Garza Gets the ‘W’ against the Sox – Cubs 8 White Sox 7

Spring Training Game Twenty-Eight – Cubs 8 White Sox 7
WP – Matt Garza (1-3) LP – Phil Humber (0-2) Save – Carlos Marmol (1)

wflag.jpgQ’s crew won on consecutive days for the first time since March 10 and 11 as they held on and beat the White Sox Thursday afternoon at HoHoKam Park. The Cubs played better than the final score indicates and for the third straight day the defense did not commit an error.

Matt Garza posted his first spring-win in a Cubs’ uniform after a decent five-inning outing. Garza threw strikes but was bitten by a two-run homer in the fifth by Omar Vizquel. Garza allowed three runs on eight hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Garza threw 86 pitches, 55 for strikes.

Garza turned the game over to Braden Looper and the bullpen with the Cubs up by a score of 8-3.

The White Sox kept chipping away against Q’s pen. Braden Looper gave up a run on three hits and a walk in two innings. Looper is still in the mix for a spot on the Cubs’ Opening Day roster … and Thursday’s outing did not help his cause.

James Russell was torched in the eighth. Russell gave up back-to-back homers to Donald Lucy and Alexei Ramirez on his first two pitches of the inning. Russell gave up a double to Omar Vizquel but retired Adam Dunn (0-for-5 with three strikeouts) to end the eighth.

Carlos Marmol picked up his first save of the spring after allowing a run on a pair of hits. Marmol struck out Alexei Ramirez looking to end the game.

The White Sox pounded out 16 hits against Cubs pitching … but Starlin Castro and Darwin Barney not only turned two double plays but the young middle infielders also showed off their range.

The Cubs offense did just enough against the Sox’s pitching staff. The Cubs managed only eight hits but took advantage of seven walks.

Alfonso Soriano (2-for-4 with two runs scored, a home run and two RBI) hit his third longball of the spring and drove in another run with a single in the fifth. Marlon Byrd added a pair of RBI and a run scored in four trips to the plate.

Darwin Barney celebrated making the Opening Day roster with a huge day at the plate … and in the field. Barney tripled in a pair with two outs in the fifth and finished his afternoon 2-for-4 with a triple, a run scored and two RBI.

On his 21st birthday, Starlin Castro was 1-for-4 with a double, a walk and two runs scored.

The Cubs have shown improvement over the past two games … but it would be nice to see this group of players put together a complete game or two before they break camp Tuesday.

Matt Garza started his day by retiring the Sox in order on just 11 pitches, seven for strikes. Garza struck out Adam Dunn looking to end the inning.

The Cubs jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Kosuke Fukudome walked and advanced to third on Starlin Castro’s double to right center. Marlon Byrd put the ball in play and hit a sac fly into right center that plated Kosuke with the game’s first run. Castro advanced to third on the play and scored on a double to left by Aramis Ramirez (1-for-2 with a double, a walk, a run scored and a RBI).

Carlos Pena and Alfonso Soriano struck out to end the inning.

Matt Garza escaped trouble in the second. Alex Rios worked a one-out walk and advanced to second on a single by Carlos Quentin. A.J. Pierzynski flied out to center for the second out. Rios tagged and advanced to third on the play. Alexei Ramirez grounded out to short to end the inning.

The Cubs tacked on a run in the bottom of the second. Darwin Barney led off with a single. Koyie Hill walked and Matt Garza advanced both runners with a slash hit to Vizquel at second. Kosuke Fukudome hit the first pitch from Humber into center. Barney tagged and scored … 3-0 Cubs.

Garza labored through the third but kept the Sox off the board. Brent Morel led off with a single to right. Juan Pierre reached on a bunt single but Omar Vizquel grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. Adam Dunn struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.

After the third, Garza’s pitch count stood at 46, 27 for strikes.

The Sox finally got on the board in the fourth after Paul Konerko walked to start the inning. Alex Rios singled to left but Carlos Quentin grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. With two outs and Konerko on third, Pierzynski singled to left. Konerko scored … 3-1 Cubs.

After four, Garza had thrown 68 pitches, 40 for strikes.

Alfonso Soriano got the run right back in the bottom of the fourth. Soriano hit his third dinger of the spring over the wall in center.

