Cubs Zplit a Pair – Cubs 4 A’s 7 – Cubs 4 Royals 0

Game Seventeen – Cubs (ss) 4 A’s (ss) 7
WP – Ben Sheets (1-2) LP – Tom Gorzelanny (0-1) Save – None

Game Eighteen – Cubs (ss) 4 Royals (ss) 0
WP – Carlos Zambrano (1-1) LP – Edgar Osuna (0-1) Save – None

Sometimes the Cubs win, sometimes the Cubs lose … on Saturday Lou Piniella’s crew did both. Carlos Zambrano beat the Royals in Mesa while Tom Gorzelanny lost to the A’s in Phoenix.

Carlos Zambrano pitched five scoreless innings and Ryan Theriot knocked in three with a double in the second. The story for the Cubs against the A’s was all of the bases on balls. Gorzelanny struck out five but walked five in 3 2/3 innings … four Cubs’ pitchers walked nine batters and hit another on Saturday afternoon in Phoenix.

Cubs vs. A’s at Phoenix Municipal Stadium – Final Score, Cubs 4 A’s 7

Ben Sheets found his groove against the Cubs on Saturday afternoon. After a horrible start to the spring (a 31.15 ERA and a 4.39 WHIP entering his start against the Cubs), Sheets shutdown the Cubs’ split-squad offense.

Sheets allowed a run on three hits in four innings with three walks and four strikeouts. The Cubs lone run off Sheets came in the fourth inning.

Micah Hoffpauir led off the inning with a double to right. Mike Fontenot flied out to center, Hoffpauir tagged and advanced to third. Chad Tracy walked. Koyie Hill hit into a 4-6 force, Hoffpauir scored, 2-1 A’s at the time.

The Cubs other three runs came in the ninth inning. With the A’s up 7-1, Henry Rodriguez struggled with his command and allowed three runs … the big hit, a two-run double by Ryan Flaherty.

The Cubs pitching staff walked too many of the A’s hitters. Nine walks and a hit batsman, Spring Training or not, that is horrible command. While it is “just Spring Training,” a majority of the walks (seven) were issued by Tom Gorzelanny and John Gaub … two lefties the Cubs high hopes for this season.

Tom Gorzelanny allowed only two runs, both unearned, on four hits in 3 2/3 innings. Both runs came in the second inning after James Adduci dropped a fly ball in left that would have been the third out. Unearned Spring Training runs aside, Gorzelanny issued five free passes … in three appearances this spring, Gorzelanny has walked eight batters and struck out 10.

Daric Barton led off the second with a walk. Gorzelanny struck out Jack Cust and Gabe Gross. Travis Buck then hit an “Arizona Flyball” that James Adduci could not catch. The ball fell out of his glove. Barton scored on the play.

With Buck on second, Gregorio Petit triples to right. Buck scored and gave the A’s a 2-0 lead.

The A’s scored three runs in the sixth off of Jay Jackson … and John Gaub. Jackson was called up from minor league camp and took over for Gorzelanny wth two outs in the fourth. Jackson retired Mark Ellis to end the inning … and retired the A’s in order in the fifth.

Gabe Gross led off the sixth with a single to center off of Jackson. Travis Buck walked and Petit loaded the bases with a single to left. Alan Trammell went to his pen for John Gaub.

With the bases loaded and no outs, Gaub walked Eric Patterson … and forced in the A’s third run. After a visit from Larry Rothschild, John Gaub struck out Cliff Pennington and Eric Sogard.

Jake Fox stepped in with the bases loaded and two outs. Gaub hit Fox and forced in the A’s fourth run. Gaub continued to struggle with his command. He walked Barton to force in the third run of the inning.

John Gaub struck out Jack Cust looking to end the inning.

Gaub has the stuff to be a very successful Major League pitcher … he just needs to believe he does.

The A’s last two runs came in the eighth off of Mitch Atkins.

The Cubs “called-up” Brandon Guyer, Ryan Flaherty, Jay Jackson, Mitch Atkins, Marwin Gonzalez and Russ Canzler from minor league camp for the game against the A’s.

Box Score from MLB.com

Cubs vs. Royals at HoHoKam Park – Final Score, Cubs 4 Royals 0

After giving up a single and a walk in the first inning against the Royals, Carlos Zambrano settled in and put together a solid outing. Zambrano struck out four in his five innings of work while allowing only three hits. Zambrano found a rhythm and got his work in against the Royals.

Zambrano walked a couple of batters, both in the first two innings. Zambrano retired the Royals in order in the third and worked around a leadoff double by Billy Butler in the fourth. Two of the Royals three hits off of Zambrano were by Willie Bloomquist.

The Cubs offense was pretty non-existent against the Royals … with the exception of the second inning.

Marlon Byrd started the Cubs’ four-run rally in the second with a double to left. Following a Jeff Baker fly out to left, Alfonso Soriano singled to left on a 1-2 pitch from Edgar Osuna.

With runners on first and third with one out, Geovany Soto reached on an infield single to the hole at short. Soriano broke for second on the 3-2 pitch that allowed him to beat the throw from Wilson Betemit. Marlon Byrd scored on the play, 1-0 Cubs.

Brad Snyder walked to load the bases … with one out. Carlos Zambrano struck out looking but Ryan Theriot delivered.

Theriot hit a double into the corner in left that cleared the bases … and gave the Cubs a 4-0 lead.

Casey Coleman, a call-up from minor league camp, pitched two scoreless in relief of Zambrano.

Lou Piniella used Esmailin Caridad and Carlos Marmol in their projected regular season roles on Saturday. Caridad gave up a couple of hits in the eighth but did not allow a run … thanks to a diving stop at second base by D.J. LeMahieu.

Marmol struck out the first two batters he faced in the ninth. Then gave up a two-strike single to Brian Anderson and hit Cody Clark on a 3-2 pitch. With runners on first and second with two outs, Marmol struck out Kurt Mertins to end the game.

Carlos Marmol struck out the side in the ninth …

The Cubs “called-up” Michael Brenly, D.J. LeMahieu, Casey Coleman, Ty Wright and Drew Macias from minor league camp for the game against the Royals.

Box Score from MLB.com

The Cubs make their first trip to Goodyear on Sunday to face the Reds … Carlos Silva against Justin Lehr.

Quote of the Day

"Baseball is all I ever wanted. I could eat, sleep, and dream baseball." - Smoky Joe Wood

Share on Fancred