Q’s Crew Pounded in Spring Finale – Cubs 8 Diamondbacks 15

Spring Training Game Thirty-Three – Cubs 8 Diamondbacks 15
WP – Joe Saunders (1-3) LP – Matt Garza (1-4) Save – None

The Cubs completed their 34-game Cactus League schedule by dropping the final three contests of the spring. Q’s crew finished an inconsistent camp with an incredibly strange, offensive day at HoHoKam Park.

Typically the final Spring Training game ends before it ever has a chance to begin. Most walk to the plate swinging just looking to end the exhibition season as soon as possible … but not this year. Tuesday’s finale lasted three hours and 31 minutes with the first five innings taking over two hours.

The Cubs and Diamondbacks scored a combined 23 runs (20 in the first five innings) on 26 hits with 11 walks and four hits batsmen. Both teams put together sloppy performances in a meaningless game that felt like would never end.

Matt Garza was lit up again in his three-plus innings of work. Garza threw a lot of pitches (91, 63 for strikes) against the free-swinging D-Backs. Garza gave up four runs in the first three innings before taking the mound to start the fourth. Garza surrendered a double to Kelly Johnson before walking the bases loaded and turning the game over to Scott Maine. Maine closed the book on Garza by serving up a 3-2 pitch to Xavier Nady that ended up over the wall in center. Nady’s slam gave Arizona an 8-5 lead and they never looked back.

Matt Garza had a very strange outing. The first eight hits he allowed were soft-hit or bloop singles … and seven of the nine outs he recorded Tuesday came via a strikeout. Only two outs Garza recorded were on balls put in play.

Garza’s final line in his last spring outing … seven runs on 11 hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in three-plus innings.

Scott Maine was horrible Tuesday in relief of Garza. Maine served up three home runs in his inning of work … a Grand Slam to Xavier Nady, a three-run jack by Kelly Johnson and a solo shot by David Winfree.

Jeff Samardzija was not much better than his predecessors. Samardzija allowed two runs on two hits and three walks in an inning of work … with only one strikeout.

Sean Marshall and Kerry Wood provided the Cubs only pitching highlights. Marshall retired all three batters he faced in the eighth … and Wood did the same in the ninth.

The Cubs offense actually scored more runs (and nearly as many walks) as the amount of hits they recorded. Q’s crew scored eight runs on seven hits with six walks and three hit batsmen… but managed only one baserunner over the last three innings.

Carlos Pena (1-for-2 with a double, a walk and three RBI) drove in three of the Cubs eight runs with a bases clearing double in the third. Jeff Baker had a huge day as well and drove in two with a 2-for-3 afternoon. Aramis Ramirez reached base all three times with a RBI single and a pair of walks.

Due to the cancellation of the game in Phoenix on March 23, the Cubs finished their 2011 Cactus League schedule with a 14-19 record in 33 games played …

The best part about Tuesday was that the Cubs finished the exhibition season for the most part very healthy. Jeff Baker and Marlon Byrd have nagging injuries but Baker’s sore left hamstring and Byrd’s stiff back does not appear to be serious injuries.

The Diamondbacks took it to the Cubs all afternoon but thankfully a majority of the players the Cubs will face seven times over the first month of the season was not on the field Tuesday.

Matt Garza labored through a 23-pitch first inning due to four groundball singles.

A.J. Pollock led off with a single to center on a 0-1 pitch. Kirk Gibson called for a hit and run with Kelly Johnson at the plate. Johnson delivered a single to center and advanced Pollock to third on the play.

Juan Miranda struck out swinging but Miguel Montero singled to left on a 0-1 pitch. Pollock scored … 1-0 Diamondbacks. Xavier Nady loaded the bases with a softly hit grounder up the middle. Jeff Baker kept the ball from leaving the infield … and saved a run.

Garza struck out Ryan Wheeler and David Winfree to end the inning.

The D-Backs threatened again in the second after back-to-back two out singles by Pollock and Johnson but Garza retired Miranda on a fly out to left to end the inning. Garza threw 21 pitches in the second, 16 for strikes.

The Diamondbacks took a 4-0 lead in the third.

