The Cubs Spring Training Report – A Rusch to Judgment?

Game Sixteen: Cubs 3 White Sox 9
Updated – 8:39pm C.S.T.

Glendon Rusch was the story of Saturday and his performance did not ease the mind of the Cubs Faithful. In his first start since the Cubs announced he would get the start in the second game of the season in Cincinnati, Glendon Rusch threw batting practice to the White Sox. Rusch gave up 4 runs in the first inning, 2 on a home run by Joe Crede. Rusch left after 2 innings and all toll allowed 5 runs, all earned, on 8 hits and raised his ERA to 9.82.

There is no way to sugarcoat Rusch’s performance; he looked horrible. Rusch should have benefited from having Henry Blanco back behind the dish, but he did not. Rusch’s location was off, he was leaving pitches out over the plate and the White Sox took full advantage of them.

For example, the Sox had the bases loaded and Hairston made a good play on a ball hit up the middle. Hairston got to the ball, but unfortunately he could not make a play and a run scored….but on that single Blanco was asking for the ball inside and Rusch left it out over the middle plate. Rusch threw a lot of pitches in 2 short innings and was rarely ahead of the hitter. Either he and Blanco were not on the same page or Rusch is having a hard time with location, whatever the case Opening Day is in 16 days

Jae Kuk Ryu took the mound in the 3rd inning and set the Sox down in order….1-2-3. Ryu was hitting his spots and showed good command of his breaking pitches. Blanco’s glove hardly moved in the 3 innings Ryu threw. Ryu retired the first four batters he faced, but then the wheels came off a little. After a single, Ryu got the second out and should have struck out Jim Thome. He got ahead of Thome and made him look bad. On a slider on the outer part of the plate, the home plate umpire called it a ball. Ryu thought it was a strike, and walked toward the dugout. It was….Ryu then allowed back to back doubles and the Sox scored twice. Ryu seemed confident on the mound; he did not seemed to get rattled by Thome’s double. Ryu got ahead of the hitters and made few mistakes. Ryu finished the day allowing 2 runs on 3 hits in 3 innings of work.

Bobby Howry allowed his first run of the spring; it was unearned. Howry looked good, but not has sharp as his past few outings.

Aramis Ramirez continued his good spring. In the first inning with 2 outs, he smashed his 4th home run and finished the day 2 for 3. Juan Pierre went 2 for 3 with a single and a triple and Ronny Cedeno had a hard hit double and later scored on Pierre’s triple. Jerry Hairston started at second and while he seemed to be in every defensive play, he did get an RBI to score Pierre. The Cubs only managed 6 hits against White Sox pitching and at times Javier Vazquez made the Cubs’ hitters look very bad.

The Cubs defense committed 2 errors on Saturday, one by Hairston and the other by Ryan Theriot. There was a very good play in the 6th inning. There was a single to left by Alex Cintron, Sam Fuld hustled to get the ball, picked it up and threw a perfect strike to Ronny Cedeno, who turned a fired to Hairston to get Cintron out….it was not even close. The scouting report on Fuld talks about the accuracy of his arm, and that report is exactly right….it was a pretty play.

Luis Montanez got the start in left for the Cubs on Saturday. Angel Pagan was a last minute scratch and there has not been an announcement made yet about a possible injury. Along with Montanez, Chris Walker, Ryan Harvey and Sam Fuld all made their spring debuts on Saturday in Tucson.

Although it is Spring Training, Saturday was like pouring salt on an open wound.

**Editor’s Note: The White Sox announcers on TV and Radio are awful….how boring. The radio guys mispronounced Felix Pie and Angel Pagan’s last name…how unprofessional.**

Here is the box score from Cubs.com

Updates:

Sunday – The Texas Rangers at HoHoKam – 2:05pm C.S.T.
The Oakland A’s in Phoenix

Sunday is Split Squad Day

Carlos Zambrano vs. Adam Eaton (Rangers)
Jerome Williams vs. Barry Zito (A’s)

The Cubs will have their first split squad day on Sunday. Half of the team will be in Mesa, the other half in Phoenix…just a couple of miles down the road.

Game 1: Carlos Zambrano will take the hill in Sunday’s contest against the Rangers. This will be Zambrano’s second start of the spring; he first start was the opener against the A’s. Will Derrek Lee and Michael Barrett return to the lineup on Sunday?

XM Radio – Channel 186 will have the game live and it should be Pat Hughes and Ron Santo

Game 2: Jerome Williams needs to take the next step in the process of securing a spot in the rotation. Maddux is the only starter that has been consistent in his starts.

News from Mesa

Angel Pagan felt some tightness in his quads. According to Dusty Baker in a report on Cubs.com, “He has a shot to make the club. I want to give him the best opportunity.”

Roberto Novoa is still recovering from pneumonia and there has not been a timetable given for his return.

The Cubs will reevaluate Mark Prior next weekend to see what the next course of action is.

Well that’s the news….and I’m sticking to it!!

Quote of the Day

"Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value." - Albert Einstein
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