Yeah, slop-fest. I wasn’t quite sure how to spell that in the title, but it seemed appropriate given that this was, indeed, a slop-fest. The Cubs only had one error on the day, but the Rockies really messed things up and had five, yet still won the game. But the news of the day, as it is almost every day, is Javier Baez showing off his unfathomable power, everyone is really excited.
At the Plate:
- Josh Vitters, hello. Vitters entered the game in the sixth and ended the day going 2-for-2 with a run scored, and a dropped fly ball, filling up the score sheet.
- Javier Baez (!), Baez went 1-for-3 with his second home run of the spring season, an opposite field shot which continued to fuel the inter-webs desire for him to start with the Cubs… sorry, won’t happen, hooray team control!
- George Kottaras has the backup catching spot locked down in my opinion, not only because we share the first name. Kottaras was 1-for-2 with his first home run of the season, which immediately followed Baez’s shot.
On the Mound:
- Jeff Samardzija got the start today and was roughed up a bit, but was able to escape with a no decision. Shark went three innings giving up three runs on four hits while walking one, and striking out one.
- Jose Veras, the new Cubs closer, worked a scoreless inning, which was a nice rebound after his not so great debut.
- Pedro Strop also worked a scoreless inning, and didn’t walk or strikeout anyone, madness.
- Chris Rusin was having a pretty solid outing until he lost command in the fateful seventh inning. Rusin worked 2.2 innings giving up three runs on three hits while walking two, and striking out one.
- Armando Rivero continues his push to make the Cubs bullpen with another solid outing, but he did have some trouble to work out of. Rivero worked a scoreless inning giving up three hits while striking out one.
Thanks to Brett at Bleacher Nation for the video
The Cubs go for their third straight win this afternoon as they take on the Rockies at Cubs Park in Mesa. Jeff Samardzija will make his second start of the spring looking to build on his strong debut from last week, expect three to four innings for Shark.
1. Kalish – LF
2. Valbuena – 3B
3. Lake – CF
4. Roberts – 1B
5. Baez – SS
6. Kottaras – C
7. Jackson – RF
8. Valaika – 2B
9. McDonald – DH
SP – Samardzija
The Cubs bench looks a little more exciting than the lineup:
No TV today, but there it MLB.com radio.
For the second straight afternoon the Cubs showcased solid pitching, and big power, the result? Two straight wins.
At the Plate:
- Anthony Rizzo went 2-for-3 with a double, and two runs scored. Both hits came off left Tommy Milone, a good sign.
- Justin Ruggiano went 2-for-2 with his first home run of the spring, three RBI’s, a walk, and a run scored.
- Nate Schierholtz started in the DH spot today and went 2-for-3 with a double.
- Mike Olt came up huge today in his only at bat. Olt hit a two-run pinch hit home run in the 8th to give the Cubs a three run lead.
On the Mound:
- Kyle Hendricks made his spring debut and struggled with his control but was able to work out of trouble. Hendricks worked two innings, giving up one run, on one hit, while walking three, and striking out two.
- Carlos Pimentel was outstanding this afternoon as he worked two scoreless innings giving up one hit, while walking two, and striking out two.
- Jonathan Sanchez who is vying for a spot out of the bullpen was roughed up in this one. Sanchez worked two innings giving up two runs on four hits while walking one, and striking out one.
- Neil Ramirez, and Zac Rosscup each worked a scoreless inning in relief with Rosscup picking up the win.
- Brian Schlitter worked the ninth for his first save of the spring, but it wasn’t without issues. Thanks to a couple of errors, including one by Schlitter, the A’s threatened to tie things up. Schlitter worked one inning giving up one run, unearned, on two hits while striking out one.
Starlin Castro had a solid start to Spring Training, unfortunately he will have to wait 7-10 days to build on that. After getting hit by a pitch in his first at bat yesterday, Castro was caught stealing and apparently tweaked his right hamstring. He was removed from the game, and the news from the Cubs is that he will be out for 7-10 days. All things considered, it’s minor, and it’s at the beginning of Spring, so it could be worse, but I’m sure he wants to be out there proving to everyone that 2013 was more the exception than the rule.
