Z Final Tune-up

Spring Training Game Twenty-Four – Cubs 6 Giants 2
WP – Carlos Zambrano (2-1) LP – Noah Lowry (2-1)

wflag.jpg Carlos Zambrano made his final start of the Cactus League schedule on Friday as the Cubs announced Mark Prior will start next Wednesday against the Rockies and Zambrano will throw in minor league camp instead of against the Rockies. Zambrano pitched the way the Faithful have become to expect, he was very sharp in his longest outing of the spring….6 innings, 1 run on 4 hits, 5 strikeouts and 1 walk.

Ronny Cedeno, after earlier in the week appearing to make the team, hit a 3-run homer in the 2nd, a part of a 4-run inning that saw the Cubs send nine to the plate. Derrek Lee continued swinging his hot bat and Aramis Ramirez hit his 4th home run of the spring….the countdown clock has begun its rapid decent.

The lone run of the day off of Carlos Zambrano came in the 2nd inning. With 2 outs, Kevin Frandsen hit a fly ball to right that Jacque Jones attempted to catch. Jones dove for the ball, missed it and it rolled to the wall. Jason Ellison stepped in the box and Zambrano uncorked a wild pitch that Barrett could not block and Frandsen scored.

All of Zambrano’s strikeouts came in the first 4 innings and other than the play by Jones, the defense was solid. Derrek Lee continued his excellent defense on Friday as he continues to make difficult plays look very routine. Zambrano’s only walk came with 2 outs in the 5th to the Giant pitcher….Noah Lowry. Randy Winn followed the walk with a double off the center field wall. But Zambrano settled down and was able to retire Omar Vizquel on a pop up to Cedeno. Zambrano threw his second 1-2-3 inning of the day in the 6th to complete his afternoon.

Kerry Wood pitched the 7th and gave up just a single hit on 9 pitches….8 of them were for strikes. According to a report on Cubs.com:

“Wood is scheduled for three more outing to tune up for the start of the regular season. The plan is for Wood to throw Monday, Wednesday and next Friday if he has no setbacks.”

Wood gave up just a double to Jason Ellison on Friday.

Bobby Howry threw the 8th and gave up a run on 2 hits and all of the trouble came after recording the first two outs of the inning. Pedro Feliz singled to left over the head of Ronny Cedeno and scored on the double to right by Bengie Molina that one hopped the wall. Howry was able to end the inning on a ground out to 1st.

Ryan Dempster pitched the 9th and retired the Giants in order; he struck out Mark Sweeney, swinging, to end the ball game. The Giants did not hit the ball out of the infield against Dempster.

Ronny Cedeno reached base twice on Friday….one time via the free pass, the other via the long ball. Cedeno drove in 3 of the 6 Cubs runs on the day and scored 2. After Michael Barrett walked with 1-out in the 2nd, Piniella put on the hit and run with Jacque Jones, who singled to left center and went to 2nd on the throw to 3rd. Mark DeRosa singled to left to score Barrett and both Jones and DeRosa scored on Cedeno’s home run.

The Cubs added a run in the 4th after a lead off walk by Cedeno, Zambrano flew out to center and Soriano was hit by a pitch. Murton popped out to 1st and Derrek Lee doubled to left to score Cedeno. Soriano was stranded at 3rd when Ramirez popped out to end the inning.

In the 7th, Aramis Ramirez hit his fourth home run of the spring over the left field wall with 2 outs. Michael Barrett was 2-2 on the day with a run scored and 2 walks. All of the starters recorded at least one hit on the day.

There are interesting decisions Lou Piniella and his staff still have to make. Will it be Angel Guzman, Kerry Wood or Rocky Cherry? Will it be Ronny Cedeno (the Cubs have not officially announced he as made the roster) or Angel Pagan? Or will the trigger be pulled on a rumored trade?

Box Score from MLB.com

The Cubs travel to Scottsdale to face Barry Zito on Saturday. Wade Miller is scheduled to make the start for the Cubs.

Quote of the Day

"From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life." – Arthur Ashe