Cubs Take Sentimental Journey to Cactus League Victory
Joe Mather blasted a three-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the 7th to turn a 6-4 deficit into a 7-6 Cubs lead, and Blake Lalli smashed a solo HR over the RF bullpens in the 8th to provide an insurance run, as the Cubs rallied to defeat the Cincinnati Reds 8-6 in Cactus League action at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in warm & sunny Mesa, AZ, this afternoon.
The game featured a pre-game fly-over by a World War II vintage B-17 bomber (“Sentimental Journey”) that is based at Falcon Field in Mesa.
NOTE: Scroll down for the updated MINOR LEAGUE CAMP rosters (effective today 3/12).
Ian Stewart got the Cubs on the board in the bottom of the 1st against RHP Bronson Arroyo, ripping an RBI triple into the right-center alley to score Marlon Byrd, who had singled with one out. (Brett Jackson rifled a single to right to lead-off the inning, but was thrown-out trying to stretch the hit into a double). Alfonso Soriano followed Stewart, slugging his 4th Cactus League home run (a two-run shot over the LF scoreboard) to cap the three-run inning.The Cubs scored another run in the 2nd, as Darwin Barney grounded a double down the LF line, and after Steve Clevenger and Brett Jackson walked to load the bases, with one out, Marlon Byrd lofted sacrifice fly to CF to drive-home Barney and give the Cubs a 4-1 lead.
After being sidelined with the flu last week, LHP Paul Maholm made his Cub game debut today, starting the game and allowing one run (a Todd Frazier solo HR) on two hits, no walks, and two strikeouts, in two innings of work (24 pitches – 13 strikes, 5/0 GO/FO). Maholm then threw another 15 pitches in the bullpen after he left the game, demonstrating that he probably could have gone another inning if that was part of the plan. A former rotation-starter for the Pirates, Maholm was signed by the Cubs as a free-agent during the off-season, and is expected to be in the Cubs starting rotation in 2012.
RHP Jeff Samardzija “piggy-backed” with Maholm, throwing three innings (39 pitches – 27 strikes). The Shark allowed two runs on two hits and a HBP in his first inning of work (the top of the 3rd), before retiring the last eight men he faced. The big righthander did not walk anyone, and he struck out three, with a 4/2 GO/FO. Samardzija should have gotten out of the 3rd allowing just one run, but SS Junior Lake rushed a throw while trying to complete a room-service 4-6-3 DP, extending the inning.
Like Maholm, Samardzija threw another 15 pitches in the bullpen after he was removed from the game, so he probably could have gone four innings if asked. (Samardzija appeared to be getting stronger & stronger and his command improved as he threw more pitches).
Rule 5 pick Lendy Castillo worked an easy 1-2-3 6th inning as he battles to win a job in the Cubs bullpen (although he faced only minor league hitters), but closer Carlos Marmol had another bad outing. With the Cubs up 4-3 through six, Marmol gave up the lead in the 7th, allowing three runs on a walk, a double, a HBP, a two-run RBI single, another walk that re-loaded the bases, and a sac fly. Marmol had just about zero command today (29 pitches – only 14 strikes).
Now down 6-4, the Cubs took back the lead in the 7th when Joe Mather continued his hot power-hitting, unloading his two-out three-run dinger that landed well beyond the left-centerfield fence off Reds RHRP Carlos Fisher, following walks to Dave Sappelt and Jim Adduci. Kerry Wood worked a scoreless 8th, and then Blake Lalli ripped his bomb leading off the bottom of the inning. RHP Marcos Mateo then worked a 1-2-3 9th (P-4, K, 6-3) for the save. (Mateo is out of minor league options, so the Cubs need to decide by the end of Spring training if he is MLB-worthy).
Defensive play of the day was a one-out diving catch by 2B Bobby Scales that kept the potential tying run at 3rd base (and saved Kerry Wood) with one out in the top of the 8th. Although he did get an NRI to Spring training with the big club, Scales will likely serve as a player-coach at AAA Iowa in 2012. (He is viewed by the Cubs as a potential future manager or instructor/coach)
Meanwhile, newly signed 20-year old Cuban LHP Gerardo Concepcion made his debut on Field #2 at Fitch Park, working out with the AA Tennessee squad. Also, several of the Cubs top prospects (including SS Javier Baez, 1B Dan Vogelbach, and 3B Jeimer Candelario) were moved down to the Boise/Mesa squad (which will become the Cubs Extended Spring Training squad next month) from the Peoria squad. There were a few other roster adjustments as well, as the six players sent to Minor League Camp this past weekend (RHPs Marco Carrillo, Trey McNutt, and Dae-Eun Rhee, C Micah Gibbs, INF Jonathon Mota, and OF Jae-Hoon Ha) have reported to Fitch Park.
