches, and throws the ball away. Classic E-Pat.  

And Jake Fox needs to get traded to an American League team where can DH. He has outstanding power, but he he is dangerous to himself (and others) no matter what position he plays in the field. 


Thanks, AZ PHIL!


Love your account of the botched pop-up by Fox and the subsequent botching by Rivas. Sounds like the play-by-play of several t-ball games I have watched in my life.

Thanks for the report.

"And Jake Fox needs to get traded to an American League team where can DH. He has outstanding power, but he he is dangerous to himself (and others) no matter what position he plays in the field." Bwahahaha! Thanks AZ PHIL. It is truly unfortunate. We do not have a power hitter like Fox right now at the AAA level, ready to hit MLB pitching. It sure isn't Colvin yet. Would you think Jake would have decent trade value, AZ PHIL?

There will be lots of media folk buzzing around Glendale Ranch--all of them focused on the Dodgers.

Should feed the White Sox' inferiority complex just beautifully.'s too early to sign. there's still important things to getting deeper into ST so manny don't have to do "stupid" stuff like running and conditioning exercises at 10am.

supposedly a face-to-face meeting tomorrow, probably in camp by next week...

What a circus act.

"The Cubs have been taking their time with Harden to make sure he doesn't have any problems with his right shoulder." seems like the word further is missing in that sentence, since Harden already has problems with his shoulder and the Cubs are taking their time with him because of those problems.

If you heard him ROB G (and I'm thinking you did), Gary Hughes was pretty upbeat when discussing him today. "We knew what the risk was...", etc. He was like "What's the rush?"

i thought it was Randy Bush on the radio, so that's how close I was paying attention..

nonetheless, would you expect a Cub official to openly be down on him?

"He's a fucking mess, think they'll give us Sean Gallagher back?"

Great recap, Phil. Thank you.

And, Nomah signs w/the A's. The Giants of the AL.

A-rod has a bad hip: If he cant go for the WBC, I am sure Felipe will ask A-ram if he wants in since he only turned down a spot because he did not want to be a bench warmer.

Is this where he was injected!

Actually, it might be! The injury is apparently due to a cyst, which if anyone remembers the Clemens fiasco are common in injection areas.

Randy Johnson struck out 7 Dbacks in 3 innings today.... He also explained how he got the nickname "The Big Unit"
"Tim Raines is about 5-9. I might be generous there," Johnson says of his former Expos teammate. "He was taking B.P. and he just walked up to me and looked up and said, 'You're a big unit.' "

and all along I thought it was just a commentary about his attitude.

I assumed he had a very long penis.

WBC Update: Geo Soto came in to pinch hit in the 6th, and stayed on as the DH. Went 0-2 4LOB

In other WBC news, Carlos Marmol started the game in the bullpen for the Dominicans, then changed his mind and decided to try playing 1st base coach. ...he later changed his mind again and did some play-by-play, first doing it in Spanish, then changing to German.

Cubs may be interested in A's Crosby.


The only thing I can figure is that if the Cubs like Patton and/or Caridad, maybe the only way they figure they can keep them is to move Vizcaino and his contract to free up a spot in the pen. If Oakland sent the money to make it salary neutral, you would, in a roundabout way, be trading Vizcaino for Crosby and Patton. But yeah, Crosby sucks, and I don't think he even plays 3B, so it's hard to see how the Cubs could use this stiff. Even Rivas is probably just as good. And certainly Koskie is. Pass.

I don't care what the reason is, he F'ing blows. He's a .230 hitter with 8 HRs a year. If we wanted a shitty backup SS we could have just kept Ronny. And besides, do the cubs really need another "scrappy" and "gritty" middle infielder who can't play the only position we actually need to find a backup? I didn't think so. And if they wanted to keep Patton/Caridad on the roster, getting Crosby just eliminates the last roster spot for HoffPOWER or something better than him. I know it's just a rumor, but I don't see it happening, nor do I want it to to happen.

A guaranteed contract would be stupid, but I have absolutely no problem hiding him in Des Moines.

Damn. As soon as he complained, I knew this was going to happen. No more shitty infielders, please.

I guess if the Cubs need someone to hit .230, Bobby Crosby is your man.

I guess if the Cubs need someone to hit .230, Bobby Crosby is your man.

I guess if the Cubs need someone to hit .230, Bobby Crosby is your man.

Don't say it three times...he might appear.

"Jake Fox (naturally) dropped. But since there were runners on 1st & 2nd with only one out, it was an infield fly rule situation, so the batter was out. Except the runners took off running as soon as Fox dropped the ball, and so Fox (far more alert than he is competent defensively)" _______________________________________________________ I lol'd

Something about Tim Lincecum makes me want to see him succeed. I think this is the story that made me like him ( "With or without a long-term deal, Lincecum is not eligible to leave as a free agent until after the 2013 season. Meanwhile, he said he is happy with the $650,000. 'I think it's fair what I got," he said. "I'm not saying I got gypped at all. I'm happy with what I got. Now I've just to live up to that expectation. You see pay increases and you expect results. That's what happens from the fan standpoint. Now I've just got to push it, I guess.'" I just hope the Giants PR guy did damage control on his "gypped" comment. That could really hurt attendance with the large gypsy population in San Fran

Hah. While reading that I was wondering how Giants fans in Romania were feeling... Can't he make more than $650,000 with bonuses and such, or is he locked in there.

I know I had nice things to say about the game yesterday, but after about 20 games, it's really starting to fucking piss me off. Yeah, the presentation's great. The commentary is fantastic despite the appearance of Steve Phillips. The player animations are terrifc. However, here are the actual numbers from my dyntasy 19 games in: I've literally committed 93 errors (almost 5 per game). I've given up 92 runs and 67 of them (!!!) are unearned. Outfielders inexplicably miss baseballs. Alfonso Soriano is the worst fielder I've seen since I was 8 years old. Although he's got almost as many OF assists (5) as he does errors (7). Derrek Lee doesn't have his foot on 1B roughly 70% of the time there's a groundball on the infield. Theriot's committed 22 errors, and I think only two of them were legitimate bad throws. Also, the Brewers are the best baseball team ever. They hit 11 homers off of Dempster this morning. Lost that one 28-6. Fielder hit 4. Braun hit 3 with 2 GS's and was 6-6 with 13 RBI. Throw out that one game, though, and I'm allowing somewhere close 3.5 runs per game, which feels about right. Aargh. /Charlie Brown face

Annoying... What are the skill levels set at? Not that it should matter, you shouldn't have 93 errors in 20 games. I understand making it "realistic" and having players goof up on a routine play occasionally, but I don't think I've ever seen Lee not have his foot on first base unless it was a super stretch or jump and swipe the tag. That's outrageous. Thanks for the update, I'll save my cash and go get Fifa instead.

Well, it's not really on any skill level because I've tweaked all the sliders. I started on All-Star, which is one level up from how it comes out of the box. It's an awfully unplayable game out of the box if you want a realistic baseball game. Every game is a 12-10 type with 4 homers per side and almost 40 total hits. Fun for kids, though. They don't want it to take an hour to play a baseball game with both sides throwing 120 pitches, drawing walks, and etc. I've tweaked 'em enough to get the AI to be a pretty darn realistic opponent, and I'm getting realistic pitch counts, but the errors are just killing me. It's almost like a glitch with where the 1B is placed. He's not stretching or anything. It's just like he's not touching the bag. Even on throws right at him. I can understand if I'm screwing up the throw everytime, but Theriot and A-Ram are throwing it right at him! I've turned the error slider all the way down to 0, but I'm not seeing a difference yet. I'm still working on it, though.