After Miguel Montero struck out to start the inning, Xavier Nady blooped a single into right … Wheeler blooped a single into center then David Winfree hit a rocket over the wall in left … 4-0 Arizona. Garza struck out Cody Ransom before surrendering his tenth hit of the game to Joe Saunders … a bloop into left field. Garza struck out Pollock to end the inning.

The Cubs finally got a hit in the bottom of third … and actually took a brief 5-4 lead.

Joe Saunders hit Reed Johnson on a 0-2 pitch. Starlin Castro then doubled down the left field line on a 3-1 offering. Jeff Baker singled in Johnson and Aramis Ramirez singled in Starlin Castro.

Geovany Soto singled to left on a 2-2 pitch to load the bases.

With one out and the Cubs down 4-2, Carlos Pena ripped a double into left center on a 0-2 pitch. Baker, Ramirez and Soto scored and gave the Cubs a 5-4 lead. Alfonso Soriano popped out (0-for-3 with a strikeout and five left on base) and Tyler Colvin (0-for-4 with a walk, two strikeouts and four left on base) struck out swinging to end the inning.

The game slowed to a snail’s pace after the bottom of the third.

Arizona sent 11 to the plate in the eight-run fourth and hit three home runs … a Grand Slam by Xavier Nady off Scott Maine on a 3-2 pitch. A solo shot by David Winfree and a three-run jack by Kelly Johnson on a 3-2 pitch. Maine kept falling behind and Arizona kept launching his mistakes out of HoHoKam Park.

The Cubs scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth on a RBI single by Jeff Baker, a sac fly by Geovany Soto and a bases loaded balk by Joe Paterson with Alfonso Soriano at the plate.

Practice is just about over for Q’s crew … beginning Friday every pitch, every at bat and every inning counts.

Box Score from MLB.com

Randy Wells will get his work in during the Cubs Intrasquad game at HoHoKam Park Wednesday. The scrimmage begins at 1:00pm CDT. Following the final practice of the spring, the Cubs depart for Chicago. Q’s crew will workout at Wrigley Thursday … and the first pitch of the 2011 season is Friday at 1:20pm CDT.

Ryan Dempster will face Kevin Correia and the Pittsburgh Pirates on Opening Day.

Quote of the Day

"Sometimes you have to stop worrying, wondering, and doubting and just have faith that things will work out." - Steve Jobs
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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    More from Garza:

    “You grab a ball and you feel like you’re throwing slime because it’s so slippery and you can’t get anything on your fingers — not enough spit or rosin or nothing, it dries out right away,” he said. “That’s not the reason I threw why I did. … I feel great and the ball is coming out of my hand the way I like. Hopefully, my luck turns.”

    http://muskat.mlblogs.com/2011/03/29/329-its-a-dry-heat/

    • GrantJones7

      When will it actualy be his fault? And not the mound, ball, ect?
      Jeez, its going to be a long season! And we gave up Archer and HJ Lee for him!

  • diehardcubfan

    Glad we gave up Archer and Lee for Garza. I sure hope he turns it around or it will really be a long year.

    • studio179

      Well, Hendry could pick up someone off the scrap heap and give them a chance. Does Silva have a job yet?

      Kidding…bad joke.

      • Redlarczykg

        Garza ERA 10.38 – 35 hits in 21.2 in
        Silva ERA 10.90 – 32 hits in 17.1 in
        Boy aren’t we lucky to be rid of Silva? JH gives up half the farm for a guy in love with with fast ball. Problem is all the hitters love his fast bal too.

        But don’t worry, I hear the air is getting thicker at Wrigley.

    • Tony_Hall

      Don’t forget Chirinos! (I know their were others as well, a hole basketball team!)

  • cubtex

    What do you think the Red Sox blogs are saying about some of their top players who are having bad springs…. See below

    Carl Crawford- Argueably the top Free Agent signing this offseason!

    BA .208 Only 1 extra base hit( a double) in 48 at bats.

    Do you think the fans are saying…..He sucks! What a waste of money! He can’t play! He will have a terrible year because he hit .208!

    Kevin Youkilis He hit a stellar .189. Does anyone think he will hit .189 this year for Boston? Do you think some fans are saying he sucks?

