Game Eleven – Cubs 4 Dodgers 5
WP – Randy Wolf (2-0) LP – Ryan Dempster (0-2) Save – Brian Mazone (1)
Lou Piniella continued Friday running out a starting lineup that featured a minimum number of regulars and mostly players that will start the season in the minors. With the WBC and the lengthy exhibition season it will likely be match-ups against the Indians, White Sox and Royals at the end of the month that will be the first time the Cubs possible Opening Day lineup will take the field. Until then Piniella will likely sprinkle in his projected starters to get them prepared for the grind of the regular season.
Friday against the Dodgers was a prime example.
Ryan Dempster started his second game of the spring and gave up two runs on three hits in three innings with a walk and a strikeout. Dempster’s line looks worse than he actually pitched. The Dodgers did not hit the ball hard and other than a walk to Blake DeWitt, he pitched quite well. An infield hit by Brad Ausmus and a ground out by Doug Mientkiewicz scored the two runs.
Derrek Lee on the other hand struck out twice in three trips to the plate. Lee ended the third inning with a fly out to center. In the fifth he struck out looking with a runner in scoring position…on the day, Lee left four runners on base, two in scoring position.
Milton Bradley made his second start of the week and his first in the field since February 26. Bradley finished 1-for-2 before being lifted for a pinch runner in the fourth after a single to right off of Jeff Weaver.
As for the game, for the second day in a row the Cubs mounted a late inning comeback only to fall short with the tying run on base in the ninth…. Micah Hoffpauir, whose nine RBI leads the Cactus League, drove in the Cubs’ first run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning. The Cubs cut the Dodgers’ lead to 3-2 in the seventh after a single by Joey Gathright, a stolen base, a throwing error by Danny Ardoin and a ground out to short by Aaron Miles.
Another Dodgers’ error in the ninth opened the door to a big inning. Joey Gathright reached on a fielding error by Chin-lung Hu at second base. With one out, Gathright was given second and scored on a single to right by Aaron Miles.
With the score 5-3, Darwin Barney grounded back to the mound. Miles advanced to second and scored on a 2-out double to left center by Doug Deeds. Brad Snyder struck out to end the game.
It took Ryan Dempster 20 pitches to get through the first inning (12 for strikes) but once he did he settled down in his final two innings….and as mentioned, the Dodgers’ did not make good contact against Dempster in the opening inning.
Dempster retired the side in order in the second and gave up a single to James Loney in the third.
Koyie Hill kept pace with Paul Bako and threw out two-would-be base stealers on Friday. The Cubs defense played a solid game, it was the offense that came up a little short.
The Cubs bullpen pitched a lot better on Friday with a couple of exceptions. Jeff Stevens gave up two runs on two hits with three walks in the eighth and was bailed out by Randy Wells. Mitch Atkins served up a solo shot to Doug Mientkiewicz in the seventh…but Luis Vizcaino, Justin Berg, Esmailin Caridad, Randy Wells and Brian Schlitter did not allow the Dodgers to tack on to their lead.
Carlos Zambrano is scheduled to face Jeff Suppan and the Brewers in Maryvale on Saturday. WGN will broadcast the last game of the spring with a 2:05 pm C.T. start time.