Spring Training Game Twenty-Six – Cubs 1 Dodgers 2 – 10 innings
WP – Travis Schlichting (1-0) LP – Jeff Samardzija (1-1) Save – None
The Chicago Cubs played the Los Angeles Dodgers for the third and final time of the spring … and for the third time, the game was decided in the last at bat.
Jeff Samardzija took the hill for his second inning of work after escaping a small jam in the bottom of the ninth. Samardzija gave up a long one-out double to center to Kyle Russell in the tenth. Samardzija then walked Juan Castro before giving up an infield single to Corey Smith. With the bases loaded and one out, Samardzija battled back from a 3-0 hole and struck out Gabe Kapler for the second out of the inning.
Orlando Mercado, Jr. blooped a single into left center just out of the reach of a diving Fernando Perez. Russell trotted home with the game winner and sent Q’s crew back to Mesa with their 16th loss of the spring. The Cubs finished with a 2-1 Cactus League record against Don Mattingly’s Dodgers.
The Cubs once again wasted an excellent outing by Ryan Dempster. Dempster got his work in and then some Tuesday afternoon at Camelback Ranch. Dempster allowed only one run on six hits in six innings with a walk and six strikeouts. Dempster turned the game over to the pen down 1-0 in the seventh and finished his afternoon throwing in the bullpen.
The Cubs pitching was not the problem Tuesday (John Grabow and Sean Marshall pitched shutout innings in the seventh and eighth) and the defense did not commit an error. Q’s offense struggled once again in Arizona and left runner after runner on base.
Chad Billingsley and company dominated the Cubs’ offense. Q’s crew struck out ten times while leaving eight runners on base. The Cubs finished the afternoon a pathetic 1-for-7 with RISP … and the only hit with runners in scoring position did not plate a run.
The Cubs only run Tuesday afternoon came courtesy of a Jeff Baker homer in the top of the ninth off Ramon Troncoso.
If the spring and past numbers are any indication, the Cubs do not figure to score many runs during the season without hitting the ball over the wall. Ryan Dempster was tremendous in his fifth start of the spring. Dempster threw strikes and most importantly, he kept the ball down … Dempster recorded six groundball outs and just one fly ball out to go along with his six strikeouts. The Cubs defense turned a double play behind him to end the fifth.
Two of the Cubs six hits came in the first inning. Tyler Colvin reached on a one-out single. With Marlon Byrd at the plate, Billingsley uncorked a wild pitch. Colvin advanced to second and tried to score on a single to left off the bat of Marlon Byrd.
Hector Gimenez threw out Colvin at the plate. Byrd advanced to second but Carlos Pena grounded out to short (in the shift) to end the inning.
Ryan Dempster worked around a double by Rafael Furcal to start the first. Dempster struck out Xavier Paul but walked Andre Ethier … Dempster’s only free pass of the afternoon.
Juan Uribe fouled out to Carlos Pena and Dempster struck out Jay Gibbons to end the inning.
Dempster worked around a one-out single by Rod Barajas in the second … even with Baker and DeWitt failing to turn an inning ending double play. Dempster sat down the Dodgers in order in the third.
Eugenio Velez led off the fifth with a single to right. Billingsley sacrificed him to second and Velez advanced to third on a single up the middle by Rafael Furcal. Darwin Barney deked Velez into waiting to make sure the ball went into the outfield … and at the time Barney kept a run off the board.
Xavier Paul delivered a one-out single to center that plated Velez … 1-0 Dodgers.
Dempster got out of the first and third, one out jam, by inducing Andre Ethier to hit into an inning ending 4-6-3 double play.
With the way the Cubs were failing away at the Dodgers pitchers, it appeared the game would end 1-0.
The Cubs had a chance to tie and/or take the lead in the top of the sixth. Marlon Byrd reached on a two-out single (the Cubs first hit since Darwin Barney in the second inning) and advanced to second when Carlos Pena worked a walk. Geovany Soto walked to load the bases for Jeff Baker.
Baker lined out to a sliding Xavier Paul on a fly out to right center to end the inning.
The Cubs had another chance to at least tie the game in the seventh. Blake DeWitt led off the inning with a triple (the Cubs fifth hit of the game, first for extra bases). Lance Cormier then struck out Darwin Barney swinging and pinch-hitter Scott Moore looking. After Kosuke Fukudome walked, Don Mattingly brought in lefty Scott Elbert to face Tyler Colvin.
Colvin struck out looking to end the inning.
The Cubs “offense” struck out five times in the seventh and eighth innings combined … and seven of their 10 strikeouts came from the seventh inning on.
After Tuesday’s exhibition, the Cubs have only seven practice games left before every pitch, every out and every inning counts.
Carlos Silva will face Gio Gonzalez and the A’s at HoHoKam Park Wednesday afternoon. Aramis Ramirez is expected back and Carlos Zambrano will get his work in at Fitch Park in a minor league game.