Brandon Allen Rolls a Seven at HoHoKam

Brandon Allen drove-in seven runs with a grand slam home run, a two-run double, and an RBI ground out, leading the Oakland A’s to a hard-fought 12-10 victory over the Cubs in Opening Day Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in sunny Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.


Veteran RHP Rodrigo Lopez got the start for the Cubs and threw two perfect innings (18 pitches – 14 strikes with two punch-outs), as the game was scoreless through the top half of the 2nd inning.

The Cubs took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the 2nd off A’s starter Brandon McCarthy, as Darwin Barney ripped a two-out line-drive two-run double into the left-center gap, scoring Marlon Byrd (who had singled) and Jeff Baker (reached base on a FC after a David DeJesus walk).

Closer Carlos Marmol worked a perfect 1-2-3 eight-pitch 3rd, and then the Cubs scored again in the bottom of the 3rd.

Alfonso Soriano blooped a lead-off single to left-center and Ian Stewart followed with a ground single back through the box. Soriano then came around 3rd to score when A’s SS Cliff Pennington made a bad throw to 1st base thanks to a hard-slide by Stewart, who successfully derailed what should have been an inning-ending 4-6-3 DP.

But then the wheels started to come off next inning, as the A’s put up a six-spot. 2011 Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year Jeff Beliveau entered the game in the top of the 4th, and could not throw strikes (18 pitches – only 6 strikes). The lefty loaded the bases on two walks and a single, before walking in a run with his third free pass of the inning. Manager Dale Sveum pulled Beliveau at this point, bringing in 22-year old RHP Dae-Eun Rhee with no outs and the bases loaded.

Brandon Allen immediately unloaded the bases with a grand slam HR, blasted high & far over the RF fence and beyond the bullpens. Rhee surrendered another long ball two batters later, as Eric Sogard cranked a solo HR to give the A’s a 6-3 lead.

Oakland plated three more runs off Rhee in the 5th to take a 9-3 lead, as Brandon Allen ripped a two-run double before scoring on a Welington Castillo passed ball, but then W. Castillo lined a lead-off laser-beam HR over the LF fence in the bottom of the 6th to cut the lead to 9-4.

At this point, the Cubs starters (as per usual) were replaced by the “B” team.

In most years past, the 6th inning of a Cubs Spring Training game (especially early in Cactus League play) is when things stars to drag a bit, as the starters have left the game, replaced by a mostly-motley collection of 4-A players and second-rate prospects who hope to get some ST PT.

But maybe not so much this year.

With the likes of Anthony Rizzo, Brett Jackson, Dave Sappelt, Adrian Cardenas, Jae-Hoon Ha, and Junior Lake now in the lineup, the Cubs JV showed their mettle, mounting a stirring comeback and scoring five times in the bottom of the 6th off A’s reliever Edgar Gonzalez to tie the game at 9-9. And it was really a lot of fun to watch, too.

Anthony Rizzo opened the inning with an opposite-field single fisted over the shortstop’s head, Brett Jackson drew a walk, and Jim Adduci ripped an opposite-field line-drive single to left to load the bases. Dave Sappelt grounded an RBI single through the 5.5 hole to score Rizzo, and then Adrian Cardenas (claimed off waivers from Oakland last month) smoked a bases-clearing three-run triple into the RF corner to plate Jackson-Adduci-Sappelt and cut the A’s lead to one run. (BTW, after the game, about a dozen A’s players lined-up in front of the Cubs dugout to give their former teammate a fist-bump & a hug). After Micah Gibbs popped-out weakly to the third-baseman, Jae-Hoon Ha fought-off a tough pitch and slapped a broken-bat single to right-center to score Cardenas with the tying run.

Cubs rookie reliever Rafael Dolis threw an easy 1-2-3 7th (1-3, P-4, K) to keep the score tied at nine (Cardenas made an outstanding sliding catch in foul territory for the second out of the inning), but the A’s took back the lead in the top of the 8th off Cubs Rule 5 Draft pick Lendy Castillo.

Ex-Cub Josh Donaldson drew a lead-walk, and advanced to 3rd on a picture-perfect hit & run single by Jeff Fiorentino that was directed at the spot second-baseman Cardenas had just vacated. Donaldson then scored on a 3-U ground out, when Cubs rookie 1B Anthony Rizzo made a bad decision, trying to touch the 1st base bag and then making the throw to the plate instead of going home with the ball immediately.

