Spring Training Game Twenty-Seven: Cubs (13-12) vs. Mariners (11-11-1)
Game Time – 3:05pm C.T.
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: XM Channel 181
Location – HoHoKam Park, Mesa
Carlos Zambrano (1-1, 4.50/1.00) vs. Erik Bedard (1-0, 1.59/1.24)
Countdown to Opening Day…15 days. The Cubs will face the Mariners for the fourth and final time in the Cactus League today. Carlos Zambrano is slated to make his fourth start against the former Oriole Erik Bedard.
The very talented lefty needs a bounce-back season for the Mariners. After being dealt to Seattle before the 2008 season in a lopsided traded, Bedard was supposed to be the new ace of the Mariners’ staff and led them into the post-season and beyond. Bedard struggled, spent most of the year on the DL and had many in Seattle calling the deal with the Orioles for Bedard one of the worst in Mariners’ history…and had many of the experts calling the trade (five-for-one…Adam Jones, George Sherrill, Chris Tillman, Kam Mickolio and Tony Butler) one of the worst in the history of the game.
Derrek Lee is expected back in the starting lineup today… Carlos Zambrano is coming off his longest outing of the spring against the Dodgers on St. Patrick’s Day. He allowed three runs on three hits in five innings with a strikeout and two walks. But the highlight for Z’s afternoon was the home run, double and four RBI he recorded off of Randy Wolf.
In his first three starts this spring, Zambrano has allowed five runs, all earned, on seven hits in 10 innings…with a hit batsman, three walks and nine strikeouts.
Erik Bedard will make his fourth start of the Cactus League season today. He has pitched rather well this spring for the Mariners and many think Bedard could be dealt during the season in order for Seattle to try to recoup some of what they lost for Bedard.
The talented southpaw has given p only one run on five hits in 5 2/3 innings with two walks and three strikeouts.
Tidbits from the Desert
Rich Harden will throw 70-75 pitches in a minor league game on Wednesday, the Cubs last day off of the spring. Multiple reports on Sunday morning indicated that after missing his start on Friday with the flu Harden’s first turn in the rotation could be skipped when the season begins. Harden is saying he will be ready.
Ted Lilly expected back on Tuesday from the WBC and will throw a simulated game on one of the backfields at HoHoKam. Lilly has not gotten his work in while with Team USA and there are concerns about how far behind he may be in his preparation for the season.
Lilly is not expected to pitch on Sunday night for Team USA and if they make it to the Championship game against Korea, Jake Peavy is penciled in as Davey Johnson’s starter.
Larry Rothschild on Talkin’ Baseball
Larry Rothschild joined Bruce Levine Saturday morning and discussed the Cubs’ pitching staff. Chad Gaudin was the first hurler asked about and Rothschild said they are planning on him making one more spring start then deciding on what will be his best role on the team.
Jeff Samardzija has thrown better this spring according to Rothschild than his numbers show. He explained the numbers “are deceiving” because he is throwing the ball much better than last year and his working on a number of things. Rothschild said they have really been working on his delivery and it is almost there.
Angel Guzman and his out of options status was the next topic in the conversation. Rothschild was asked about how much influence the front office may or may not have when it comes to showcasing pitchers for trades. He said that he’s never received a call from the Cubs’ front office to say pitch this guy on a certain day. Rothschild explained that the front office is aware of their pitching schedule during the spring…and have plenty advanced notice of which pitchers are going to throw on which days.
Rothschild added that the team does have to be aware of player’s options. He pointed out that the Cubs are trying to win now as well as prepare for the future.
Levine asked if the absence of Geovany Soto has hurt the pitching staff this spring. Rothschild said it had not and pointed out with the length of Spring Training this year he would not have played everyday and they needed to look at the back-up options behind the plate. Rothschild added that Soto is a leader on the field. He takes control of the veteran pitchers as well as the younger ones not to mention he calls a great game.
Rothschild was asked which Carlos Zambrano will we see out of Spring Training. Rothschild said it can change quickly but Carlos has come into camp with a sense of purpose. He added that he thinks Zambrano has lost more weight since he reported to camp back in February.
It is a day-to-day thing with Zambrano according to Rothschild but he looks like “he’s on a mission and if he can maintain it, he will have a great year.” Rothschild finished by saying, “but it’s how he handles the bumps in the road” that is key.
Bleacher Nation released the pre-season poll of the Cubs’ top prospects according to multiple Cubs’ bloggers. Ace has done an excellent job at gathering the information from some of the popluar Cubs’ blogs on the net.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball….