2006 Spring Training – There Will Be Days Like This

Game Three: Cubs 2 – Giants 7

The Cubs looked sluggish and a little tired against the Giants on Saturday at Scottsdale Stadium. The area is experiencing above average temperatures for this time of the year and with the guys just beginning Spring Training one could wonder what affect the dessert heat might be having. With that said, the Cubs reverted back to a lot of swinging at the first pitch. What had become a pleasant surprise over the first two games disappeared on Saturday in Scottsdale.

Aramis Ramirez did not play and the offense never seemed to get started, although Juan Pierre led off the game with a bunt single….

The Cubs line-up looked like this on Saturday and here is the box score from Cubs.com:

Pierre – CF
Walker – 2B
Jones – RF
Brian Dopirak – 1B
Scott Moore – 3B
Matt Murton – LF
Ronny Cedeno – SS
Adam Greenberg – DH
Jose Reyes – C

Jerome Williams started the game and looked good. He got three ground ball outs in 2 innings of work. Dopirak missed the double down the right field line and if Derrek Lee had been there…. Could the play have been made? There was another ground ball that got past a diving Todd Walker and it seemed that Walker and Williams were not on the same page. Several times Williams turned to make a play at second and Walker was not there covering the bag. This is another example of the small things the Cubs must work on this spring. The one run that Williams allowed could have been prevented. Jacque Jones took a bad route on a ball that allowed Finley to score. When Jerome Williams is pitching he must have good defense behind him in order to be successful.

The offense for the Cubs never got on track. Too many times they swung at the first pitch and usually popped it up for an easy out. The Cubs have been taking the first pitch, even for strikes, in the first two games and making the opposing pitcher work and not get into a groove. Patience my dear boys….patience. Brian Dopirak did hit a nice home run for the Cubs on Saturday. Both Dopirak and Sing are showing off their power very early this spring.

Ryan Dempster came in the game in the third inning and his outing was less than stellar. Dempster only pitched one inning, but threw a lot pitches (I lost count). He got behind hitters, gave up a walk, he threw a wild pitch, a wild throw to first on a pick off attempt and even hit a guy. Dempster did have two strikeouts, but like the rest of the team….he had trouble getting it together on Saturday.

Scott Williamson made his Cactus League debut on Saturday with much of the same success as Dempster. Ronny Cedeno did commit an error that led to a run, but Williamson was less than effective. Walker made a good stop on a ball hit up the middle and started a double play that got Williamson out of the jam.

The bullpen has looked better so far this spring and hopefully they will get back on track soon.

Dusty played more of the younger guys on Saturday. Here is some of the guys that participated in the game in Scottsdale: John Koronka, Jerry Hairston, Jr. (in center), Felix Pie (in right), Brandon Sing, Casey McGehee, Randy Wells, Will Ohman, Geovany Soto, Augie Ojeda, Ryan Theriot and Angel Pagan.

Attendance: 11,942 – Sold Out and a Record Crowd

Back to HoHoKam on Sunday and the San Francisco Giants

Rich Hill vs. Kevin Correia, 1:05pm local start….2:05pm C.S.T. – WGN TV and Radio will carry the game

Only half of the Giants will participate in Sunday’s game at HoHoKam, the other half will be with Team USA. Matt Morris will go up against Roger Clemens. The Derrek Lee and Michael Barrett WBC watch begins….

Enjoy the Photo Gallery from Saturday and until tomorrow….

Quote of the Day

"Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you." - Arnold Palmer
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