March 2013

Rusin Shuts Down Dodgers in Win

Cubs-Dodgers 3-14-13 Header

Full Box Score

  Chris Rusin was outstanding Thursday afternoon, which is nothing new this Spring as he has been nothing short of brilliant.  The lefty is slated to start the 2013 season in the Iowa rotation, and if he has continued success like this don’t be surprised if he is back at Wrigley sooner than later, either starting or coming out of the pen.

Box Score At The Plate

Brent Lillibridge made a triumphant return to the lineup going 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored.  Welington Castillo got the start behind the plate and was 1-for-2 with a triple, two RBI’s and a run scored.  Luis Valbuena (1), Brian Bogusevic (2), Dave Sappelt (1), and Darnell McDonald (1) had the rest of the runs knocked in.

Box Score On The Mound

As I mentioned, Chris Rusin was awesome.  Rusin tossed five nearly perfect innings, giving up no runs on one hit while walking one, and striking out one.  Raley improved to 2-0 on the Spring with a 0.69 ERA, he has worked thirteen innings this spring and has given up one run.  Drew Carpenter, Jaye Chapman, and Blake Parker all had scoreless appearances in the victory.

Box Score Up Next

Split squad action tomorrow as half the team will face the White Sox on the road, and the other half will face off against Team Japan.  Travis Wood will make the start against Team Japan, and Scott Feldman will work against the White Sox.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Struggle to Find Runs In Castro’s Return

The Cubs lost to the Rockies 2-0 yesterday, that’s alright, because the bigger news was that Starlin Castro returned to the lineup and looked no worse for wear.

Full Box Score

At the plate:

Darwin Barney had a solid day going 2-for-3, Brett Jackson, Steve Clevenger, and Starlin Castro were all 1-for-1, and Scott Hariston tallied the only other hit for the Cubs.  They only managed six all day, and all of them were singles.

On the mound:

Edwin Jackson was stellar, going five innings giving up one run on three hits while walking one and striking out two.  Kyuji Fujikawa had a rare sub par outing as he struggled with command giving up one run in one inning of work on one hit, while walking two and striking out two.  Cory Wade, Carlos Marmol, and Jensen Lewis all tossed scoreless, uneventful innings in the loss.

Spring Record: (7-11)

Up Next:

Cubs face the Dodgers, and Chris Rusin gets the ball, Rusin has been pretty darn good so far this Spring, and is slated to join the Iowa rotation this year.

Thanks for reading,
– George

March 11, 2013 – Cubs Lineup vs D-Backs

The Cubs take on the Diamondbacks today, Jeff Samardzija will get the start and we will hopefully see the longest start of the Spring.  MLB.com has a free webcast of today’s game with Len Kasper handling the broadcast (audio only) beginning at 3:10 PM CST.  Here is how the Cubs will get things started, the ever exciting Javy Baez gets the start at shortstop today.

DeJesus CF
Barney 2B
Schierholtz RF
Soriano LF
Valbuena 3B
Castillo C
Baez SS
Clevenger 1B
Samardzija P

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Make Second Round of Cuts; McNutt Included

As we inch towards opening day we will be seeing more of these reports, these are both good and bad, good meaning we are finally getting an idea of what the roster might look like, bad because, well, being cut isn’t a bad thing, it’s a developmental step, yeah that’s it.  Today the Cubs announced they have sent six players back to various levels of their system, five pitchers and one position player.  We will start with the position player, Logan Watkins, a guy I really like, and I think the Cubs do as well as he is versatile in that he can play a number of infield spots.  It looks as though he will start the 2013 campaign in Iowa as the starting second baseman, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him at Wrigley at some point this year.

