The Cubs Spring Training Report – The Cubs Double Down In Vegas

Game Thirty-Two: Cubs 6 Padres 5 in 10 innings

Greetings and salutations from the Queen City….I am in Cincinnati for Opening Day. I was unable to watch the game, but the trusty XM was with the entire ride.

wflag.jpg This was it….Spring Training is OVER!!! Now it counts. On a windy day in Vegas, the wind was blowing around 33 MPH at game time, the Cubs were the home team for the second of the two games of the Big League Weekend. Greg Maddux took the mound and had 2 good innings of work. Maddux only walked one and had a 3 up, 3 down second inning and only threw 4 pitches. Maddux is ready.

Todd Walker hit his first of two doubles on the day in the bottom of the 1st and started a wild inning…. After Juan Pierre started the game with a ground out, Walker doubled and went to 3rd on a passed ball. Derrek Lee walked, Aramis Ramirez grounded to 3rd, Walker out at home. Jacque Jones was hit by pitcher Dewon Brazelton with a 1-2 count to load the bases. Michael Barrett then singled on what was ruled a hit, should have been an E6. The Padres announcers had a fit over that call. Matt Murton grounded to Brazleton….he could not make the play….E1. Ronny Cedeno was the most impressive part of the inning. Cedeno has not had a good spring and with the bases loaded a single or a double would look very good on the ole stat sheet. Cedeno showed patience and worked a 3-0 count. Cedeno eventually walked and the Cubs put up a 3 spot in the bottom of the first. Maddux did strike out to end the inning, but Cedeno flipped the line-up. If Cedeno continues to hit in the 8 spot, he will have to be patient the entire year.

The Padres announcer said it perfectly….’Got to Watch Juan’ and after he led off the 2nd with a single….that is exactly what Brazleton did. Juan made him throw over and then on the first offering to Piazza, Pierre stole second and scored on Todd Walker’s second double of the game. Lee and Ramirez were retired and Jacque Jones picked up Walker, with a 2 out double….5-0 Cubs….no long balls.

Glendon Rusch pitched a scoreless 3rd, but it was not without trouble. Rusch walked the first batter he faced, after being a head in the count 0-2. He struck out Brazleton attempting to bunt and the defense by Aramis Ramirez erased Rusch’s lead off walk. Ramirez snagged the line drive and then threw a strike to D-Lee….5-3 double play.

The pitching by Bobby Howry and Michael Wuertz was a little concerning. Howry gave up 2 runs on 4 hits in the 4th and Wuertz gave up 1 run on 2 hits in 2/3 of an inning of work. Scott Eyre finished the Spring Training schedule without giving up a run and only allowed 1 hit in an inning and a third. Frederico Baez gave up a run in the 7th.

The Cubs offense pounded out 11 hits and 4 were doubles….two by Todd Walker, one by Matt Murton and one by Jacque Jones.

The Cubs (A-Team) won the game on Saturday and that’s what counts. David Aardsma pitched a good 9th, but when you give a Major League team extra outs….you usually lose the ball game.

Michael Restovich doubled home Buck Coats to win the game in the bottom of the 10th.

The Cubs defense finished Spring Training with only 15 errors….a Major League low. (Should have been 14 but Buck Coats dropped a fly ball in the top of the 9th.)

The San Diego announcers stated (repeatedly) on Saturday how bad the Cubs are going to be this season without Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. I have had so many people (casual fans) over the past week, since the announcement was made about them both starting the season on the DL, already saying to me….well there is always next year. I expect that from casual fans, but where have the Padres’ announcers been, all of Spring Training….we (the fans) knew that was coming, why didn’t they know? Also, those guys have trouble with all of the Cubs fans everywhere. They mentioned it over and over again about how when the Cubs are on the road, because of the fans, they are really at home and they remarked about when the Cubs are at Petco..it is more like a home game for the Cubs….there are Cubs fans everywhere, they just kept repeating….yes we are and if the Padres fans were more passionate, Cubs fans would not fill those seats. The Cubs Faithful….Millions strong and growing.

The Cubs finished the Cactus League schedule with a 16-13-2 record.

The Spring Training Report is done for 2006, starting Monday….It Counts….Are you ready? The CCO goes live at 11:00am….let’s have fun with this.

Will update if any news becomes available….