Garza gave up a pair on one swing of the bat in the fifth. Brent Morel singled to center to start the inning … and Omar Vizquel made it 4-3 with a long homer to right. The ball ended up in the Cubs’ pen.

Garza struck out Dunn for the third time before giving up a two-out single to Konerko. Alex Rios lined out to a leaping Darwin Barney to end the inning.

The Cubs appeared to put the game away in the bottom of the fifth. Starlin Castro worked a one-out walk. On a botched pitch out, Castro advanced to second and scored on a single to right by Marlon Byrd. Aramis Ramirez walked to end Phil Humber’s day.

Will Ohman took over and struck out Carlos Pena.

Alfonso Soriano made it 6-3 with a single to left on a 2-0 pitch. Byrd scored on the play and Ramirez held at second. Darwin Barney stepped in and tripled down the right field line on a 1-1 offering from Ohman. Koyie Hill walked but pinch-hitter Marwin Gonzalez grounded out to short to end the inning. At the end of five, the Cubs led 8-3.

Braden Looper took over in the sixth and gave up a run on a double by Carlos Quentin and a two-out single by Brent Lillibridge. Starlin Castro robbed Vizquel of a single to left to end the inning.

James Russell made his way to the mound in the eighth … and gave up two homers on the first two pitches he threw. Donny Lucy and Alexei Ramirez hit back-to-back homers to make the score 8-6 before Russell had a chance to catch his breath. Russell settled down but the damage had been done.

Carlos Marmol did his job in his first save opportunity of the spring. Marmol gave up a pair of hits a run but struck out two … and did not walk or hit a batter.

Spring Training or not, it is always a good day when the Cubs beat the Sox.

Box Score from MLB.com

The Cubs will spend their last Friday in the Cactus League hosting a Mariners’ split squad team. Randy Wells will get the ball to start the game.

Quote of the Day

"If you don't build your dream someone will hire you to help build theirs." - Tony A. Gaskins Jr.
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  • cc002600

    Barney will add some speed,defense & smarts, something this team desperately needs. Not saying he’s an All-Star, but he makes this team better, especially when you look at how bad the other 2 are.

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      I’m really excited about Castro/Barney up the middle! It would be nice to have some stability and naming Barney the opening day starter would start that…how young we’d look!

  • Aaron

    Neil….

    You better have a look at this.

    I don’t need to say anything, other than we have talked about this in the past with Hendry’s roster “management”:

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/2011/03/cubs-new-deal-with-szczur-carries-major-implications/

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      I’ve seen it … and just shook my head. Hendry put pressure on the kid to perform. Szczur will have only three options beginning next spring.

      The roster management of this organization has, and still is, horrible.

      I was planning on running a full report about this next week, and still will.

      What I do not understand is if they knew about the rule, why did they do it?

      • Tony_Hall

        How many mismanaged roster moves, does JH get, before getting fired. Forget about the status of some of the players, age, cost, etc, just look at his roster mismanagement over the years. Not even the Pirates would have kept their GM for acts like this. Oh wait, they did fire their GM and JH hired him almost immediately, because he is a “good office” guy, to help morale in the office.

        • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

          Niel, do you think they will add him to the roster so we don’t lose him? Dude, sounds like a potential beast?

          • Tony_Hall

            You asked Neil, replied to me, so here’s what I think will happen.

            He will be added to the 40 man roster before the Rule V draft in December. They will not risk losing him. The problem is they will be starting his status clock, earlier then needed. Hopefully he will come through the system, fast enough, that it doesn’t matter latter.

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

            That is probably wishful thinking on Sczur Tony. Even the biggest fans of the guy seem to think opening day 2014. I really expect him to be moved before then if Golden or Bugress develop first. All in all this was another bad move.

          • Tony_Hall

            I am not sure we are talking about the same thing. You think they will risk expsoing him to the Rule V draft. I know what teams would have to do, if they took him, but, IF he continues playing well, a team like the Pirates, Royals, etc would take a flyer on the guy. The risk is what he would for that team, just would a team take a chance.

            All unnecessary, with just proper roster management.

          • studio179

            “All unnecessary, with just proper roster management.”

