Game Nineteen – Cubs 4 Angels 6
WP – Matt Palmer (1-0, BS 2) LP – Angel Guzman (0-1, BS 2) Save – Barret Browning (1)
The Cubs lost for the second day in a row to a version of Mike Scioscia’s Angels. Aaron Heilman started the game and pitched rather well in his two innings of work. Heilman gave up a run, a RBI single by Joe Saunders, on five hits with a walk and a strikeout in two innings. Heilman threw behind in the count early in his outing and was not as sharp as he’s been this spring.
Carlos Marmol made his first appearance since returning from the WBC and was very wild at the beginning of the third. Marmol did not allow any runs but threw 24 pitches, 13 for strikes, in an inning of work and hit two batters. Maicer Izturis tripled off Marmol to start the inning but was stranded at third after Marmol struck out Terry Evans and Peter Bourjos looking with the bases loaded to end the inning.
Kevin Gregg tossed another scoreless inning in the fourth and both David Patton and Randy Wells were very impressive. Wells struck out all three batters he faced looking on just 15 pitches.
Angel Guzman’s days as a member of the Cubs’ organization might be coming to an end. Guzman struggled with his command, missed a majority of his spots and surrendered four runs on three hits with two walks and a strikeout during an extremely long seventh inning. Guzman threw 30 pitches, 17 for strikes.
The Cubs scored all four of their runs in the sixth. Once again a Cubs’ rally began with a walk, on Saturday it was the patience of Bobby Scales that started the inning. Alfonso Soriano put together a nice at bat that ended with a double and Derrek Lee drove in the go-ahead-run at the time with a single to right center. The Cubs plated four runs off Matt Palmer with the other two RBI coming off the bats of Milton Bradley and Micah Hoffpauir.
The Cubs lost for the tenth time on the spring. Win-loss records are irrelevant in the Cactus League, but performances by one-time top pitching prospects without minor league options are not. After a rough start to the game (six of Heilman’s first eight pitches went for balls), Aaron Heilman settled down. He worked around a leadoff double by Chone Figgins, thanks to Paul Bako picking him off of second base. Heilman did not allow any runs in the first and threw 16 pitches, 10 for strikes.
The Angels scored in the second after a two-out triple by Peter Bourjos and a bloop single to left by Joe Saunders. Heilman retired the first two batters he faced rather quickly before the triple.
Chone Figgins reached on his second double of the game on a ball misplayed by Alfonso Soriano in left. Saunders held at third and Reggie Willits fouled out to Soriano in left to end the inning…it was a nice running catch.
Carlos Marmol took the mound in the third and was very wild. Maicer Izturis greeted him with a triple to right center. Marmol jammed Jeff Mathis on a very good pitch that broke his bat on a soft liner to short. Marmol then hit Sean Rodriguez and Matt Brown to load the bases.
Larry Rothschild made a visit to the mound and calmed Marmol down. With the bases loaded and one-out, Marmol struck out Terry Evans looking for the second out. Marmol appeared to gain back a little confidence and disposed of Peter Bourjos looking on three pitches.
Kevin Gregg retired the Angels in order in the fourth on 11 pitches, five for strikes. Gregg kept the ball down and just missed low in the zone. Gregg has yet to allow a run this spring.
David Patton pitched a perfect fifth. Three up three down on 10 pitches, five for strikes and turned the ball over to Randy Wells in the sixth. Wells was extremely impressive once again. He struck out the side looking on 15 pitches, nine for strikes and showed excellent command. He hit his spots and located his fastball on both sides of the plate.
Esmailin Caridad and Neal Cotts pitched the last two innings. The Angels scored an unearned run off Caridad in the eighth and Cotts faced the minimum in the ninth on eight pitches, six for strikes.
The Cubs offense was held to just three hits in the first five innings. Joe Saunders was very good once again. The highlight of the beginning of the game was a double to right by Milton Bradley. Bradley tried to stretch it to a triple and was thrown out at third to start the second.
Rich Harden is slated to make his second start of the spring on Sunday against Brandon Wood and the Diamondbacks in Tucson.