Game Twenty-Seven: Cubs 4 White Sox 4
Updated 10:19pm C.S.T.
It was a nice 75 degrees in Mesa and manufacturing runs was on the horizon. Greg Maddux was on the mound against the fast working Mark Buherle. Many sox fans were in the park and unfortunately with all their World Series gear on….I don’t blame them….I would be wallpapered too. Jim Hendry, Ozzie Guillen and Peter Gammons were talking shop during batting practice and Jerry Hariston was running at the speed of light in the outfield. (More on that later) Scott Podsednik and Juan Pierre were having a chat in centerfield….and this was all before the game. But during the game something weird was taking place….
Can the Cubs be the White Sox of last year? Is it possible that Kenny Williams’s changes have made them the Big ball team of old? And the changes that Jim Hendry has made, makes the Cubs more of a small ball team or coined this year a combo ball squad? If so the Cubs are in good shape….and the White Sox better hope the pitching staff resumes the magic carpet ride it was on last year, or they are in some trouble. The line reads, the Cubs half as many hits as the White Sox….tie game. The game ended in a tie, after nine 4-4, the public address announcer at Hohokam said, “The game today will end in a tie because the White Sox ran out of pitchers.” No kidding, they ran out of pitchers.
Greg Maddux worked a good game; Maddux was hit early and then settled down….typical Maddux. He gave up three runs on nine hits over six innings. There were many points during the game he was upset with the calls behind the plate. Blanco would throw the ball back to Maddux, and he visibly would catch it in disgust. This happened time after time throughout the game….”come on blue came from my seat”. Howry looked good in the 7th, he gave up one run, walked none and struck out two. The lone run came on a moon shot from Jim Thome. Thome had a great day, going 4-5 with two home runs and I heard a fan say, he’s the next Cub killer….I hope not, but he is a monster. But the Sox had two home runs and the score was still 4-4. Hmmmm. Sound familar? Eyre looked sharp gave up one hit and walked one. He is going to be a huge piece of the puzzle this year, maybe bigger than Howry. Eventhough the Cubs pitching staff gave up 13 hits, they looked to be ready to start the year.
At the plate the Cubs were shaky once again; they only had 7 hits but managed 4 runs. I am sorry I meant to say manufactured 4 runs. Blanco went 2-4 and Neifi went 3-4 with a home run off the foul pole. Aramis also looks very confident at the plate; he hit a ball to the wall in the 9th, which was a double and drove home a run. One of the bright spots of the spring in my opinion has been Angel Pagan; he came in the game as a pinch hitter and doubled off of Neil Cotts in the bottom of the ninth. Pagan is hitting .367 and is a presence on the bases. He would be a much better addition to the club than Grissom. Grissom is a liability at the plate and in the field. If Dusty wants his veteran leadership in the clubhouse, make him a coach.
Defensively the Cubs looked sharp, real sharp. I can now understand the pressure Barrett is getting about his defense, Blanco is a wall. We were sitting behind home and he stops everything….I mean everything. He also threw out Podsednik….between me and you that was a gift….Pods was safe. For all you Todd Walker fans, scroll down and keep reading. Jerry Hairston is all over the field. A ball was going out of play about 30ft past the first base bag, Hairston wasn’t sure if it was going to stay in the park, he took off from second and was at the wall before Restovich and Grissom thought about moving. I think that is the kind of play that will make him our starting 2nd baseman. He is a little weak going to his left, but he gives his all on every play.
But in the end the Cubs came out with a tie, and looked good in many aspects of the game. With the exception of the quiet bats during my trip to Mesa, it has been incredible. I will do a recap, later in the week. Today the Cubs had a record crowd at HoHoKam…12,894 and I am glad I was one of them.
For the last time.
Live for Mesa….Until next time, but always GO CUBBIES!!!
Update – Previews for Tuesday, plus Box Scores and photos
Tuesday – The Seattle Mariners in Peoria, 2:05pm C.S.T., XM Channel 182
Glendon Rusch vs. Felix Hernandez