Cubs Drop Fourth of Z Spring to Z Reds – Cubs 13 Reds 14

Spring Training Game Twenty-Three – Cubs 13 Reds 14
WP – Jared Burton (1-1) LP – Carlos Silva (0-2, BS 1) Save – Jeremy Horst (1)

The largest crowd of the year at HoHoKam Park, the fourth largest in the history of the park, was treated to a lot of offense … and another Cubs loss to the Reds. The Cubs and Reds scored a combined 27 runs on 40 hits, 12 of which went for extra bases with three leaving the yard.

Carlos Zambrano had a bad day, something a majority of the pitchers have at some point during Spring Training. Five of the Reds six runs off Zambrano came on two swings … a three-run homer by Scott Rolen in the third and a two-run shot by Joey Votto in the fifth. When will the Cubs finally stop pitching to Joey Votto?

Prior to Friday’s outing, Zambrano had allowed just two runs on 13 hits in 13 innings of work. Carlos Zambrano’s final line against the Reds: six runs on seven hits with two walks, four strikeouts and two home runs in 4 2/3 innings.

Carlos Silva was shelled once again. While the defense did not help Silva’s cause, Silva allowed eight runs, five earned, on 11 hits with a walk and a strikeout. Teams have hit Silva hard all spring.

The Cubs offense had a big day, too bad the pitching could not hold up their end of the bargain … Q’s crew pounded out 22 hits and scored 13 runs.

Carlos Pena (3-for-4 with a double, a RBI and two runs scored) and Darwin Barney (3-for-4 with a run scored, two walks and a RBI) led the offense but it was Starlin Castro’s fourth homer of the spring that was the highlight of the day. Castro launched a three-run shot in the fifth off Jared Burton that cleared the berm in left center.

The Cubs defense committed two more errors Friday afternoon … one by Alfonso Soriano and the other by Matt Camp and the miscues led to three unearned runs. Mike Quade and is staff must figure out a way to correct all of the mistakes in the field.

Carlos Zambrano’s afternoon began on a positive note, Z struck out Drew Stubbs on three pitches … good morning, good afternoon and good night. Z lost his command after Stubbs and walked Brandon Phillips. Z struck out Joey Votto and retired Scott Rolen on a fly out to center to end the first.

The Cubs went quietly in the home half but both teams kicked it into gear in the second.

Jay Bruce struck out on three pitches to start the second. Jonny Gomes followed with a rare hit this spring … a double to right center. Z then broke Ryan Hanigan’s bat, but the Reds catcher got just enough and blooped a single over Carlos Pena’s head into right field. Gomes scored … 1-0 Reds.

Zambrano retired Paul Janish and Sam LeCure to end the second.

The Cubs tied and took the lead in the bottom of the second after Carlos Pena led off with a double to center (the first of three hits for Pena, all three hits were to different parts of the field … left, right and center). Geovany Soto blooped a single to right and Pena advanced to third.

Following a pop out to first by Soriano, Blake DeWitt tied the game at one with a ground out to first that plated Pena. Votto forced Soto and second but the relay was late. DeWitt reached and advanced to second on a single to right by Darwin Barney.

Tyler Colvin gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead with a ground rule double to right, which actually cost the Cubs a run. Barney had circled the bases but had to return to third. Both runners were stranded when Starlin Castro flied out to right to end the inning.

Zambrano struck out Stubbs to begin the third. Brandon Phillips singled (2-for-3 with a double, a walk, a RBI and two runs scored) and Joey Votto walked (2-for-3 with a home run, two runs scored and three RBI) ahead of Scott Rolen’s three-run homer to left. Jay Bruce followed with the Reds fourth straight hit. After Gomes popped out to short, Bruce was caught off the bag with Hanigan at the plate. The Reds right fielder was caught in a run down and eventually tagged out to end the inning.

The Cubs battled back and took the lead in bottom of the third. Marlon Byrd followed with a single to center. Aramis Ramirez singled to left and Carlos Pena made it 4-3 with a single to right center … his second hit of the game made it 4-3 Reds.

With two on and no outs, Geovany Soto popped out to second on the first pitch he saw. Alfonso Soriano stepped in a picked up his catcher. Soriano ripped a double off the batter’s eye in center. Ramirez scored … game tied at four. Dusty Baker went to his pen for Daniel Ray Herrera.

Blake DeWitt gave himself up for the second time (RBI groundout in the second) DeWitt flied out to left, Pena scored and the Cubs took a 5-4 lead. With Barney at the plate, Herrera uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Soriano to advance to third … but it would not matter. Darwin Barney delivered a single to left on a 2-1 pitch, Soriano scored and the Cubs took a 6-4 lead.

