The Cubs Cash in a Win against the Rangers – Cubs 6 Rangers 5

Spring Training Game Thirty – Cubs 6 Rangers 5
WP – Andrew Cashner (2-1) LP – Brett Tomko (0-1, BS 2) Save – Jeff Samardzija (1)

wflag.jpgAfter a horrible start, Q’s crew put together one of their best games of the spring and in the process posted their fourth Cactus League win in a row … the longest winning stretch of the spring for the Chicago Cubs.

The Cubs jumped out to an early lead against C.J. Wilson but Andrew Cashner labored through a horrible 28-pitch first inning. Cashner gave up five runs (three earned) on five hits, walked a batter, committed an error and served up a long home run to Mitch Moreland. Cashner appeared flustered in his first outing after being named the Cubs’ fifth starter.

Andrew Cashner not only rebounded from the bad start but he dominated over his last four innings of work. Cashner allowed just two hits and no walks over his last four innings and in the process he struck out four. Cashner mixed in a very good breaking ball and an excellent changeup. Cashner retired 17 of the last 18 batters he faced, including six in a row to finish his afternoon.

Cashner threw 72 pitches in his first five-inning outing of the spring, 49 for strikes.

Q’s pen put together another string of shutout innings and retired 18 in a row before Chris Davis singled with two outs in the ninth.

Casey Coleman and Kerry Wood retired the side in order in the sixth and seventh innings … and Jeff Samardzija threw two shutout innings to close out the game.

The Cubs offense battled back from a 5-2 hole behind Reed Johnson (1-for-4 with a double, a run scored, a sac fly and a RBI), Geovany Soto (2-for-4 with a double, a run scored and a RBI), Marlon Byrd (1-for-3 with a triple, a RBI and a run scored) and Marquez Smith (1-for-4 with a double and two RBI). Soto also played a good game behind the plate. Soto threw out Endy Chavez in the second and made a couple of strong throws.

Marquez Smith tied the game with a two-run double in the third and Marlon Byrd tripled in Darwin Barney with the eventual game-winning run in the fourth.

Saturday’s exhibition game also featured a rare catcher’s interference call in the first inning. Mike Quade decided to take a run off the board and play for a big inning. The Cubs ended up plating a pair and the decision worked out for the Cubs’ skipper.

The Cubs ended their four-game errorless streak with an Andrew Cashner miscue in the first inning.

The game began on a positive note for the Cubs. Reed Johnson doubled down the left field line on a 1-2 pitch from C.J. Wilson. Darwin Barney put together an excellent at bat and worked the count to 3-2 before grounding out to short. Barney’s productive out advanced Johnson to third.

With one out, Marlon Byrd hit what appeared to be a sac fly to left center. Reed Johnson tagged and scored … but Yorvit Torrealba was called for catcher’s interference.

Mike Quade chose to take the run off the board, sent Johnson back to third and Byrd was awarded first base (Quade could have let the play stand but it was his choice to take away the run). With runners on first and third with one out, Geovany Soto just missed a home run. Soto launched Wilson’s 2-1 pitch to right, the ball hit 3/4 the way up the padded wall. Johnson scored and Byrd ended up at third on Soto’s double.

Carlos Pena put the ball in play on a 1-1 offering from Wilson. Pena grounded out to first but Byrd scored on the play … 2-0 Cubs.

Andrew Cashner labored through the first inning. Cashner struggled with his command and appeared to get a little flustered.

Cashner retired Endy Chavez on a ground out to first but Esteban German ripped a 2-1 offering into left. German stole second on a 0-1 pitch to Daniel Murphy. Murphy hit a grounder to Pena on a 1-2 pitch. Pena tossed the ball to Cashner but the Cubs’ fifth starter did not catch the ball. Cashner’s error allowed German to score. Cashner’s miscue was the Cubs first error since Monday in Tempe … Andrew Cashner’s last start.

Nelson Cruz hit a ringing double into right center on a 2-0 pitch, Murphy scored and tied the game at two. Mitch Moreland then gave the Rangers a 4-2 lead with a booming homer to right. Cashner hung a breaking ball on a 1-0 pitch and Moreland launched the mistake.

Mike Napoli recorded the Rangers fourth hit of the inning, a single to left center on a 1-0 offering. Cashner walked Torrealba on four pitches. Andres Blanco singled to right on a 1-1 pitch. Kosuke’s spring throwing problems continued. Fukudome’s throw was up the third base line, Napoli scored but Soto saw Blanco had rounded first. Soto threw behind Blanco, who was eventually tagged out to end the inning.

Andrew Cashner threw 28 pitches in the first, 15 for strikes.

