A Rocky Day

Spring Training Game Twenty-One – Cubs 2 Rockies 4
WP – Brian Lawrence (1-0) LP – Ted Lilly (1-1) Save – Ubaldo Jimenez (1)

For the second day in a row Alfonso Soriano led off the game with a home run. Tuesday’s was a blast over the right center field wall. All of the Cubs runs came in the first inning with the second run on the day coming after a RBI single to left by Daryle Ward that scored Angel Pagan who had doubled earlier in the inning.

Buck Coats made the highlight real again on Tuesday as he robbed Todd Helton of an extra base hit in 1st inning. Ted Lilly had a rough outing; he gave up 4 runs on 9 hits while walking 2 in 5 innings of work. He pitched out of a bases loaded jam in the 2nd and at one point retired 6 in a row. But a 4-run 4th inning, that included a wild pitch and 2 walks, gave the Rockies all they needed against a Cubs team without Derrek Lee, Matt Murton and Cliff Floyd in the lineup.

Ted Lilly threw the ball well early on despite loading the bases in the 2nd inning. He sat the Rockies down in order in the 3rd and recorded all 3 outs via the ground and on the day he recorded 6 total. Lead off walks always spell trouble and that was what allowed the Rockies to get on the board. Matt Holliday walked and moved up 90′ on a wild pitch. He scored on a double by Troy Tulowitzki. Yovit Torrealba singled to score Tulowitzki (say that 3 times fast). Lilly then walked the pitcher, Brian Lawrence….he went to a 3-2 count and missed high. Former Astro, Willy Taveras singled to right and a strong throw from Angel Pagan kept a run from scoring. Jamey Carroll hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Torrealba. Garrett Atkins then hit a smash up the middle, Lilly could not handle it, it went off his glove and Atkins beat out the throw to 1st….Lawrence scored to complete the scoring on the day. Matt Holliday led off the 5th against Lilly with a double but was stranded at 3rd.

Ryan Dempster pitched the 6th inning; he allowed a hit and walked a batter but did not allow a run. Dempster threw a lot of pitches and threw from behind in the count to 3 of the 4 batters he faced. Steve Finley singled with 1-out against Dempster and after a 9-pitch at bat by Omar Quintanilla, Dempster lost the battle and gave up the free pass. He did throw strikes to John Mabry and was able to get his former teammate to ground into a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning. It was good to see Dempster on the mound….

Will Ohman pitched a scoreless 7th and gave up a walk and a hit. Angel Guzman pitched the 8th and did a fine job and at one point hit 97 MPH on the gun. Guzman looked more comfortable on the mound and retired the side in order and even recorded a strikeout. Guzman performed better last season in relief and Lou Piniella might be on the right track with Guzman being their long-man out of the pen. Guzman has a lot of talent but he needs to work on his confidence.

The Cubs offense was pretty much a no show on Tuesday. They grounded into three double plays on the day and only recorded 2 hits in the last 4 innings of the ballgame against one of the Rockies top pitching prospects….Ubaldo Jimenez. They had opportunities but three double plays have a tendency to kill a day at the park.

Box Score from MLB.com

The Cubs face Sammy Sosa and the Texas Rangers on Wednesday at HoHoKam. This will be the first time since Sosa left the Cubs after the 2004 season he has been in right field in Mesa. Jason Marquis is scheduled to make the start against Jamey Wright.

Quote of the Day

"Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points." – Knute Rockne