The Dog Days of March

Spring Training Game Twenty-Seven – Cubs 8 Angels 7
WP – Rocky Cherry (1-1) (BS 1) LP – Marcus Gwyn (0-1) Save – Scott Eyre (1)

wflag.jpg Major League baseball has hit the point of spring training where everyone from the front office to the players to the fans have said, “Enough already, let’s get the season started.” With the recent announcement the Kerry Wood will be starting the season on the DL and the four roster cuts the Cubs made on Monday, the 25-man opening day roster is all but official and their only goal must be to arrive in Cincinnati healthy for the start of the season.

The Cubs planned on being without Mark Prior and Kerry Wood so for them not to be healthy on opening day should come as no surprise. Thankfully the Cubs front office woke up from their extended spring training and had back-up plans in place with the realization that neither could end up contributing on the field in the foreseeable future. Now whether Prior or Wood bounce back is irrelevant at this point….the season is just around the corner and Lou Piniella and his staff will have to work with the hand they have been dealt, without a Wood or a Prior in the deck.

Jason Marquis ended the Cubs’ starting pitcher scoreless inning streak in the 1st inning of the game. Vladimir Guerrero hit a solo shot over the left field wall on a 3-2 pitch. Marquis gave up a double to Garrett Anderson in the 1st as well but was able to induce an inning ending ground out off the bat of Shea Hillenbrand.

Marquis actually retired the next four Angels via ground outs before a pop out to Aramis Ramirez by Maicer Izturis to lead off the 3rd. Gary Matthews, Jr. followed with the first of two walks issued on the day by Marquis but Orlando Cabrera grounded into an inning ending double play.

Marquis gave up his 2nd home run of the day in the 4th to Garrett Anderson after Guerrero singled to lead off the inning. In the 5th, Izturis led off with a double to right center (Soriano lost in the sun and Jones did not see it) and scored on a single by Matthews Jr. Marquis struck out Cabrera but walked Guerrero to end his afternoon.

Marquis gave up 4 runs on 7 hits, walked 2 and struck out 2 in 4 1/3 innings. He did record 8 ground ball outs but when the Angles hit the ball, they hit it hard. Of the 7 hits Marquis allowed 4 of them were for extra bases….2 doubles and 2 home runs.

Neal Cotts took over for Marquis in the 5th and with Anderson at the plate, the Angels attempted a double steal that was fumbled by Henry Blanco. But with Matthews Jr. at 3rd and Guerrero at 2nd, Anderson lined out to Ronny Cedeno who flipped the ball to Theriot to end the inning.

In the 6th, Cotts was a victim of a bad decision and an error by Ryan Theriot. After a double by Hillenbrand and a fly out by Casey Kotchman that advanced Hillenbrand to 3rd, Howie Kendrick hit a grounder to Theriot and instead of getting the easy out at 1st, he went home with the ball and Hillenbrand beat out the throw. Rocky Cherry replaced Cotts and Robb Quinlan reached on an error by Theriot. With runners on 2nd and 3rd, Matthews Jr. singled to right to tie the game. Cherry struck out Cabrera to end the inning. Bobby Howry pitched a perfect 8th and Scott Eyre did the same in the 9th for the save.

Derrek Lee continued his hot spring; he was 3-5 on the day with 2 doubles, 2 RBI’s and 2 runs scored. Aramis Ramirez had a very similar day. He was 3-5 with a double, 2 RBI’s and a run scored. Cliff Floyd drove in the game winner in the 8th after the second double on the day by Lee, Ramirez singled and Matt Murton walked. Floyd singled to right to plate Lee.

The Cubs offense should be entertaining, to say the least this season. Monday was the last away game for the Cubs this spring. They have three more at HoHoKam (Royals, Rockies and Diamondbacks) before heading to Sin City to finish the exhibition season against the Seattle Mariners.

Box Score from MLB.com

Rich Hill is scheduled to take the mound on Tuesday against Jorge De La Rosa and the Kansas City Royals.

Quote of the Day

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." - Albert Einstein
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