The Cubs started chipping away in the second.

Kosuke Fukudome led off with a single to left on a 3-2 pitch from Wilson. Blake DeWitt blooped a single into right center. Kosuke advanced to third. With no outs, Andrew Cashner tried to sacrifice DeWitt to second but failed to get the bunt down on three attempts.

Reed Johnson lifted a 2-0 offering from Wilson into right center. Fukudome tagged and scored … 5-3 Rangers. Darwin Barney popped out to left to end the inning.

Cashner gave up his sixth hit of the game to start the second. Endy Chavez ripped Cashner’s first offering into left center. After Chavez’s two-bagger, Cashner settled down.

German grounded out to third on a 1-2 pitch. With Murphy at the plate, Soto threw out Chavez trying to steal third. Cashner then retired Murphy on a ground out to first.

C.J. Wilson departed in the third with tightness in his left hamstring. Brett Tomko took over and struck out Marlon Byrd to begin the inning. Soto ripped Tomko’s first offering into center for his second hit of the game. Carlos Pena walked on four pitches.

Marquez Smith tied the game with a double to left. Soto scored easily and Pena slid in safe with an awkward-looking slide to tie the game. Fukudome walked to put runners on first and second with one out.

Blake DeWitt hit grounder to third. Chris Davis fielded the ball near the bag, forced Smith but could not complete the 5-3 double play. Andrew Cashner grounded out to short to end the inning.

Andrew Cashner made quick work of the Rangers in the third.

After striking out Nelson Cruz swinging and retiring Moreland on a fly out to right, Mike Napoli reached on a single to center. Cashner then struck out Chris Davis swinging on three pitches to end the inning. Cashner threw 12 pitches in the third, nine for strikes.

The Cubs took the lead in the fourth. Darwin Barney reached on a swinging bunt up the third base line. Marlon Byrd then ripped a triple into right center on a 0-1 offering from Tomko. Barney scored … 6-5 Cubs.

Geovany Soto grounded out to short for the second out and Carlos Pena flied out to right to end the inning.

Andrew Cashner dominated the Rangers in the fourth and fifth innings. Cashner looked like a different pitcher. He mixed his pitches well and threw strikes … showing an excellent breaking ball and changeup in the process.

Cashner sat down the Rangers in order in the fourth on 10 pitches, nine for strikes … and in the fifth it took Cashner 11 pitches, nine for strikes, to retire the Rangers.

Andrew Cashner retired 11 of the last 12 batters he faced … and the last six in a row.

Casey Coleman likely made his last appearance of the spring with the Cubs and put together another solid outing. Coleman turned the game over to Kerry Wood … and the former ‘Kid K‘ sat down the Rangers in order in the seventh on just nine pitches, seven for strikes.

Jeff Samardzija picked up the save with two shutout innings. Samardzija threw eight pitches in the eighth, five for strikes, and 16 in the ninth, nine for strikes.

Q’s crew played a good game … but more importantly, three pitchers on the Opening Day roster had good outings in Surprise.

Box Score from MLB.com

The Cubs begin the final stretch of games of the Cactus League Sunday in Mesa. Ryan Dempster will face Ubaldo Jimenez and a Rockies split squad.

Quote of the Day

"There are only two seasons ... winter and baseball." - Bill Veeck

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  • paulcatanese

    Good coverage Neil. Cashner settled down after the first. He needs a lot of little things,holding runners for one,work on his head after things go wrong,but overall a good outing for him. Coleman looked good as well as Wood. The Shark closed it out but still needs better command. Defense looked smooth.

  • xaxinho

    Of course I know nothing about baseball compared to you, guys, but watching the game I can say something our players.

    – Fuke is relying on his eye to get walks. Too much confidence and hope the pitcher misses, and absolute no confidence in his bat.

    – Byrd is convincing himself about the responsibility of being a n.3 hitter. And we can see he is working hard to earn the spot.

    – DeWitt works hard, but Barney deserves the starter role. Yesterday we saw a good chemistry between Barney and Castro. Unfortunatelly, it seems that Barney will get the backup role for SS and 2nd.

    – Samardzija is to weak to get a ML job. The flyballs he got…

    – ESPN, FOX and others said before ST that if every Cubs player play the best, Cubs has a chance. I believe that many things will go wrong for the other NL Central teams (Wainwright, Greinke…)

    • paulcatanese

      I think you know quite a bit about baseball and put a good post on the site.

    • Vivid_Reality

      General consensus is that Barney has won a righty lefty time share with Baker.

    • Robby

      Xaxinho WTF. You said it best, you nothing about baseball. So just shut the F*&! up.

