Archive for the ‘ 2013 Spring Training ’ Category

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 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

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Cubs-Giants Line Score 3-2-13

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  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

Walk This Way; Cubs Hand Game to D-Backs Behind Eight Walks

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Cubs-Dbacks Line Score 3-1-13

Full Box Score

  On the surface it looks as though the Cubs staff struggled as a whole today, but that really wasn’t the case.  Jeff Samardzija got the start and turned in the longest outing of any Cubs pitcher so far, tossing three innings giving up one run on one hit, while walking three and striking out one.  It could have been much worse but Shark wiggled off the hook in the second after loading the bases with no outs.  MLB: Spring Training-Arizona Diamondbacks at Chicago CubsObviously he didn’t have his best command as illustrated by the three walks, but he battled, and he wasn’t the only one that struggled with command today.  Michael Bowden walked two in his inning of work, and Rafael Dolis imploded, walking three in a third of an inning while giving up four runs, three earned, on just one hit.  Cory Wade, Blake Parker, James Russell, Casey Coleman, and Shawn Camp all had scoreless appearances.

  The Cubs were able to plate two runs in the first inning off of Trevor Cahill, but that is all they would get in this one.  Anthony Rizzo continued his strong spring going 2-for-3 with a double, and an RBI, he’s now hitting .364 (4-for-11) in the Cactus League.  Luis Valbuena continues to make a strong case to be the starting third baseman going 1-for-2 with a run scored, he’s hitting a robust .571 (4-for-7) this Spring.  Jorge Soler had a solid day at the plate going 1-for-2 with a triple, it’s impressive to see a guy that big run that well.

Cubs-Dbacks Box Score 3-1-13

Cubs-Dbacks Pitching Box Score 3-1-13

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Edge A’s Behind 12 Hit Attack

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Cubs-Athletics Line Score 2-28-13

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  The Cubs got back to basics this afternoon and also back into the win column, that’s not a coincidence.  After yesterdays game, which was one to forget, the Cubs pitching shut the A’s down all day while the offense pounded out twelve hits, and the defense was solid making no errors, a complete ballgame.  Scott Feldman got the start for the Cubs, his first as a North Sider, and 2-28-13 picturestruggled a bit with his command but was able to pitch around some self-imposed trouble.  Feldman worked two innings giving up one run on two hits while walking two and striking out two.  Travis Wood followed Feldman out of the pen, and ended up with the victory as he also went two innings, he gave up one run on two hits while walking none and striking out two.  Kyuji Fujikawa had his second straight strong outing as he worked a scoreless inning giving up one hit and striking out one, he now has three strikeouts in two innings of work this Spring.  Jensen Lewis made things interesting in the ninth inning as he allowed one run on three hits, but got a couple of clutch strikeouts to earn the save.

   The Cubs sprayed the ball all over the field offensively today, registering twelve hits with zero leaving the ballpark.  Junior Lake had an impressive day at the plate going 2-for-3 with a double, and an RBI, he is now hitting .300 on the Spring (3-for-10).  Darnell McDonald had a strong day at the plate as well going 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored.  Jorge Soler flashed some of his tools in the game today, he finished 1-for-3 at the plate with two strikeouts, but gunned down Josh Reddick at 3rd base from right field.  Javier Baez got the start at shortstop today while Starlin Castro nurses a tight hamstring, and went 1-for-3 with a run scored, he didn’t endanger any infielders’ lives today, which is good I guess.  I know it’s early, and it’s only Spring, but it’s nice to see a Cubs team competitive from the start.

Cubs-Athletics Box Score 2-28-13

Cubs-Athletics Pitchers Box Score 2-28-13

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Pitching, Castro, Beat Up Against Dodgers

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Cubs-Dodgers Line Score 2-27-13

Full Box Score

  Now THAT is an early Spring Training game if I’ve ever seen one, and I didn’t even see this one.  It was a long, messy game that ended with the Cubs on the losing end of an 11-7 final, and holding their breath about a potential injury to their franchise shortstop, more on that later.  It was a tale of two games for both teams really as seventeen of the eighteen runs scored in the game crossed the plate in the first five innings.  Raley 2-27-13Cubs pitching finally had a rough day, and it started with Brooks Raley.  Raley was really knocked around, he was able to go one plus inning giving up four runs on five hits while walking one and striking out one.  Thanks to an early surge by the Cubs offense Raley wasn’t on the hook for the loss, that honor went to Trey McNutt.  McNutt didn’t pitch terribly in his outing, but he was hung with the loss as he couldn’t bail out Raley after he left and allowed an earned run of his own in an inning of work on two hits.  Jaye Chapman, and Alberto Cabrera were also beat up pretty bad today as they combined to give up five runs, four earned, on six hits over three innings.  Chapman was particularly bad as he only lasted a third of an inning giving up three runs, two earned, on two hits while walking two.  The foursome of Michael Bowden, Hisanori Takahashi, Shawn Camp, and James Russell stopped the bleeding but it was too little too late.

  As I mentioned the Cubs bats were alive and well early this afternoon as they held a 4-1 lead and pushed across seven runs in the first four innings.  Both Nate Schierholtz and Darwin Barney had two hits, and they were productive as Schierholtz knocked in one with Barney driving in two.  Javier Baez drew some oohs and aahs with a screaming line drive base hit that almost decapitated the Dodgers shortstop, the hit had twitter abuzz, and drew comparisons to Gary Sheffield after the game from Dale Sveum.  Back to the Cubs holding their breath, Starlin Castro was 1-for-3 on the day, but had to leave the game after pulling up lame crossing first base after grounding out.  Castro said after the game that he was worried when he first felt it, but he is confident it’s more tightness then a pull, he’s feelings were echoed by Sveum as well after the game, fingers crossed.

Cubs-Dodgers Box Score 2-27-13

Cubs-Dodgers Pitchers Box Score 2-27-2013

Thanks for reading,
– George

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