Firsts of the Spring – Cubs 6 A’s 4

Game Seven – Cubs 6 A’s 4
WP – Sean Marshall (1-0) LP – Sean Gallagher (0-1) Save – Esmailin Caridad (1)

wflag.jpgIn a game full of former Cubs, it was two of ‘The Big Three‘ that helped power Lou Piniella’s crew to their fifth win of the spring. Alfonso Soriano hit his first long ball on the first pitch of the game from Sean Gallagher into the Cubs’ bullpen in right field. Aramis Ramirez added his first home run of the spring as well in the fourth, a 3-run shot off of former Cub farmhand Jerry Blevins. And for good measure, Jake Fox launched his second home run in less than a week into the Cubs’ bullpen in the third…all six of the Cubs tallies on Tuesday came via the three home runs.

Sean Marshall was lights out Tuesday after a mediocre start his last time out. Marshall retired all nine batters he faced in three impressive innings. Marshall retired five of the first six batters he faced on groundball outs and he ended his outing with an exclamation point. Marshall struck out Jeff Baisley swinging on four pitches.

Kevin Gregg was solid in relief of Marshall. Gregg sat down the A’s in order in the fourth on just five pitches. Luis Vizcaino and Randy Wells made their spring debuts and both pitched a scoreless inning of relief.

Andrew Cashner made his first appearance in a Cubs’ uniform and gave up two runs on three hits with a walk and a wild pitch in a third of an inning. Mike Stanton surrendered the first two runs on the afternoon. In his third appearance he allowed two runs on three hits with a walk in the fifth. Esmailin Caridad notched his first save.

The Cubs were out hit but played a solid game defensively, especially Ryan Theriot. They worked the counts against A’s pitching. Five of the Cubs six runs came with two outs and two of the Cubs’ four walks scored on the 3-run shot by Aramis Ramirez.

Unlike his first start last Thursday against the Brewers, Sean Marshall threw strikes on Tuesday against the A’s. Of the nine batters he faced Marshall started five of them with the best pitch in all of baseball…strike one. Marshall stayed out of three-ball counts and when he fell behind he came right back with a strike on his next pitch. Marshall is a solid Major League pitcher but like most when he falls behind is when he gets in the most trouble.

The A’s offense was extremely aggressive against Kevin Gregg. Three of the four batters he faced jumped on the first pitch. Matt Holliday recorded the first hit of the afternoon for the A’s off of Gregg in the fourth on a 0-1 pitch.

Other than the poor performances by Mike Stanton and Andrew Cashner the Cubs’ bullpen had a good afternoon. Luis Vizcaino was effective and so was Randy Wells. Many overlooked Wells going into the spring. Wells was impressive in limited time last season and if Angel Guzman and Kevin Hart struggle this spring, Wells could sneak onto the Cubs Opening Day roster.

The Cubs offense woke up on Tuesday…especially Alfonso Soriano and Aramis Ramirez. Home runs in the spring are not much to celebrate but the fact Soriano went to right and Ramirez hit his on a 3-1 pitch is good news.

Jake Fox continued to make noise with his bat but his defense will likely send him to Iowa to begin the season.

Ryan Theriot reached on an error by Kevin Cameron and scored on Fox’s home run. Theriot was hitless on the afternoon but worked a walk before the home run by Aramis Ramirez and scored two runs.

Box Score from

The Cubs play split squad games on Wednesday. Half of the team will stay in Arizona and face the Indians for the first time at their new facility in Goodyear. While the rest of the team will play the White Sox in Las Vegas at Cashman Field.

Chad Gaudin is scheduled to start against the Indians while Jeff Samardzija will face John Danks in Las Vegas.

Both of Wednesday’s games will be broadcast. The afternoon contest against the Indians will be on WGN Radio (and XM Radio) with Pat and Ron at 2:05pm C.T.. The night game (9:05pm C.T.) against the Sox will be the first televised game of the spring on WGN TV. The CCO will preview both games with ‘Talkin’ Cubs Live’….

Quote of the Day

"Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points." – Knute Rockne