Spring Training Game Eleven – Cubs 0 Rockies (ss) 4
WP – Jorge De La Rosa (1-1) LP – Carlos Zambrano (0-1) Save – None
A day after scoring 14 runs, Q’s crew was shutdown by the Rockies pitching staff. The Cubs managed five hits, one for extra bases, and walked only one time Tuesday afternoon. For as much improvement as the Cubs have made over the past seven games, Tuesday marked the second time in four games they did not score a single run.
The Cubs’ offense had plenty of scoring opportunities but was not able to plate a run. The Cubs finished the afternoon 0-for-6 with RISP and left six on base.
Carlos Zambrano put together a very good outing and pitched better than his line indicates. Zambrano was tagged with the loss after allowing a run on five hits with a strikeout in three innings of work. Another defensive miscue led to the only run Z was charged with in his third outing of the spring.
Big Z threw a ton of strikes and more importantly did not walk a batter. Zambrano got his work in and turned the game over to the Cubs pen.
For two innings, Braden Looper was excellent in his second outing of the spring. But Looper went one inning too long and gave up three runs in his third inning of work. Looper gave up a single to start the seventh, hit a batter then served up a three-run shot to pinch-hitter Jordan Pacheco.
Sean Marshall pitched another boring inning and Robert Coello was solid in the eighth.
One of the many question marks surrounding the 2011 Chicago Cubs is the team’s offense. Eleven games in to the exhibition season the Cubs have not found a consistent answer … Carlos Zambrano gave up a leadoff single to Willy Taveras to start the bottom of the first. Zambrano paid a lot of attention to Taveras but was able to throw strikes. Z sat down Charlie Blackmon, Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki to end the first. Zambrano threw 25 pitches in the opening inning, 18 for strikes.
The Rockies took a 1-0 lead in the second on a misplayed ball and a bloop single.
Todd Helton reached on a single to left on a ball that was misplayed by Tyler Colvin. Geovany Soto threw out Helton on a delayed steal ahead of the Rockies second hit of the inning … a bloop single to center off the bat of Jose Lopez.
Matt Pagnozzi grounded out to third on a 3-2 pitch. Lopez ran with the pitch and advanced to second on the play. Zambrano fell behind Thomas Field 2-1. Field blooped Z’s next offering into center. Lopez scored … 1-0 Rockies.
Zambrano sat down the Rockies in the third on just eight pitches, six for strikes. Zambrano’s day ended after three complete. Z threw a total of 61 pitches, 42 for strikes.
Braden Looper took the mound in the fifth and sat the Rockies down in order on just 10 pitches, seven for strikes. Looper stayed aggressive in the sixth and retired the heart of the Rockies’ lineup (Carlos Gonzalez, Troy Tulowitzki and Todd Helton) on seven pitches, five for strikes.
The seventh inning would prove to be too much for Looper.
Matt Pagnozzi led off the inning with a single to center. Looper then hit Thomas Field on a 0-1 pitch. With runners on first and second with no outs, Jordan Pacheco hit for Rafael Betancourt.
Looper fell behind the rookie catcher, 3-1, before serving one up to Pacheco.
Looper left after throwing 18 pitches (13 for strikes) in the seventh. Looper allowed three runs on two hits with a hit batsman and two strikeouts in three innings.
Robert Coello walked a batter in the eighth but did not allow a run or a hit. Coello struck out two and threw 22 pitches, 12 for strikes.
Matt Garza and Bruce Chen will square off again Wednesday afternoon. This time the game between the Cubs and Royals will be at HoHoKam Park.