Off to Cincinnati

Spring Training Game Thirty-Two – Cubs 1 Mariners 2
WP – Jeff Weaver (1-2) LP – Will Ohman (0-2)

The Cubs finished the exhibition season with a 17-13-2 record after losing to the Mariners on Saturday in Las Vegas. Jason Marquis pitched 4 strong innings and Derrek Lee drove in Alfonso Soriano in the 1st inning for the only Cubs run on the day. Marquis kept the ball down and recorded 8 ground outs to just 1 fly ball out….of the 55 pitches he threw 36 were for strikes.

Will Ohman gave up back-to-back doubles and threw a wild pitch that led to the Mariners winning run. Ryan Theriot gave the Faithful a little scare when his foul ball in the 1st hit Derrek Lee who was in the on deck circle….Ronny Cedeno had another fine day in the field. But for every positive play and at bat the Cubs had while they were in the desert will be for not if all is forgotten when the games start counting on Monday.

The Cubs were able to escape “Big League Weekend” with a split, they gave the Faithful a reason to go to Vegas and most importantly they finished the spring, for the most part, healthy. For regular readers of this site, this is the point where details about the game are given….well not today. The spring is over and starting Monday….the games count and it is time for Lou Piniella and his staff to put all of their hard work over the past six weeks to the test.

Now whether the Cubs are able to have a winning season or much less make it into the post season is anyone’s guess at this point. Most of the experts are picking against them, and why not, how long as it been? The real test is for Piniella to be able to motivate a bunch of individuals and meld them into a team, build chemistry and in the process rack up a bunch of “W”s.

Piniella has used all of the right words, drummed up all the right phrases and played an aggressive brand of baseball in the exhibition season. He used the hit and run with a pitcher and catcher, for an example, which made this writer nearly fall out of the chair. He has made promises and now it is time for him and his staff to deliver, not necessarily to win the World Series this season (although that would be fine too), but to build a winner and not another one hit wonder.

The Cubs play in a division that most think is the weakest in baseball and they could be right….but for an organization that has not won anything for generations upon generations, does it really matter if they get there, how they were able to do so? The marathon starts on Monday and hopefully it will have a finish worthy of a photo….and a ring.

Box Score from MLB.com

The Cubs start the regular season on Monday afternoon in the Queen City. Carlos Zambrano will make his third consecutive Opening Day start against Aaron Harang and the Cincinnati Reds….the CCO will be there and throughout the regular season. It is time to “Play Like There’s No Tomorrow.”

Quote of the Day

"A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him." - David Brinkley
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