Spring Training Game Nineteen – Cubs 4 Angels (ss) 1
WP – Carlos Zambrano (1-0) LP – Nick Green (0-1) Save – Kerry Wood (1)

wflag.jpgCarlos Zambrano pitched the way a team’s ace is supposed to against a split squad team in Spring Training on Sunday. He dominated the game. Zambrano was scheduled to throw 5 innings but he found a rhythm early and ended up going 6 strong innings. Zambrano faced the minimum through the first 5 innings. The two walks he allowed were erased on double plays, struck out 4 and did not allow a ball out if the infield. The only hit he surrendered came with 1-out in the 6th inning, a triple off the wall in right center by Sean Rodriguez. Big Z then struck out the last two batters he faced….one swinging and one looking.

The Angels only run came off the bat of Erick Aybar on the first pitch from Carlos Marmol in the 7th inning. The solo home run was the first earned run allowed by Marmol this spring. Michael Wuertz pitched a perfect 8th with 2 strikeouts and Kerry Wood picked up his first save on just 7 pitches in the 9th.

Mike Fontenot hit his second home run of the spring in the 2nd inning and Alfonso Soriano added a solo home run in the 8th, his second of the Cactus League schedule. A botched double play in the 3rd led to the Cubs other 2 runs. The game lasted just 1 hour and 53 minutes.

Carlos Zambrano’s outing will probably be looked over due to the fact the Angels were playing their B-Team but the fact he worked quickly and threw strikes is a very good sign as the season approaches. Zambrano should make only 2 more starts in the desert before Opening Day at Wrigley against Ben Sheets and the Brewers….two weeks from Monday.

The only mistake Zambrano made on Sunday was his inability to get down a sacrifice bunt in the 3rd inning….

Carlos Marmol, Michael Wuertz and Kerry Wood also pitched the way proven big leaguers are supposed to against prospects and players just trying to make a name for themselves. The bullpen did not walk a batter over the last 3 innings and struck out 5 while allowing only 2 hits, both by Marmol.

On the day Cubs pitching allowed 1 run on 3 hits with 2 walks and 11 strikeouts.

The Cubs offense sputtered once again. Alfonso Soriano was 3-for-4 with a home run. Derrek Lee was 1-for-4 with a double and a RBI….however the RBI was on what should have been an inning ending double play ball. Aramis Ramirez was 1-for-4 with the Cubs’ other RBI. The offense managed 8 hits but could not string any together.

Micah Hoffpauir started the game in right field and was 0-for-4 at the plate.

After Monday’s day off and the split squad day on Wednesday, the regulars should get a majority of the playing time in preparation for the regular season.

Lou Piniella’s crew improved to 7-12 in Cactus League action….with Opening Day two weeks from Monday.

Box Score from Sunday’s game

The Cubs get their first day off in 32 days on Monday and the only one on the schedule until March 30th. The Cubs host the Royals on Tuesday. Jason Marquis is expected to make the start.

News from Arizona

Ted Lilly will pitch in a minor league game on Monday to keep on schedule.

Alex Cintron was back on the field on Sunday taking infield practice according to a report on Cubs.com. Cintron was hit in the face by a foul ball on Friday.

Ronny Cedeno missed Sunday’s game because of a sore right hamstring but he is expected back on Tuesday.

Quote of the Day

"When you play, play hard; when you work, don’t play at all." – Theodore Roosevelt