Now let’s discuss the pitchers that were sent packing.  Brooks Raley, who started a few games for the Cubs at the end of last year will be headed to Iowa, and most likely be in the rotation there.  Raley had logan-watkins-nick-struckan opportunity to crack the roster coming out of camp but had a less than memorable Spring up to this point.  Alberto Cabrera, who the Cubs are trying to morph back into a starter will also take up residence in Iowa, like Raley, there was an outside shot of Cabrera making the team as he saw time with the Cubs last year, but a bad Spring  forced the Cubs hand.  The 2012 Minor League Pitcher of the Year in the Cubs organization,  Nick Struck, was also sent home from camp today.  Struck had a decent Spring and will look to build off an impressive 2012 this year, most likely in Iowa, yes that staff is pretty full already.  Robert Whitenack, who spent much of 2012 coming back from Tommy John surgery, was another one of the cuts.  Whitenack is intriguing, as many people in the organization like his arm, and ability, it’s now a matter of regaining confidence post surgery and I think that is what is holding him back.  Whitenack is someone to pay attention to as he is already on the Cubs 40-man roster, my guess is he starts a AA Tennessee, that might be a little advanced for him, but he has to show the Cubs organization that he belongs.

The final cut is probably the most notable, Trey McNutt, and his beard.  McNutt Trey  McNuttwas a pitching prospect for the Cubs before they restocked with other pitching prospects, if that makes sense.  McNutt, originally a starter has become seemingly more valuable out of the bullpen, that made it realistic for him to break camp with the Cubs and be another solid arm in the pen.  With him being cut from camp I would think the Cubs would like to see what he can do strictly as a reliever at AAA Iowa, I think that McNutt has a future with the Cubs, and I think it’s out of the pen, but time and performance will tell.  The Cubs roster now stands at 53, as I said, inching closer to that magical 25 number for April 1st.

Thanks for reading,
– George

March 7, 2013 – Cubs Lineup vs. White Sox

Always want to beat the White Sox, even if it doesn’t count.  Here is how the Cubs will start things off today, the White Sox will use the DH, the Cubs will not, and the Sox had to get permission to do so from the Cubs, Spring Training folks.

1. David DeJesus, CF
2. Darwin Barney, 2B
3. Nate Schierholtz, RF
4. Alfonso Soriano, LF
5. Luis Valbuena, 3B
6. Welington Castillo, C
7. Brad Nelson, 1B
8. Edwin Maysonet, SS
9. Carlos Villanueva, P

Thanks for reading,
– George

March 5, 2013 – Cubs Lineup vs. Rockies

Yes, Mother Nature is dumping 10″ of snow on my current location, and beating up Chicagoland, but there is baseball to be played, here is how the Cubs will start things off today against the Rockies in Cactus League action.

Sappelt CF
Barney 2B
Castillo C
Schierholtz RF
Lake 3B
Bogusevic 1B
Maysonet SS
Szczur LF
Feldman P

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Season Tickets Have Been Printed, and They Are…..Awesome.

Cubs Season Ticket Cards

Baseball is an “old school” sport, meaning there is a lot of tradition, and usually teams do a solid job of recognizing that tradition.  Obviously the Cubs are one of them, they play in Wrigley, they play during the day, there is an old school feeling to everything that happens at Wrigley.  Well the Cubs, and the people at Topps have captured that feeling this year with the Cubs season tickets, they are top-notch.  Not only do season tickets get these awesome looking tickets, they get baseball cards from Topps as well (pictured above).  Colin Faulkner tweeted out a picture of one of the cards that will be going out (pictured above), yes please.  Darren Rovell tweeted out some examples of the tickets (pictures below), which was brought to my attention by my buddy Sarah Spain.  Enjoy.

Cubs Season Tickets 1Cubs Season Tickets 2

 

Thanks for reading,
– George

Shark Warning Issued For April 1st in Pittsburgh

Jeff Samardzija Opening Day Starter

The Cubs, or Dale Sveum have officially named Jeff Samardzija the opening day starter for the 2013 season.  Sure it’s only game one of one sixty-two, but it’s an accomplishment, especially for Samardzija, who just a couple of years ago was struggling out of the bullpen.  Here is what Sveum had to say about Samardzija, “He’s a guy who players rally around because of his work ethic, his bulldog mentality when he’s on the mound,” Sveum said Sunday. “It’s a very obvious choice, really, he’s that guy — it’s game on when he’s pitching that day,” Sveum said. “The other four days, he’s a starting pitcher who doesn’t sit around for four days. He’s into every game, and picking his teammates up.  He’s fallen into that leadership role as well.”  Some high praise from Sveum right there, and this could be a huge year for Shark as he has the chance to take a big step forward as the ace of this Cubs staff for not only this year, but years to come, he’ll also get paid for it too as his contract needs to be extended after the year.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Shut Down Garza