    Josh Beckett He is 0 – 4 with a 6.64 ERA. Hey at least Garza won a game :) I guess Beckett won’t win any games this year for Boston.

    Do you see how ridiculous it is to rate veterans on spring training???? Yes for rookies it is important. Carl Crawford is being talked about as a possible MVP candidate for the AL. According to many people on here…(I won’t name names) that is impossible because he had a bad spring training. Do you see how laughable some of these posts are?

    I am glad spring training is over so we can judge players when it counts!!!

    • carmelo

      Great post—-glad you put these stats in so the new G.M. of the Cubs, Aaron, can see these and comment on how stupid Theo is and how bad the Red Sox are. Again, thanks for a look at what spring training is really all about.

      • cubtex

        And the Royals finished in 1st place for the Cactus League with a 20-10-1 Record.

        Should we buy are World Series Tickets Now???? ha ha ha

        • Ripsnorter1

          Royals ERA was 4.57 with 275 IP and 302 hits allowed. Their pitching is awful, and they won’t go anywhere.

          • cubtex

            It was a joke Rip!

      • Aaron

        I rarely do this….but just had to post this for you. I have to laugh at what you say, because never once have you even added anything of substance to any discussion other than to argue with me, and bash me. You don’t even back up what you say….it’s kind of like a drive-by, because you don’t seem intelligent enough to have a conversation…but it is what it is…..I’m including this research for you, since you seem to not want to do any for yourself…

        Enjoy….and go back to your crib, and put in your pacifier….stop being such a crybaby about my posts, and understand that you can still be a fan of your team while be critical of management:

        **********************************************************************************
        Here’s my prediction:

        Dempster=16 wins
        Zambrano=14 wins
        Garza=8 wins
        Wells=10 wins
        Cashner=8 wins

        The problem, however, with any of these predictions, is that the Cubs offense is so wildly inconsistent, and was particularly dreadful in quality starts amongst Cubs pitchers like Lilly and Wells especially last year, that their records didn’t reflect how well they pitched at times.

        Dempster and Zambrano both got 4.8 in run support per game started last year. Wells had a pathetic 3.4 run support. (8-14, 4.26 ERA). But get this…..while with the Cubs last year, Lilly had just 2.7 in run support per game…even worse than Wells (3-8, 3.69 ERA with Cubs, 7-4, 3.52 ERA with Dodgers, along with 3.4 in run support…which was nearly as bad as the Cubs, but almost 1 run more per game than the Cubs gave him, and you can see with his record how well he did. Using that same ratio, he should’ve been 14-8 overall, which would’ve been more in line with his production levels since signing with the Cubs)

        Mike Quade and Jim Hendry are both old school idiots…sorry for using those terms…just couldn’t think of anything else to describe them at the moment.

        Bottom line is they’ve both come out and said that “pitching wins ballgames”….

        In theory, that’s correct, but that assumes that your team can score more than 4 runs on a daily basis. Why? Because above average pitching is measured by those that have less than 4.00 ERA’s. It is a rarity that starting pitchers have less than a 3.00 ERA. And that’s why I believe there is a very fine line between an Ace-caliber pitcher, and one that is above average, such as a Matt Garza, etc.

        Here’s a list of the ERA leaders that past 10 seasons:
        2010 (NL AL) Josh Johnson (FLA) 2.30 Felix Hernandez (SEA) 2.27
        2009 (NL AL) Chris Carpenter (STL) 2.24 Zack Greinke (KCR) 2.16
        2008 (NL AL) Johan Santana * (NYM) 2.53 Cliff Lee * (CLE) 2.54
        2007 (NL AL) Jake Peavy (SDP) 2.54 John Lackey (LAA) 3.01
        2006 (NL AL) Roy Oswalt (HOU) 2.98 Johan Santana * (MIN) 2.77
        2005 (NL AL) Roger Clemens (HOU) 1.87 Kevin Millwood (CLE) 2.86
        2004 (NL AL) Jake Peavy (SDP) 2.27 Johan Santana * (MIN) 2.61
        2003 (NL AL) Jason Schmidt (SFG) 2.34 Pedro Martinez (BOS) 2.22
        2002 (NL AL) Randy Johnson * (ARI) 2.32 Pedro Martinez (BOS) 2.26
        2001 (NL AL) Randy Johnson * (ARI) 2.49 Freddy Garcia (SEA) 3.05
        2000 (NL AL) Kevin Brown (LAD) 2.58 Pedro Martinez (BOS) 1.74

