Archive - Mar 2015

March 24th

Bard Passes D'backs to "B" game Victory

The Diamondbacks parlayed four walks and three run-scoring singles into a five-run 9th inning, rallying to defeat the Cubs 5-1 in Cactus League "B" game action this morning at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ.

Kyle Hendricks got the start for the Cubs and was masterful, tossing five innings of one-hit shutout ball (55 pitches - 37 strikes, 7/5 GO/FO), allowing no walks, while striking out three (all three swinging). 

Zac Rosscup then worked a 1-2-3 eight-pitch top of the 6th (two strikeouts looking and a 4-3 GO), and Justin Grimm worked a 1-2-3 top of the 7th (a lead-off F-7, and two strikeouts swinging).

Meanwhile the Cubs were unable to do anything against D-backs LHP Vidal Nuno, who threw four innings of one-hit shutout ball (no walks & eight strikeouts). Then Arizona closer Addison Reed worked a scoreless bottom of the 5th, allowing a lead-off walk before retiring the side in order. 

The Cubs finally plated a run in the bottom of the 7th off Randall Delgado, as Mike Baxter drew a lead-off walk, was advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on a Jonathan Herrera one-out RBI single.  

Neil Ramirez allowed a lead-off single in the top of the 8th but then struck out the side, and the Cubs entered the top of the 9th holding a slender 1-0 lead. 

But Daniel Bard could not find home plate, throwing seven consecutve balls to start the inning before finally recording a strike. He eventually would walk all four men he faced on 23 pitches (only seven strikes). AAA Iowa RHRP Tony Zych relieved Barth with no outs and the bases loaded and the score tied 1-1, and he surrendered RBI singles to minor leaguers Rudy Flores, Zach Borenstein, and Alex Glenn, as the D'backs broke the game open.  

If there was any lingering doubt that Daniel Bard's "Steve Blass Disease" is in remission or has been cured, today's outing should put that to rest. His pitches to left-handed hitters were consistently high & outside, and his pitches to right-handed hitters were all over the place  

Here is the abridged box score from today's "B" game (Cubs players only): 

March 23rd

Cubs Continue to Dominate Canadian Amateur Baseball

Eloy Jimenez ripped an RBI single, walked twice, and stole two bases, Shane Kennedy walked twice and knocked-in two runs with a double and an RBI GO, Frandy de la Rosa singled, doubled, stole a base, and scored two runs, and Carson Sands and eight relievers combined to toss a four-hitter with eleven strikeouts, as the Cubs defeated the Ontario Nationals 8-2 in Minor League Camp game action this morning on Field #6 at Mesa Cubtown at Riverview Park.

The Night the Lights Went on In Bushville

Like an obedient child emulating a revered parent the Iowa Cubs are at work on the installation of a new state-of-the-art HD video board in time for their home opener on April 17th.

At 24x64 or 1,536 square feet the magic screen will pale in comparison to the 42x95, 3990 sq. ft. colossus that’s being erected to tower above Wrigley Field’s left field bleachers and Waveland Avenue. It will be less than half the size but is certainly imposing enough to be viewed, let us say, as a Triple A scale model.

It’s high time for an upgrade. Depending on the vantage point and the mood of the sun the new board’s predecessor could be effectively invisible and in recent years has displayed more marketing and promo filler than, for instance, player stats. Not that that trend’s likely to change.

Speaking of trends at America’s ballparks, you know of course that all of this modern malarkey traces directly back to an event that happened right here in Des Moines, long a baseball hotbed, on May 2, 1930, right?

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March 20th

Nuts & Tourists Invade Riverview Park

The Asheville Tourists (Colorado Rockies Lo-A affiliate) rode a 13-hit attack that included three doubles, two triples and a home run, to coast past the South Bend Cubs (Lo-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs) 9-5 on Field #5, and the Modesto Nuts (Rockies Hi-A affiliate) cruised to a 6-1 victory over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs Hi-A affiliate) on Field #6, in Cactus League minor league game action this afternoon at Mesa Cubtown at Riverview Park.

Cubs Sweep A's in Cactus League Minor League Opening Day Action

Rob Zastryzny and four relievers combined to toss a six-hit shutout and Trey Martin roped a double and an RBI single, reached base on an HBP, stole a base, and scored a run, as the Tennessee Smokies (Cubs AA affiliate) shutout the Midland Rockhounds (Oakland A's AA affiliate) 4-0 on Field #5, and Jeimer Candelario belted two run-scoring doubles, Dan Vogelbach singled twice, walked, and scored two runs, and John Andreoli hammered a solo HR and a single, leading the Iowa Cubs (AAA affiliate of the Cubs) to an 8-1 victory over the Nashville Sounds (A's AAA affiliate) in Cactus League Minor League game action Thursday afternoon at Mesa Cubtown at Riverview Park.

March 18th

Do Spring Training Wins and Losses Matter?

You hear it every year. If a team is doing poorly in spring training, its general manager, manager, and players are likely to say: “Spring training games don’t count, we aren’t concerned with our record, guys are working on things, we are giving young players some looks” etc. They will also state clearly that spring training performance will have no bearing on the regular season, usually with some “throwing out/away” and “starting over” metaphor.

In contrast, if a team is doing well in spring training, you are likely to hear that they “like to win no matter what, everything is clicking and the team is playing well,” and of course that the “momentum will carry us into the regular season.”

The Cubs started 0-6-1 this spring training and still sit at just 6-9-1. During these early days Anthony Rizzo : “It is Spring Training, yes. Does it matter if we lost? No.” Manager , downplaying the record and emphasizing the type of play he was seeing (the good and the bad), but also hinting that winning mattered: “Of course it does,” Maddon said, “You always want to win.”

So does winning in spring training matter? I surveyed the field to see what we know, if anything, about the relationship between spring training and regular season performance.

March 17th

Tseng & Company Fan Flames as Cub Hitters Extinguish Blaze

Cubs 2014 Minor League Pitcher of the Year Jen-Ho Tseng and six relievers combined to toss a four-hit shutout with 17 strikeouts, David Bote singled twice, doubled, walked, stole two bases, scored three runs, and drove-in another, and Shamil Ubiera singled twice, walked twice, and knocked-in three runs, as the Cubs blanked the Langley Blaze 10-0 in Minor League Camp game action today on Field #3 at Mesa Cubtown.   

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