Here are the updated Cubs Minor League Camp rosters (effective today)
Justin Berg (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
* Brooks Raley
* Nate Robertson
* Ryan Rowland-Smith
Luis Flores (see NOTE)
# Micah Gibbs
NOTE: Luis Flores is on the RESTRICTED LIST while serving a 50-game Prohibited Substance suspension, but he is participating in Minor League Camp activities
# David Macias
* Michael Burgess
* Jeffry Antigua
David Cales (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
* Gerardo Concepcion
* Frank del Valle (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
* Brent Ebinger
Ricardo Estevez (see NOTE)
* Casey Harman
* Eric Jokisch
* Matt Spencer (ex-OF)
Rob Whitenack (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
NOTE: Ricardo Estevez is on the RESTRICTED LIST while serving a 50-game Prohibited Substance suspension, but he is participating in Minor League Camp activities
* Sergio Burruel
* Rafael Lopez
* Justin Bour
* Matt Cerda
# Zeke DeVoss
* Jake Opitz
* Rubi Silva
* Logan Watkins
Taiwan Easterling (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
* Kyler Burke (ex-OF)
P. J. Francescon
* Austin Kirk
* Jeff Lorick
A. J. Morris
* Zac Rosscup
Charles Thomas (ex-3B)
Yaniel Cabezas (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
Anthony Giansanti (ex-OF)
# Arismendy Alcantara
* Ryan Cuneo (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
* Wes Darvill
* Richard Jones
* Pin-Chieh Chen
* Ben Klafczynski
* Hunter Ackerman
* Willengton Cruz
Dillon Maples (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
* Sheldon McDonald
* Andrew McKirahan
Wilson Contreras (ex-3B)
* Justin Marra
# Wilfredo Petit
# Marco Hernandez
# Brian Inoa
* Eduardo Gonzalez
# Oliver Zapata
Ethan Elias (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
* Graham Hicks (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
Austin Reed Colin Richardson
* Brian Smith
Austin Urban (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
* Alberto Mineo
# Jeimer Candelario
* Danny Lockhart
# Rock Shoulders
* Dan Vogelbach
* Delbis Arcila
* Shawon Dunston, Jr
* Trevor Gretzky (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
* Garrett Schlecht (LIMITED ACTIVITY ONLY)
NOT ON FIELD - WHEREABOUTS UNKNOWN:
Gregori Gonzalez, IF-OF (?)
Yohan Gonzalez, P (?)
* Cam Greathouse, P (supposedly will report to EXST)
Alvido Jimenez, P (?)
Arturo Maltos-Garcia, P (2011 TJS rehab)
Amaury Paulino, P (?)
* Nelson Perez, OF (?)
crunch 6 hours 30 min ago (view)
it probably had nothing to do with len leaving, but Marquee can get rid of that "we're all wearing suits and we're classy as hell" look.
i loved len and bob...len and jd i was only warming up to in the past couple years. either way, gonna miss len.
crunch 6 hours 35 min ago (view)
*laura ricketts has entered the chat*
crunch 6 hours 36 min ago (view)
the claim is he "really wants to do radio" and "totally nothing wrong with Marquee"...etc etc
but yeah...the team is having a hell of an offseason having theo walk away with a year left on his deal, semi-embarrassingly trying to find a taker for bryant, deciding to not keep schwarber, and now the long-time cubs pbp TV guy leaves for a radio gig across town.
all of this and the cubs are yet to be linked to any FA discussions...or names for a GM hunt...or a pool of teams actually interested in bryant...or anything resembling a 2021 plan so far...
Eric S 6 hours 37 min ago (view)
Thom Brennaman - a longtime Cub fan favorite - would fit Marquee to a T 🤣
Charlie 6 hours 41 min ago (view)
My appreciation of Len has waned since 2016. But he and JD have been my favorite Cubs broadcast crew in the ~25 years I've paid close attention.
I wasn't thrilled about the few changes that came along with Marquee this year.
Dolorous Jon Lester 16 hours 15 min ago (view)
I believe this is the correct take. It's surprising that Len is leaving. He's good, but he had gotten a little too rationalizey over the past few years for me.
However, it seemed he was heavily invested in the Cubs. His departure feels like there is some Ricketts-ish bullshit going on behind the scenes at Marquee that Len wants no part of. Anyway, I wish him well with the other Chicago team
crunch 16 hours 52 min ago (view)
is everything the ricketts touch just falling to shit in 2021? ....well, except their heavy investments in taking over the state of Nebraska politically with one of the sons and heavy investment in supportive state legislators...
Dolorous Jon Lester 18 hours 22 min ago (view)
This makes a whole lot of sense. Thanks Phil!
(And that HR off Hader was unforgettable)
Hagsag 20 hours 46 min ago (view)
Wrigley Rat 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
Len Kasper is leaving the Cubs for the White Sox radio booth.
Charlie 1 day 6 hours ago (view)
I would be happy to see the Cubs no longer spend DH time on Victor Caratini. Provided there's a Kyle Schwarber or better alternative, of course.
Arizona Phil 1 day 14 hours ago (view)
DJL: I don't think Ildemaro Vargas being out of minor league options is much of a concern to the Cubs because as things stand right now he projects as the team's primary utility infielder in 2021. He can play all four INF positions (1B, 2B, 3B, and SS, plus corner OF, too), and he is switch hitter with some pop, especially from the right side (remember the 9th inning HR he hit off Josh Hader in September?).
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 15 hours ago (view)
I'm a little surprised Ildemaro Vargas was tendered, given that he's out of options. He has value and isn't expensive as he is pre-arb this year, but still a bit surprised. Have to think he's got an inside track to an Opening Day spot at this point
waveland 2 days 2 min ago (view)
really appreciate the years and years of your updates
Arizona Phil 2 days 1 hour ago (view)
BRADSBEARD: Strumpf was wearing a cast on his hand in Minor League Camp before everything got shut-down in March so his not being at South Bend might have had something to do with that. I don't know why Rivas wasn't at the ATS.
bradsbeard 2 days 2 hours ago (view)
Do you have any idea why Rivas and Strumpf weren't at the alternate site in South Bend? I thought Rivas especially showed enough in ST games to be viewed as a legitimate depth option, especially with the DH.