A Walk-off Slugfest

Spring Training Game Twenty-Eight – Cubs 13 Royals 10 – 10 innings
WP – Federico Baez (1-0) LP – Thad Markray (0-1)

wflag.jpg Spring training is a time to get the wrinkles ironed out, make sure all of the tweaks of winter are taken care of by the first of April. But the performances of Rich Hill and Michael Wuertz made me a little uneasy with the season beginning in six short days. Hill gave up 6 runs, 4 earned, on 8 hits, struck out 4 and only lasted 4 2/3 innings. I know that is pretty common but the last couple games our starters have been reaching 5 or 6 innings at the very least. The desert sun was beating down on us all day, and we were all hoping for a quick one today. Unfortunately that was not the case, the game was long and the pitching was less than spectacular. And Prior if you are reading this, I apologize for privately getting upset after you refused to autograph a kid’s baseball today. I had no idea you would be starting the season in Iowa. Let me know if all the cool kids still sit in the back of the bus. On to the game….

The Royals got off to a fast start against Hill and scored a run in the first. Hill was hit hard throughout the entire game. De La Rosa was pitching for the Royals and he looked like an ace in the bottom of the first. Ryan Theriot led off the game (he started in right field) and patiently walked, Murton and D-Lee both struck out on changeups. The Riot stole second and scored on a double that reached the wall by Aramis Ramirez. Barrett walked and Floyd struck out to the end the inning. Floyd would strike out three times on the day. I do not know that much about Floyd but from what I have seen from him the past couple of days he lacks passion. I do not know how Chicago fans will react to the way he plays the game, but from past experiences it will not be pretty. At the end of one the Cubs tied it up 1-1.

The Royals were not able to get any offense in the second, and the top of the inning ended on a brilliant double play by Mark DeRosa. I was not a big fan of the DeRosa signing, but after watching him play I really like his glove. I still think Theriot should be starting and DeRosa should play the role of super utility man, but what do I know. In the bottom of the second the Cubs got to De La Rosa as they almost batted around.

DeRosa started off the inning with a groundout to third, Pagan followed with a rocket shot off the left center wall that he turned into a triple with his hustle. Izturis walked and the Cubs continued to show a lot of patience at the plate. With runners on first and second, De Le Rosa threw a wild pitch, Pagan scored and Izturis moved to second. Theriot was victimized by a nice diving catch in right that would have easily gone for extra bases. With two outs and Izturis on second, Murton doubled off the wall in center and Izturis scored. I am sure Piniella was smiling….before the game Sweet Lou was giving Murton hitting instruction for a solid 35 minutes. With Murton on second, D-Lee continued crushing the ball and hit a double off the center field wall, Murton scored. The new attitude “Mr. Hustle” Aramis Ramirez extended the inning with a two run shot to left center that made the game 6-1. Barrett grounded out to third to end the inning….nothing like scoring 5 runs with two outs. At the end of two the Cubs were leading the Royals 6-1.

In the top of the third the Cubs defensively had a great inning; Hill walked the first batter and struck out the second batter. He recorded two outs due to the wonderful “strike em’ out throw em’ out”. With two out and no one on base, Theriot made a nice diving catch in right to end the inning. But the Cubs followed suit in the third and put up a goose egg.

The Cubs did the same in the fourth and fifth but it was a little different story for the Royals. Hill was hit hard in the fourth and gave up a two run shot with two outs. The fifth was much worse as Hill left the game when Barrett called to the dugout after a visit, stay tuned. Michael Wuertz entered the contest and Mike Sweeney hit a three run shot, on the next pitch the Royals’ Alex Gordon hit a solo home run. Gordon is a top rated prospect; he will break camp with the big league club this year and should have a very good major league career for many years.

The Cubs answered in the sixth with three runs, Theriot and Murton both doubled in the inning….for Murton, his second of the day. (Lou is still smiling) In the seventh, Will Ohman had a 1-2-3 inning. In the bottom of the seventh, #90 (Ryan Norwood), no one knew who he was at the time, walked. But Barrett, Floyd and DeRosa all struck out to end the inning. I think Floyd is still walking back to the dugout and should make it there by game time tomorrow. The man moves like a turtle. Eyre entered in the eighth, walked one and struck out one, but had a pretty good inning. The Cubs added one more to make the score 10-8 entering the ninth and here comes our closer….Ryan Dempster.

In an inning of work Dempster allowed three hits and two earned runs. He did strike out two, but the score was tied 10-10 when he left the game. Ronny Cedeno hit a walk off HR in the bottom of the tenth, a 3-run shot that hit the scoreboard in left (for those of you that have been to HoHoKam that is a SHOT) and the Cubs won 13-10. In order to make myself feel better I am going to say the Cubs are sick of being in AZ and want to get the season started. The offense looked great, but so did KC’s and that should not be the case. But the Cubs win and they have two more in AZ before big league weekend in Las Vegas.

Box Score from MLB.com

Tomorrow the Cubs face Aaron Cooke and the Rockies of Colorado. Mark Prior is scheduled to make his third start of the Cactus league while Carlos Zambrano tunes up in minor league camp. The CCO will be at HoHoKam and provide an update after the game.

PS….Rich Hill did not walk a batter all spring.

PSS….Cliff Floyd has yet to reach the dugout.

Until Next Time….GO CUBBIES!!

Quote of the Day

"There are places I remember. All my life though some have changed. Some forever not for better. Some have gone and some remain. All these places have their moments ... " John Lennon/Paul McCartney