The Cubs re-tied the game in the bottom of the 8th, as Dave Sappelt drew a lead-off walk, and came around to score on a ground out and a two-out Jae-Hoon Ha infield single + E-5 throwing error by 3B Donaldson.

But the A’s took the lead for good in the top of the 9th, scoring twice off RHRP Marcos Mateo. Jason Pridle drew a one-out walk and Chris Carter doubled, putting runners at 2nd & 3rd. Pridle then scored what proved to be the game-winning run on a Brandon Allen ground-out (no play available at home), and PR Cedric Hunter scored an “insurance run” on a Josh Donaldson RBI single.

Mateo is out of minor league options, so the Cubs have until the end of Spring Training to decide if he has what it takes to pitch in a big league bullpen.

Travis Schlichting set the Cubs down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 9th to preserve the victory.

The Cubs will play the A's again tomorrow afternoon at HoHoKam Park.


-edit- mega-derp...forgot cashner was traded for mind is elsewhere. "Andrew Cashner averaged 102.2 mph with his fastball on Sunday, throwing 10 in a scoreless frame of relief. The heaters ranged between 100.5 and 103.3 mph. " cash, carp, and the trade i still hate for s.marshall (i just don't like t.wood no matter how cheap...don't hate him, but meh)...bye bye pen.

sure it did...

you gonna vote Ron Paul with the rest of the conspiracy theory crowd? =p it's been a long couple of house-bound days on a lonely island...lots of beer...and time...and rain... my original question was whether cashner was working on another field or pre/post game pitching because he didn't pitch today for the mind derp'd.

PHIL: Seems like Mateo (like his brother before him) just does not seem seem to have what it takes. He never seems to get over the hump and has a tough time closing batters out. What are the odds he makes the team?

Sun, 03/04/2012 - 8:03pm — The E-Man PHIL: Seems like Mateo (like his brother before him) just does not seem seem to have what it takes. He never seems to get over the hump and has a tough time closing batters out. What are the odds he makes the team? ================================= E-MAN: With Carpenter and Cashner gone, I would say Mateo's chances of making the Cubs 2012 Opening Day roster now sits at one in five, with the fact that he is out of minor league options probably giving him a marginal advantage over the other candidates. Barring an injury that could change it, I would think that the Cubs Opening Day bullpen will probably look something like: Marmol Wood Samardzija Russell RH middle (probably either Mateo, Dolis, Corpas, Parker, or Weathers) #2 lefty (probably either Miller, Gaub, or Maine) long relief/spot start/garbage time (probably either Lopez, Sonnanstine, or Coleman)

my favorite pitching line of the day... 2ip 6h 7e 7er 1bb 1k 6hr julio teheran ATL

6 HR. Ouch!

it's's the first's disposable...but i couldn't imagine still being out there after giving up so many. gotta put that work in, though.

first the bunting competition, now this... "MESA, Ariz. -- One of the new drills in Cubs camp gets everyone involved. It's a situational drill in which there are infielders, plus a pitcher is on the mound and another is at the plate. Manager Dale Sveum stands in front of the mound and announces whether there are runners on, and how many outs there are. The coaches and players go over the signs, and then Sveum throws to the pitcher." the cubs are officially a NCAA team. neats. also, rick sutcliffe is helping rodrigo lopez with his slider grip. first day out went well... "I've told these guys, 'Your second instinct will always be wrong,'" he (SWAIN) said. <--- love that. I'm bit tired of conservative play by the cubs. let the defenders and the coaches setting up the defense second guess themselves...let the opposition know aggression should be expected. also, sorry "Cubby Town" didn't make the cut, carmenfanzone.

Just curious, what is the derivation of the TRN-like SWAIN nickname?

Considering his actual name ends with an "M", perhaps this is only meaningful to him? Maybe he was thinking of "Mark Twain"? Shenia Twain? Lynn "Swann"?

i just call the guy swain...kevin millar calls him swain and i follow suit because i watch too much Intentional Talk on MLB Network

I could give a rats ass about Kevin Millar. But at least we now know your motive.

kevin millar is an east coast version of mark grace with less cussing and more hokey-ass jokes. i can do without all the country music references, though. btw, him and ryan dumpster are like...super duper best friends forever...and they're both funny as hell when they get together on tv. "you were like my cooked, you cleaned, you clothed me." - millar

heh. I didn't know that he and Demp were buddies. All I know is he was promoing himself as a "great clubhouse guy" when he was trying to make the Cubs. He couldn't hit anymore - but a great clubhouse guy.