Zambrano retired the Reds in order in the fourth.

The Cubs loaded the bases after two were out in the bottom of the fourth (Ramirez and Pena singled, Soto walked) but Alfonso Soriano grounded out to Brandon Phillips to end the inning.

The Reds tied the game at six on a two-run homer by Joey Votto in the fifth. Zambrano retired Rolen for the second out of the fifth. Mike Quade lifted Z at that point and brought in James Russell to face Jay Bruce.

Bruce popped out to end the inning.

The Cubs took what appeared to be a comfortable lead in bottom of the fifth. Dusty had Jared Burton start the inning and the Reds reliever was touched up for a long home run.

Darwin Barney got the inning started for the Cubs with a one-out single to center. Tyler Colvin reached on an infield single … a chopper over the mound that Janish could not field cleanly.

Starlin Castro gave the Cubs a three-run lead with his fourth homer of the spring … a monster shot over the berm in left center (note: those that have been to HoHoKam Park realize how far Castro hit that ball), The Cubs 14th hit would prove to not be enough with Carlos Silva about to enter the game.

Jonny Gomes greeted Silva with a double to left to start the sixth. Ryan Hanigan then doubled over Marlon Byrd’s head in center … Gomes scored, 9-7. Janish grounded out to second, Hanigan advanced on the play to third.

Dusty Baker let Jared Burton hit, a scenario that would not happen during the regular season, Burton struck out looking for the second out.

Drew Stubbs singled to center on a 2-2 offering from Silva and plated Hanigan. With Brandon Phillips at the plate, Stubbs stole second and scored the tying run on a single to left by Phillips. Soriano bobbled the ball, which allowed Phillips to take second.

Votto then gave the Reds the lead for good. Votto singled to left. Phillips scored … 10-9 Reds. Scott Rolen grounded out to third to end the inning.

The Cubs went in order in the bottom of the sixth and Silva wiggled out of trouble in the top of the seventh.

The Reds put the game away with four more in the eighth.

With the Reds up 14-9, the Cubs scored three in the eighth and one in the ninth.

Welington Castillo reached on a one-out single and advanced to second on a single to left by Reed Johnson. Blake DeWitt drove in Castillo with a single to right. Johnson advanced to third and DeWitt took second on Jeremy Hermida’s throw. Darwin Barney walked to load the bases.

Kosuke Fukudome singled to left to plate Reed Johnson and DeWitt scored on a ground out by Matt Camp.

Marcos Mateo kept the Reds off the board in the top of the ninth.

With the Cubs down 14-12, Scott Moore led off the ninth with a double to left. Jeff Baker singled, Moore advanced to third and scored on a single to right by Welington Castillo. Following fly outs by Reed Johnson and Blake DeWitt, Darwin Barney walked to load the bases. Kosuke Fukudome grounded out to second to end the inning … and the game.

The Cubs kept battling … but came up a run short against the Reds for the third time this spring.

Box Score from MLB.com

Matt Garza and the Cubs travel to Peoria Saturday to face the San Diego Padres.

Quote of the Day

"What would you think if I sang out of tune, Would you stand up and walk out on me? Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song, And I'll try not to sing out of key ..."
In memory of Joe Cocker

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  • paulcatanese

    Boy,Castillo looks better and improves every time he plays.The sad part is he cannot move Hill out of there.

  • Aaron

    I know I’ve given the Cubs a hard time the past few years, but it’s been more out of frustration with Hendry’s decisions than anything, and I still held out hope they could turn things around.

    However, I must say, that going into this season, it has to be one of the first times in memory that I’ve ever felt they had absolutely no chance whatsoever to field a winning team. I guess it’s the whole attitude I’ve adopted of: “fool me once, shame on you….fool me twice, shame on me”. I think I’ve grown smarter when it comes to evaluating a winning team/organization when I see one.

    You can almost guarantee that teams like the Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies, Twins, Angels, Cardinals, and Braves (though, let’s see how they are under Gonzalez…under Cox, it would’ve been a slam dunk)…but you can almost guarantee those teams will be right in the thick of playoff races year after year. Why? Because all they do is talk about championships or playing winning baseball.

    It’s also why I think the Rays and Rangers are headed in that direction as well with Maddon, a former Scioscia pupil and Nolan Ryan changing the fortunes of those organizations.

    Meanwhile, the Cubs are actually thinking about adding Luis Castillo, according to reports….hmmmmmmmmmm…..