        If you’re an Ace starter, it doesn’t matter if your team is near the bottom of the league in runs scored, provided that your ERA is under 3. Even the worst offensive teams score about 3 runs per game, therefore your chances of winning are exponentially higher than they’d otherwise be with just an above average pitcher.

        However, the Cubs have just 2 pitchers in their rotation that have ever achieved success like that, and they’ve both done it just one time in their respective careers. Zambrano 16-8, 2.75 ERA in 2004. Dempster 17-6, 2.96 ERA in 2008.

        They like to claim they have one of the best rotations in the league, but unfortunately, they only have a group of 3 sure-fire above league averages pitchers, one borderline (Wells), and one unknown (Cashner). If you combine that with a bottom of the barrel offense, which is PRECISELY what the Cubs have, then all three of Dempster, Zambrano, and Garza need to pitch like Aces, meaning ERA’s under 3, and both Wells and Cashner need to be above league average for them to even have a chance.

        Last year, with almost EXACTLY the same lineup they’re running out there this year, the Cubs averaged 4.22 runs per game on offense. Their collective team ERA was 4.24, which is all you need to know for how crappy their offense really was. To put this into perspective for you, the Giants averaged just 4.30 runs per game on offense, but their collective team ERA was 3.36. Their opponent, the Rangers, averaged 4.85 on offense, and a collective 3.93 ERA

        The other big problem with the Cubs last year was the fact Marshall and Marmol were the ONLY relievers (other than Maine’s 13 game stint) to have ERA’s under 4.11 (2.65 and 2.55 respectively)

        Let’s just say one of your above average pitchers happen to go 7 innings and give up 3 runs. A relief pitcher with an approximate ERA of 4.00 gives up .44 runs/9 IP, which means if you put them back-to-back, you can expect 1 more run to be given up by your pen on a daily basis (in the Cubs’ case, it was actually more than that, as most of their relievers had 5.66 ERA’s and above) So, with the final 3 innings, they were looking at about 1.32 runs….which takes you right near the 4.24 collective ERA I just mentioned.

        In order for the Cubs to succeed this year, they not only have to have “Ace” quality seasons and the above average seasons out of all their starters, but they also must have at least 4 relievers they can count on with ERA’s under 3 to even have a prayer winning games, due to their pathetic offense.

        This analysis I just did describes but a microcosm of problems that have plagued Hendry’s regime since he took over. When you put together a team, you want to make sure you have quite a few consistent performers mixed in, otherwise you’re relying on a bunch of players to have career years, and as everyone knows, that is NOT a strategy.

        “HOPE” is NOT a strategy…let me say that again…..”HOPE” is NOT a strategy. I guess the citizens of this country didn’t understand that 3 years ago…but that’s another topic for another day….even the Ricketts when they purchased the team said hope was not a strategy any longer…unfortunately they have yet to put that into practice, otherwise Hendry would’ve been jettisoned Day One.
        **********************************************************************************

        • cc002600

          you rarely do what ? call people names ???????
          would everyday be considered “rare” ?

          cubtex hit the nail on the head….spring training stats are COMPLETELY MEANINGLESS !!!!!!!!!!!

          look at the white sox….they ended up like 11-19 or something….

          do they suck ???
          You told us Adam Dunn is a stud…..shouldn’t they win it all now ???

          look in the mirrior.

        • cc002600

          just curious, since you know everything…..

          where do cubs finish ?
          How about Cards, Brew crew, and Reds ? how many wins for each ?

        • carmelo

          Showing your true colors with your name calling—still waiting for you to get that GM job.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Carl Crawford will have an off year in 2011.

      • cubtex

        ha ha ha! let me guess? based on spring training? you and aaron are at least consistent in your reasoning….I’ll give you that!