6/51.5m range All arb years plus 2 FA years. Maybin got a 5 year deal from Padres as well.

Campana 8, Barney 4, Castro 6, LaHair 3, Baker 9, Johnson 7, Clevenger 2, DeWitt DH, Vitters 5.

Is this our "wind blowing in" line-up?

Sweet 16 Schedule (1) Beliveau over (12) McNutt (2) Coleman over (14) Rusin (9) Samardzija vs. (12) Wells (3) Maholm vs. (15) Sveum (9) Cardenas over (4) Lalli (3) W. Castillo over (10) Clevenger (1) Mather vs. (5) Castro (2) DeJesus vs. (3) Baker Elite 8 to date... (1) Beliveau over (2) Coleman (3) W. Castillo vs. (9) A. Cardenas

Fangraphs is doing a cool series this week ranking each org by position strength/depth. Catchers are out first, and Cubs are #13.

no Clevenger love besides SS, that's about the best the Cubs will get... my guesses 1B: bottom 10 2B: bottom 5 SS: top 10, possibly top 5 3B: bottom 10, possibly bottom 5 LF: around the 20 range CF: bottom 10 RF: around the 20 range

  • Samardzija $2.64M
  • Castro 567K
  • Russell 512.5K
  • T. Wood 505K
  • Barney 500K

480K is league minimum

I get just north of $107M on the 25-man roster. Another $5M for Pena if you wish and then various split contracts and call-ups and such, my guess is the USA Today number will be in the $110M range for the year.

Or $70M if you're using aaronB's Ricketts bashing calculatortm.

That was when a Garza dump was inevitable and before they paid as much of Z's deal that they did. It's still almost 40 million less than what they payroll was when he purchased the club. Hopefully it won't matter if Theo can build up a farm system over the next 10 years.

it means what you think it means." in-ev-i-ta-ble - "A situation that is unavoidable."

Do you think ultimately the Ricketts are going to be good owners? Are you glad we got them as opposed to a Mark Cuban? How much of the money on the books right now is there because of deals that Tom Ricketts approved? All I've seen from them is the hiring of a suit, and an attempt to cut the pay of his scouts. What is his grand plan once Dempster and Z are off the payroll and we are in the 70's going into next offseason? Is he going to let Theo spend freely? or is this now a franchise that is going to operate in a 80-90 million dollar range? I can't believe you are so dismissive about such an issue. It's sure as heck more important than the Darwin Barney and Koyie Hill hate that we continually bitch about around here. Why do I become the bad guy for even broaching this subject?

"How much of the money on the books right now is there because of deals that Tom Ricketts approved? All I've seen from them is the hiring of a suit, and an attempt to cut the pay of his scouts." And a complete revamp of their system from bottom to top plus stadium work. But yeah "just" a suit...

My question becomes where does this team go from here (2013+). Are we going back to the days of missing on Furcal and signing Neifi? Missing on Giles and signing Jack Jones. Is that 145 million threshold coming back, or are we now being the Brewers? Did Bud Selig and Jerry Reinsdorf approve the Ricketts because they thought they would be penny conscience?

or was that $145M payroll at some expense to the farm system that you often liked to complain they cheaped out on? can't possibly be related, can it? unpossible.

I hope I am wrong Rob. I will be the first to admit it if they prove me wrong. I just want to see fans hold ownership accountable. Especially blogs like yours that can wield some power and potential sway. I've invested too much personal time, emotional and financial investment to see this team strip mined by a kid of a non fan.

I will be the first to admit it if they prove me wrong you still think Adam Dunn was the key to 2011, I'm not gonna hold my breath on that one. Especially blogs like yours that can wield some power and potential sway. haha, funny. The only time Ricketts will ever take notice of this blog is when he decides that he somehow owns the name and sends a cease and desist letter. I'm sure a couple of people associated with Cubs know of the site, mostly because of AZ Phil, but I doubt it holds any influence.

you're wrong Rob. this blog influences my vocabulary everyday. where else would i pick up classic phrases like "reverse chalupa"?

I think you're the bad guy for continually repeating the exact same talking point in the exact same manner and also for making up shit, like a $70M payroll. As for the other issues, I'll give the guy at least 5 years and see where the direction of the team is headed and will always presume I have about 70% less information at my disposable then the ones making the decisions. If Theo and Jed do this right, by 2014 the organization will be headed where it'll never be a question if they'll finish above .500 or not. I'm happy to give them more than 3 months to get there.