            All unnecessary indeed. I have no doubt they protect the guy from Rule V. My concern is with just the 3 options and the way they went about their business of signing Szczur and placing pressure on him from the get go, he will be rushed up too soon. I hope not, but it looks that way right now.

          • Tony_Hall

            Keep in mind 3 options is 3 years. So we would have all of 2012, 2013, 2014 to develop him. It is a huge mistake, but if Szczu develops.

            Buth then again, production has a way of masking mistakes.

          • studio179

            That’s just it, production. Maybe he produces and rises well enough to cover up the mismanagement. One tends to get a bit uneasy when the Cubs do these things. He’s in Peoria, so let’s see how he does.

    • cubs1967

      although this screams of another casey mcgehee type screw-up; based on the horrid performances this spring of guys like berg-stevens-caridad; all of who are on the 40 man roster; not sure it will be much of a lost when sczuzur is added to the 40 man.

      w/ that said; no one has claimed the long relief role; russell sucked, looper is near 10 for ERA, wellemeyer who may be best bet needs at least 3 weeks in iowa to get innings; so who has been best—either shark or in a backwards way silva.

      SO; that means cashner will go to the pen and silva will start when JH tells cheap-ass PK Ricketts he can’t trade silva……….but maybe if he pitches in april or may we can move him. ughhhhhhhhhh!!

      here’s where the cubs speak out of both sides of their mouth; i’m guessing castillo will go to iowa to “get at bats” even though he could get 160 in the majors and who knows make soto expendable soon before he becomes expensive; yet dewitt is gonna work out his defense and offense problems in the majors?????–HUH??–would it not be better to go to iowa and play everyday like castillo>??? …………and let moore who has more power or scales who at least works a count and can run w/ above avg speed make the team for now???

      i luv quade’s comment that dewitt is a lifetime .260 hitter so they’ll keep him around to work it out………..WTF—–a .260 hitter is jack squat in the majors so when did a 25 yr old .260 hitter deserve that type of long rope patience to stay in the majors????……………….just so JH can “justify” his trade of lilly for ZIPPO……….and lilly was by FAR the best trade chip.

      the clueless foursome (PK, JH, quade and kenney crane strike again)!!

      • paulcatanese

        You had better believe that Silva is going to back into the fifth starter, all they were looking for was some resemblence of a pitcher out of him. And as much as I dont like it I see Quade platooning Barney and DeWitt. Baker will also get his shot at 2nd. The Cubs resembled a team at least up the middle.

    • Tom U

      To quote a line from The Princess Bride…

      Inconceivable!

  • studio179

    “Braden Looper gave up a run on three hits and a walk in two innings. Looper is still in the mix for a spot on the Cubs’ Opening Day roster … and Thursday’s outing did not help his cause.”

    I do not get why Quade loses sleep over guys like Looper.

    “James Russell made his way to the mound in the eighth … and gave up two homers on the first two pitches he threw.”

    That’s making your manager look good right after he says you make the team.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Russell has not made the team yet, at least not officially. The only positive from the Russell homers was both were hit by right handers. He could not retire righties last year and is still struggling. Russell is a loogy until he develops a decent changeup.

      • studio179

        That is good news…for now. I thought I heard Russell made the team. I could not agree more on his change up. It needs help. I do not understand the reason (other than he’s lefty and they have few options there potentially starting) they threw Russell in the starting mix.

        You are right, he is a loogy and is no where close to being a factor out of the pen from both sides, let alone starting. They should do Russell a favor and send him down to develope. No need to let him get lit up in the bigs.

        • studio179

          Yep, posted too soon. Russell officially made the team. Ahh! They feel the lack of a lefty in the starter’s role can be a loogy in the pen.

          Let’s hope this works.

  • paulcatanese

    On the positive side,very impressed with Barney and Castro,and the more they work together the more eyes they will open. Barneys pivot on that 6-4-3 double play was a terrific play and those of us who have played ss or 2b realize how special that was, and the backhand flip to get the lead runner was great. I think he will make Castro better because he can handle his quick play and DeWitt or Baker cannot. In a month these two will ake youre head spin. And when Hill is batting behind Barney look for him to get some intentional walks to get to Hill.

    • JedMosley

      I agree Paul, I watched that double play and it was pretty smooth, I was very impressed. A middle infield of Castro and Barney makes me excited.