Let Another One Slip Away

Spring Training Game Eight – Cubs 1 A’s 2
WP – Santiago Casilla (1-0) LP – Jose Ceda (0-1, BS 1) Save – Jerry Blevins (1)

For the second day in a row Lou Piniella’s young bullpen blew a lead in the 8th inning and the Cubs’ defense committed an error. Jose Ceda struggled with his command and gave up 2 runs on 2 hits with 2 walks in 1/3 of an inning. With the exception of Ceda, Piniella’s staff had a good day. Jason Marquis gave up 4 hits in his 3 innings of work but did not allow a run, despite loading the bases in the 3rd inning. Kerry Wood and Bobby Howry each threw a scoreless inning of relief and Juan Mateo added another scoreless outing to his spring resume. Jose Ascanio relieved Ceda in the 9th, walked a batter to load the bases but stranded two inherited runners. Cubs pitching walked 6 more batters on Thursday.

The Cubs’ offense faced an Oakland A’s staff that featured mostly southpaws, and managed just 1 run on 5 hits. Kosuke Fukudome walked in the 4th and scored from 1st on a double to left by Daryle Ward. Former Cub farmhand, Jerry Blevins picked up the save.

Lou Piniella ran out a starting nine that featured three lefties against southpaw Gio Gonzalez, including Daryle Ward who made his first start of the spring as Piniella’s designated hitter. Ward was responsible for the Cubs lone RBI. Matt Murton added a double in the 7th, Alex Cintron added another hit in 2 at bats (his other was a walk) and the other 2 hits belonged to Geovany Soto. Unfortunately for Soto, he was picked off of 2nd base in the 3rd that helped end what was a very promising start to the inning.

The Cubs infield turned two double plays on Thursday. One started by Derrek Lee with the bases loaded in the 3rd inning and one by Ryan Theriot in the 4th that helped Bobby Howry face the minimum.

Jason Marquis made his first start since the apparent misunderstanding last Saturday with Lou Piniella. Marquis gave up a couple of hits in the 1st inning but struck out Bobby Crosby on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning. He threw a perfect 2nd inning, with 2 ground outs and Lee’s inning ending double play helped Marquis escape the 3rd without allowing a run….he gave up back-to-back singles with 1 out and walked Mike Sweeney to load the bases.

Bobby Howry threw the ball a lot better in his third warm-up game of the spring. Bobby Crosby led off the 4th with a single to center but Ryan Theriot robbed Ryan Sweeney of a single up the middle and erased Howry’s only mistake with a 6-4-3 double play.

Kerry Wood gave up a hit to Travis Buck in the 5th but struck out Donnie Murphy and recorded his other 2 outs on an infield pop up and a fly out to right.

Shingo Takatsu had without a doubt his best outing of the spring. Takatsu walked a batter but retired the other 3 batters he faced with little difficulty. Juan Mateo pitched another shutout inning but walked a batter….and then Jose Ceda took the mound.

Ceda has a very bright future, but as everyday passes it is becoming more and more evident he will be starting the season in Double-A. Jose Ceda gave up a leadoff single and a 4-pitch walk to start the 8th. After 2 more balls and a visit from Larry Rothschild, he recovered and struck out Casey Rogowski but Jeff Baisley hit a single to right that plated 2 runs. A throwing error by Micah Hoffpauir allowed the run to score easily and Baisley to advance to 2nd. After a walk to Ryan Sweeney, Lou Piniella made the slow walk and removed Ceda.

Jose Ascanio retired Aaron Cunningham on a fly out to center, both runners advanced and Ascanio walked Justin Knoedler to load the bases….Donnie Murphy flied out to center on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.

Jerry Blevins (dealt from the Cubs along with Rob Bowen for Jason Kendall and cash last year) picked up his first save of the spring with a perfect 9th inning.

The Cubs’ Cactus League record stands at 2-6.

Box Score from Thursday’s Game

The Cubs return to HoHoKam on Friday to take on the Seattle Mariners. Ted Lilly is scheduled to face Carlos Silva. Aramis Ramirez is expected to make his first appearance of the spring.

Other News from Arizona

Alfonso Soriano played catch on Wednesday and hit in the batting cages on Thursday. According to a report on Cubs.com, if Soriano continues to improve he could be back on the field by early next week….but, you never know, it could be earlier.

The Cubs’ front office was scheduled to meet after Thursday’s game “to discuss roster cutsaccording to a report on Cubs.com.

Lou Piniella’s pre-game comments to Kosuke Fukudome about Gio Gonzalez had an effect on the rookie right fielder.

For the second game in a row, Carlos Marmol was left warming up in the bullpen.

According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, on Wednesday Piniella was “perturbed by several unconverted double plays and that pitchers vying for roster spots are imploding during games.

Mark DeRosa is ready to get back on the field according to a report on Cubs.com.

And finally….Brian Roberts showed up to Cubs camp in full uniform, according to the Bleacher Report.

Quote of the Day

"Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
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