Sound sent: Applause

One comment out of context and you make it sound like I'm Silent Towel. They paid Z to leave and kept Garza. That was the difference between 70 something million and where they are. My problem isn't and has never been about Theo or Jed. It's about what ownership will allow them to spend. Why was it totally ok to rip on the Trib or Sam Zell around here. Yet the Ricketts are teflon figures that must never be questioned?

One comment out of context and you make it sound like I'm Silent Towel. They paid Z to leave and kept Garza. That was the difference between 70 something million and where they are. yet you keep repeating that complete and utter fallacy like it was ever near $70M or going to be. what you did was looked at Cot's Contracts, spewed out a number, me and others told you that was bullshit because you weren't accounting for a whole slew of things (arbitration deals, pre-arb deals, etc) and then you kept spewing it out. When was it ever presumed the Cubs were going to get any kind of salary relief for Z or that Garza was some foregone conclusion? Obviously it wasn't, cause Garza's still here. Why was it totally ok to rip on the Trib or Sam Zell around here. Yet the Ricketts are teflon figures that must never be questioned? that's it, play the victim.

You aren't asking questions. You are giving answers. With absolutely no evidence to back you up beyond paranoiac fantasy. Your comments about Z and Garza don't make any sense. How do you get 70 million out of getting rid of Zambrano and keeping Garza?

Plus money from the stadium, retail center, and new tv contract in four years, they will be the Yankees of the NL.

think of all the 18-19 year old foreign players and 3-5 starters the cubs can get to play in 2018 with that loot.

thats the spirit

no highschool pep spirit. while i dont mind the moves made this offseason, the only one i actually like projecting past 2012/2013 is volstad...and some out there don't even like him.

RBI's for DeWitt (3) and 1 each for Clevenger, Vitters, Lalli and Barney Baker the only hitter with a multi-hit game. scoreless frames for Maine, Parker, Weathers and Rhoderick runs given up by Dempster, Zych, Carillo (4) and Corpas (2)

is your cup of tea, you should read this. "Excerpted from former Padre and Blue Jay Dirk Hayhurst's splendid new book, Out of My League, a true chronicle of life as a pitcher bouncing between the minor leagues and the show. Some names have been changed." I have read good reviews on the book fwiw.

both his books are awesome...he did some good work for BA doing a "career minor leaguer" notebook piece for a season a few years ago.

Great excerpt

One guy says the payroll is at 105 - 110 million, and another guy says it is 70 million. It is quite easy to show that the 70 million figure is silly. Since Ricketts bought the team, they have about tripled their budget for draft and overseas acquisitions, increased the size and cost of the front office, and purchased an expensive computer system. At this point, criticizing Ricketts for not spending enough money on the team is just plain silly.

Very true. Add in the Dominican facility, the McDonald's property purchase, Budweiser RF addition (not sure how much is financed by the Ricketts and how much is from Budweiser), and hopefully adding to the IFA spending on top of Concepcion with Soler and there's a lot o' cash flying out the door. I realize it may not be all Cubs money, but it's all coming from the Ricketts at least in some form.

Is there any link where you can listen to the spring training Cubs games on the internet (for free).

You can listen to all games - spring training, regular season, and postseason - for all teams, with no blackouts, for $20 for the season. But if you only barter and can't order games for $20, then there are a few pirate sites out there. Just don't Google search it. #theman

Where do I go for the 20 dollar deal? I think the link is "Alternative Audio" or something.

MLB Gameday Audio. $19.95 for the year I believe.

Where do I go for the 20 dollar deal? --- Dirk Hayhurst teammates only paid $4

Yeah, but they are hairy!

r.flaherty (BAL) goes 2/4 with a triple and 2rbi in his first time out...started at SS and shifted to 2nd.