    Let’s see….Barney is hitting something like .380 or whatever on the spring, has played solid defense, and outplayed both Baker and DeWitt defensively AND offensively….but because he’s “young” at 25 years old, it doesn’t make sense in Cubs’ management’s eyes. I guess they’d rather have a “proven” 35 year old that can only play one position, has lost his speed, and can’t hit anymore….but, hey, experience really counts with this team, right?

    It’s the same reason Koyie Hill will make the team. Hell, why bring on a young catcher that’s raking to the tune of a .700+ average in spring ball, has played stellar defense throwing out would-be base stealers, and has improved his receiving skills?….Especially when you have a guy like Hill who has a .042 avg. I guess his caught stealing rate and pitcher’s ERA must be off-the-charts, right? Oops….pitcher’s had a 4.11 ERA with him behind the plate, and he had just a 18% CS rate. Compare that to the supposedly inferior defensively Soto, who had a 22% CS rate, and a slightly higher 4.23 pitcher’s ERA.

    Ironically, Soto’s 3.99 career pitcher’s ERA is considerably lower than Koyie Hill’s 4.19 career pitcher’s ERA….proving yet again that Hill must have some dirty pictures of Hendry he’s holding as black-mail.

    The Cubs need to finally admit they need help….but that’s the first stage….admitting they have a problem. And guess what? All we’ve seen this entire spring is excuses from players for poor performances either this spring, or last season.

    Wells, Zambrano, Soriano, Byrd (talking about down the stretch), Garza, Silva, and even Quade have done nothing but make excuses for poor performances whether it be “too big for his britches”, or lack of focus, or not being healthy, or not being physically ready for day games, or throwing mostly fastballs (which wasn’t the truth at all), to blaming all his teammates, etc…..You don’t hear stuff like this out of other team’s camps. The Cubs seem to be the only one….and it shows on the field.

    At the end of the year, they’ll all be looking at each other, pointing fingers, and Hendry will come up with even more excuses to save his job, and the Ricketts will STILL say they’re 100% behind him.

    This club is full of a bunch of losers. I hope it changes, and they get someone like Gillick in there to turn things around, but call it a gut feeling….I don’t think anything will change, and it will be the status quo….bringing in veteran roster fillers, keeping the same management on board, and using the same excuses over and over again. “we play too many day games, we lacked health, too many players didn’t play up to career levels, blah blah blah”

  • Vivid_Reality

    I’m really hoping we can cash in on Castillo’s scorching spring.

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/03/royals-seek-young-catcher.html

    I know a trade wouldn’t work straight up but the Royals have an abundance of lefty pitching. Maybe a Danny Duffy or Chris Dwyer for Castillo and Alberto Cabrera/Dolis. It would be a long shot for sure but there is no reason it couldn’t work.

    As much as I like Castillo, I think he provides the most value being traded. Max Ramirez, imo, is the better choice to be the back up.

    • Aaron

      I hope the Cubs would never do a deal like that. First of all, I love Clevenger, but he’s more of a platoon catcher than anything….a very good one at that.

      If the Cubs don’t take Ramirez north with them, he’s gone….So if you dealt Castillo, you’re left with minimal MLB-ready catching depth.

      All the Cubs would have is Chris Robinson and Steve Clevenger at AAA. After that, they’d have Brenly at AA, and after that, Gibbs in low-A ball. None of those guys are either ready or capable to handle the everyday job in the likely event Soto is injured yet again.

      If the Cubs still had Chirinos, I say you’d capitalize on his value in a heartbeat, but I just don’t see the point right now

      • Vivid_Reality

        Lets face it, Castillo is never going to supplant Soto as the starting catcher. He will toil away in the minors or on the bench until he has little to no value left. I would rather get a solid lefty prospect, something the system needs direly, and take my chances with our depleted catching depth. I’m perfectly fine letting Ramirez have the starting gig if something did happen to Soto. Even a Ramirez/Clevenger platoon would be better then Hill playing full time. Worst comes to worst we pick up Molina off the scrap heap and roll with him the rest of the season.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hood/100000706523521 Richard Hood

      I think you all have the wrong guy being traded. When Castillo gets over the “language barrier” that is going to keep him off the major league roster (he is suppose to be vastly improved in his English), it will be Soto that is going going gone.
      There was talk of trading Soto this winter but nothing came out of it. So I really expect for Koy Hill to stay on the roster so there is a big league experienced catcher when Soto is moved and Castillo gets the nod.

  • Larry Boodry

    Love the articles, but PLEASE – enough of the ‘Z spring, Z Reds, etc.’ stuff already!

  • Larry Boodry

    I would not trade Castillo…I would, however, trade Hill, Baker, Silva, Grabow, Ojeda, and the ghost of Milton Bradley to any team willing to give up a sacrificial Gatorade cooler and some bats.