There are many reasons that teams need starting pitching depth, this would be one of those reasons.  Matt Garza, the clear number one or two on the Cubs staff is being shut down by the Cubs because of his lingering lat injury.  Garza had been progressing nicely until Saturday when he was supposed to amp up the intensity in his throwing program.  Matt Garza ShockedWhen he did that, he didn’t feel right, and the Cubs pulled the plug.  The word out of Cubs camp is that Garza will be shut down for a week, and could miss up to a month which all but guarantees the right hander will start the 2013 season on the 15-day DL.  As expected, Garza, who wears his emotions on his sleeve, was none to happy about the setback, “He’s pretty down about it,” Sveum said. “He was obviously looking forward to it going well, and it didn’t go so well. He’s pretty down right now about it.”  To be clear, the injury hasn’t gotten worse, it just wont calm down enough for Garza to move forward.  “It’s just to the point where he’s just not ready to throw a baseball yet,” Sveum said. “It’s not torn or real bad. It’s just not quite ready to throw. It’s not a setback, it didn’t get worse, it’s just not ready — it’s like an evaluation process. Obviously, the evaluation was that he’s not ready to step up any extra intensity throwing.”  Hopefully this additional week of rest does a World of good for Garza and he’s able to return quickly, in the meantime the Cubs will lean on the pitching depth they built during the off-season.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Late Cubs Rally Falls Short

Cactus League Header

Cubs-Giants Line Score 3-2-13

Full Box Score

  Every time the Cubs fought back in this one the Giants would tack on a couple of insurance runs to keep the Cubs at bay, the Cubs final push came in the ninth inning as they scored twice, but ran MLB: Spring Training-Chicago Cubs at San Francisco Giantsout of outs as they fell to the Giants 9-7.  Carlos Villanueva made his second appearance of the Spring, and had a much better performance.  Villanueva was able to make it through three innings, giving up one run on four hits while walking one, and striking out two.  It was nice to see Villanueva find the strike zone repeatedly in this one, I’ll take giving up hits over walks any day, and he was able to work around the hits for the most part.  Barret Loux came on in relief and didn’t have it today, he tossed two innings, giving up four runs, all earned on three hits while walking one and striking out one, Loux was hung with the loss.  Jaye Chapman also struggled today as he surrendered two runs on two hits in his inning of work.  After having a rough Spring debut, Robert Whitenack bounced back nicely today as he pitched a scoreless inning, walking one and striking out one.

  The Cubs were once again productive at the plate as they scored seven runs while pounding out ten hits.  Brian Bogusevic got the start in right field today and was stellar at the plate going 2-for-2 with a triple, a walk, and two runs scored.  Dioner Navarro only had one hit but he had a productive day, he ended the day 1-for-3 with a walk, and two RBI’s.  Steve Clevenger got the start at first base today, yes first base, and he did his best Anthony Rizzo impersonation going 2-for-3 with two RBI’s, Clevenger is having a solid Spring at the plate, hitting .500 (4-for-8) in the early going.  Brett Jackson didn’t start, but had an eventful day nonetheless going 1-for-1 with a double, and a stolen base.  Jackson is having a resurgent Spring, and a lot of that can be contributed to a new swing, and new-found confidence, he his slated to start 2013 in Iowa, but is doing everything he can to make that decision anything but a given, he’s hitting .375 (3-for-8) with two triples, and a double this Spring.

Cubs-Giants box Score 3-2-13

Cubs-Giants Pitching Box Score 3-2-13

Thanks for reading,
– George

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