For those interested, Jeff, on another board has computed this year's payroll for the Cubs, as listed below. It comes to just shy of 113 million. Quite a bit higher than 70 million. "For the projected 25-man roster, I have them at $90,746,000. Over and above that, they owe the following: Carlos Silva's buyout $2,000,000 Carlos Pena's deferral $5,000,000 Carlos Zambrano's salary $15,345,000"

I have it this way: SIGNED FOR 2012: + Has NO TRADE rights (DeJesus, R. Johnson, Maholm, and K. Wood only thru 6/15) + Alfonso Soriano - $18M + Ryan Dempster - $15.5M (includes $1.5M deferred from 2010 salary) Matt Garza - $9.5M (plus $50K bonus if 210 IP and $100K if 220 IP) Carlos Marmol - $7M Marlon Byrd - $6.5M + Paul Maholm - $4.75M (plus $50K bonus if 150 IP, and $100K bonuses at 160, 170, 180, 190, & 200 IP) Geovany Soto - $4.3M + David DeJesus - $4.25M + Kerry Wood - $3M Randy Wells - $2.7M Chris Volstad - $2.655M Ian Stewart - $2.237M Jeff Baker - $1.375M + Reed Johnson - $1.15M Andy Sonnanstine - $1M? or $250K? minor league split SUB-TOTAL: $107.892M? (includes $15.345M of Carlos Zambrano’s 2012 salary, Carlos Pena $5M deferred 2011 salary, and Carlos Silva $2M 2012 buy-out) AUTO-RENEWAL (PRE-ARBITRATION) POST-2011: Darwin Barney Jeff Beliveau Alberto Cabrera Tony Campana Adrian Cardenas Lendy Castillo Welington Castillo Starlin Castro Steve Clevenger Casey Coleman Rafael Dolis John Gaub Bryan LaHair Junior Lake Scott Maine Marcos Mateo Anthony Rizzo James Russell Jeff Samardzija ($2.2M?) Dave Sappelt Matt Szczur Josh Vitters Casey Weathers Travis Wood ESTIMATED PROJECTED SUB-TOTAL: $8.2M? (includes projected $2.2M auto-renewal salary for Samardzija, average $500K 2011 salary for another nine auto-renewal players on MLB 25-man roster, and average $100K minor league “split“ salary for 14 players on Optional Assignment to minors) ESTIMATED PROJECTED 2012 OPENING DAY PAYROLL $116.1M? NOTE: Blake DeWitt and Manny Corpas were outrighted off 40-man roster, and because they are Article XX-D minor league players, their minor league salaries would probably come out of the MLB payroll. DeWitt makes $1.1M with no minor league split salary. Corpas has a minor league split in his contract, but the amount of the split is unknown.

Wasn't Samardzija auto-renewed at $2.64M?

‘‘Relying on external solutions to build a winning baseball team is a bad idea and something we need to get past,’’ he said in November. ‘‘The key to free agency is to make sure you’re always paying for future performance. There’s no reason to pay for someone’s resume.’’

some of the numbers

  • Samardzija $2.64M
  • Castro 567K
  • Russell 512.5K
  • T. Wood 505K
  • Barney 500K

also, please check your aol email address AZ Phil, some brief site business to take care of...

Tue, 03/06/2012 - 12:20pm — Rob G. also, please check your aol email address AZ Phil, some brief site business to take care of... ====================================== ROB G: Done.

much obliged some of the numbers Samardzija $2.64M Castro 567K Russell 512.5K T. Wood 505K Barney 500K ================================= ROB G: Well, I guess that's what I get for reading The Cub Reporter instead of the Sun-Times. Let that be a lesson to you youngsters out there.

ah, but you did not read The Cub Reporter (at least not while you were at the game taking wonderful notes for your impressive recap) or you have smartly trained yourself to skip over my comments.

ROB G: Oh, that Cub Reporter. I was thinking it was the one Al Yellon writes.

Is that what we're calling it? writing?

I always assumed Al's "writing" was just transcribed from things he says while watching Cubs games.

The payroll would have been substantially higher if Aramis Ramirez had exercised his $16M 2012 player option and Carlos Pena had accepted the Cubs salary arbitration offer (Pena probably would have gotten $10M through salary arbitration), although adding upwards of $26M to the 2012 payroll probably would probably have precluded the Cubs from signing David DeJesus ($4.25M), Paul Maholm ($4.75M), Kerry Wood ($3M), and Reed Johnson ($1.1M), tendering Blake DeWitt ($1.1M), and trading for Ian Stewart ($2.237M). So the increase actually would have been about $12.5M (with three more auto-renewal players--probably including Blake DeWitt--needed on the 25-man roster to offset the two-for-five exchange involving Ramirez and Pena for DeJesus, Maholm, Wood, Johnson, and Stewart), which would have meant about a $128-$129M 2012 payroll if Ramirez and Pena had come back in 2012.