The Cubs travel to Tempe today to take on the Los Angeles Angels, who will be making their 2014 spring training debut. The Cubs are coming off a 5-2 loss to the D-Backs yesterday, and are ready to trot out a completely different lineup today. Chris Rusin gets the start for the Cubs and he will be opposed by Angels ace, Jeff Weaver. Javier Baez makes is long awaiting 2014 debut hitting 7th, and playing shortstop. No TV today, but the game can be heard on WGN72o beginning at 2:00 PM CST, go Cubs!
Off and not exactly running for the Cubs as they fell to the Diamondbacks this afternoon 5-2 in their Cactus League opener. The star of the show today was the debut of new Cubs Park in Mesa, by everyone’s account it is the best Spring facility there is for the players and fans.
- Jeff Samardzija got the start and was a little too amped up as he walked the first batter of the game on four straight pitches. Samardzija settled down after that, and had a rather solid spring debut against a stout Diamondbacks lineup. Shark worked two scoreless innings giving up two hits while walking one, and striking out two.
- Starlin Castro looked really good at the plate on a day when Cubs hitters were anything but comfortable. On the day, the Cubs had five hits as a team, Castro ended with two of them. He finished the day 2-for-2 with a double, and an RBI.
- Two of the newest members of the Cubs bullpen struggled today, as both Wesley Wright, and Jose Veras were beat up. Wright, who took the loss, worked one inning giving up three runs on two hits while striking out three. Veras worked an inning, giving up two runs on two hits while walking one and striking out one.
- Hector Rondon, and Justin Grimm impressed out of the bullpen today. Grimm touched 97 on the gun while working a scoreless inning. Rondon also worked a scoreless inning, and struck out the side in doing so.
The Cubs will travel to Tempe tomorrow afternoon to take on the Angels beginning at 2:05 PM CST.
Finally, Spring Training is about to begin. The Cubs open their brand new facility in Mesa, and the 2014 Spring schedule tomorrow afternoon against the Diamondbacks. Jeff Samardzija gets the start amid trade rumors that are still swirling given the perceived stalled contract negotiations between him and the Cubs. The Cubs will be opposed by Bronson Arroyo and a power laden D-Backs lineup that was bolstered in the off-season with the acquisition of Mark Trumbo who will play LF for Arizona tomorrow.
Here are the lineups, and the extra pitchers that both teams will be carrying. For the image impaired that are reading, the Cubs plan to use Wesley Wright, Alberto Cabrera, Justin Grimm, Pedro Strop, Blake Parker, Hector Rondon, and Jose Veras in addition to Shark. The game begins at 2:00 PM CST, and will be televised (!) on WGN.
Jim Callis, formerly of Baseball America, and currently of MLB.com appeared on the David Kaplan Show on Tuesday night (Listen to the whole interview here) and couldn’t say more good things about the Cubs system, specifically their bats. During the interview, Callis said that he can’t remember a minor league system having four high level position players all at once. Callis has been around a long time, and is an expert when it comes to minor league baseball, and Major League baseball prospects, so hearing that should get a lot of people excited.
Many Cubs fans have this notion that Javier Baez is the best all around player in the history of ever, while I like that enthusiasm, he is just as bad defensively as Castro. Fans thinking Baez will supplant Castro at short could be mistaken and Callis touched on that as well. He thinks Baez can be an okay short-stop but a great third baseman. The same thought was shared in regards to Bryant he can be an okay third baseman, or a great right fielder. Bottom line, guys are going switch positions and most likely play wherever allows their bat to get in the lineup.
When asked which Cubs prospect would be the one that Callis trades for pitching he responded with Jorge Soler. Some scouts feel that Soler has not given 100% effort during his time in the minor leagues. I think I can agree, but I can also see why they could be saying tha. Soler is being paid like a major league ballplayer, and wouldn’t be surprised if he’s becoming disinterested with the Minor League lifestyle, competition, etc. I don’t think that Soler is lazy but I understand what Callis is saying, the effort supposedly isn’t there and could translate to different levels so the Cubs could trade him for arms.
Finally, Kaplan asked Callis about when the Cubs will contend, and when will we stop hearing about the Cubs prospects and hear more about winning at the Major League level? Callis agreed that this upcoming season could be pretty ugly, but you never know when you have a young team. The middle to end of 2014 is when we will start seeing some of these prized prospects hit the North Side and by 2016 he feels the Cubs can become legit contenders. He doesn’t rule out 2015 necessarily and he thinks the 2015 team is when the Cubs start becoming an “interesting” ball club, that’s usually a good thing. Spring training can’t get here soon enough.