      • Last_ginger

        really? are you 12 or something? come on dude

  • matt

    so neil whats next for silva since he told them he wasnt going to minors he said no way. does he just get released or traded or what do you think?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      I think he will just be released at this point. Why would another team take on any of his salary at this point? There is talk he could pitch Monday as scheduled, I do not see how that would work after today.

  • paulcatanese

    Neil, there was one thing I heard on the broadcast and I believe it was by Levine regarding Silva. Apparantly Silva apolgized and a possibility he would pitch Monday,did I hear right?

  • Gary J

    Great coverage as always Neil.

    Cashner’s first inning aside, a good day for the faithful. Good pitching from the starter (from the 2nd on) and the pen…. timely hitting…. one error but otherwise solid D (Soto catches a runner and another nice catch from Reed).

    And…. bye bye Carlos.

    Kudos go to Hendry and Quade for making “the right move” in giving the youngster the spot. Also kudos have to go to the Ricketts because you know they had to give the OK to eat that much salary. The move didn’t happen in a vacuum, but it was the right decision all around.

    …and Silva showed what a class act he is by smack talking the pitching coach, refusing assignment to the minors, and generally destroying the remainder of what little remained of his trade value with his mouth and attitude.

    Oh well… generally I wish departing players well – but this guy not so much. Good riddance if you ask me.

  • Wickitkevin

    I love Mitch Moreland, big Man crush on him. I was calling for the Cubs to trade for him last Spring Trainning. Works a great count with power and is better at 1B than people give him credit for.

    • paulcatanese

      Yes, and a great compact short swing that generates the power. After watching him play, he would have been a great addition to the Cubs.

  • cubtex

    Very encouraged to see Cashner bounce back after a rocky first and really show what promise he has! Starting is definately the right move for him! I feel good about the Cubs rotation this year….I wish I could feel the same way about the lineup or defense but I think they will be competitive this year.

    • paulcatanese

      The one thing I think you will like about the defense is when Barney and Castro are out there at 2nd and SS. By the way,my resonse to you yesterday of wow wow wow was meant to be funny,nothing more.

      • paulcatanese

        My mistake it was ok ok ok.

  • Coachdon

    Cashner is an awful starter. I would much rather have Coleman as the fifth guy. Cashner will be back in the pen before long.

    • Last_ginger

      Cashner is an awful starter based on what?

    • Tony_Hall

      I like Coleman, but not sure how you can say Cashner is an awful starter?

      Would love to here why you think this?

  • Wickitkevin

    Neil,

    How long is minor league Spring trainning and does it cost anything to go to the games?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Kevin, minor league spring training lasts for about another 10 days and the games are free. In fact, there are usually multiple games at Fitch at the same time.

  • Dorasaga

    Here’s an interesting food of thought to consider while we wonder if Quade is really a “player’s manager” or not?:
    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20110323/sports/703239780/

    It’s a good read, and Quade recalls an event when he was with Jim Leyland, now the manager of Detroit and back then of the Pirates which soon promoted Barry Bonds that year, and their first Spring Training together. I’ll highlight what Leyland said to him:

    ***

    “Leyland found Quade and made his point with him [...],

    ‘Those guys know better. They’re friends of yours. You’re going to have to make some decisions now. Close is good. Too close is not good. Don’t worry about it. You’re fine. Just do your job for me.’ ”

    ***

    Perhaps Quade learned his lesson. It’s in his personality to stay friendly with the players. But not too close, as Leyland, whom back then in 1986 was nobody and needed to earn respect, demonstrated by example.

    • slamdog sadowski

      football fans

  • paulcatanese

    I am not impressed with Pena yet. He has a very small hitting zone where he can drive the ball.That would be middle in and between the waist and knees. Anything else he just tries to pull,resulting in ground balls and misses.I can see where this would be a work in progress for Rudy. I can only assume Rudy is trying to get Pena to drive the ball up the middle,but its a hard thing for someone to have enough confidence in himself to believe that. But until he does he will continue to have a high K rate. He will get his walks and HRs here and there, but on the whole not for average. I know this is supposed to be a one year fix,but I feel he could find a home if he were to adapt and quit thinking about the right field wall. He has more than enough power to hit it out in any field. That low inside pitch that is usually a LH hitters paridise is lost with him because he trys to guide it fair and the swing is out of the correct angle. He can be a good pickup and has great potential,just needs to get his head on straight with his swing.

    • paulcatanese

      If you guys dont believe me about Pena,just ask Rudy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1512275173 Matt Collins
    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1512275173 Matt Collins

      A day after telling Carlos Silva they’d attempt to trade him, the Cubs have released the right-hander, tweets Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.