    • diehardcubfan

      Yes, you are right, ST is not a good gauge for how a veteran will perform in the regular season.

      My point is what the Matt Garza trade was the wrong place and time. Not worth the cost.

      We are in no position to contend. We can’t hit and we can’t catch. That will not change. Soriano is not going to have a good year. I wonder if Pena will even reach the Mendoza line for BA. Aram will probably do Ok but he is past his prime.

      Only Castro and Colvin have significant upside. Soto, I expect about the same from last year.

      I think the projections are right on the Cubs to be 80-82. The only reason it will even be that is the pitching and nothing else.

  • Ripsnorter1

    So ST is done for 2011, and these facts remain:

    Cubs led the NL teams in BB. That’s the only category we led in.
    Cubs were dead last in stolen bases with 7, and 8 CS. Padres led with 39 steals.

    In most offensive categories the Cubs were 8th, or 9th or 10th out of 16 NL teams.
    We have another weak offensive team.

    Pitching stats for 2011 ST:
    For wins, Cubs were 11th of 16 teams with 14 wins. :Pirates were last with 11.
    ST demos how much talent you have on your roster. This shows us the Cubs are more than halfway down in the NL.

    Our 5.70 ERA was ahead only of the Diamondbacks’ 5.86. And if you want to tell me that ST means nothing, well then, Atlanta’s #1 ERA of 2.78 doesn’t mean that they have a good pitching staff, either. LOL

    More good news: we were #5 in K’s, so it shows our staff has some good young arms. But they are erratic arms: we were #4 in BB with 118 (Diamondbacks led with 128).

    Our pitchers hit 15 batters, good for #4 in the league, again, behind the terrible Diamondbacks’ 23.

    We gave up 34 HR, #4 in the league behind–you guessed it–Arizona’s terrible staff which gave up 43.

    We gave up 211 ER, ranking #2 for most allowed, behind, er, ah, Arizona’s terrible staff which gave up 237.

    Our staff was 9th for slugging against. Braves had the best staff with .328. We were .445 (horrible) and Arizona was dead last with .488.

    The league hit .290 vs our staff (12th), only :Pittsburgh, Arizona, Houston and the Reds were worst.

    All of this ought to tell you something, folks. We are going to have pitching problems AGAIN in 2011 with a weak bullpen. Look at the non ML quality we have in the pen: Samardzija (he’s awful, to be polite about it); Russell (he’s 23 this year, but not quite ready); Grabow (may be better than last year, but last year was so awful that only a $7.5 million dollar pitcher could pitch that poorly and still be on a ML roster).

    That’s three potential losers. Now let’s look at the wild card in the deck: Marcos Mateo.
    When the Cubs grabbed him in 2007, he weighed in at 160. Now he’s 27 and 220 lbs of Carlos Silva clone. But he tosses the ball at 94-100 MPH, has a wicked slider, and may have finally figured it all out. In winter ball the league hit him at a sub-.200 rate. ST also was kind to Mateo: .143 BAA.

    He could be the next Angel Guzman: electric stuff that shuts down the opposition.

    Let’s Go! BATTER UP!

    • cubtex

      Thanks Rip. I guess we don’t need to watch the season now! OK lets see.. the league hit over .290 vs the Cubs,Pirates,Astros and Reds. The Brewers have Greinke out and the Cardinals are without Wainwright.HMMMM.

      I guess according to your logic the Cardinals and Brewers battle it out in the Central. Thanks….

      The Royals win the World Series since they won the Cactus League!!
      Garza will suck!
      Crawford will suck!
      Youkilis will suck!
      Uggla will suck!
      Theriot will suck(well he does but he hit .172 this spring)

      Thank god spring training is over so we can stop with this idiocy!

      • Ripsnorter1

        Relax, Cubtex. ST let’s you know how good your 40 man roster is. It shows us that our’s has some way to go to be real competitive. It may show that Beckett will stink up the joint in 2011, and Crawford, coming off the insane contract, will doubtlessly fall off 25% for his career average.

        Now we’ll watch the games and see how right we are. The fun part of the MLB season is being your own GM and projecting what will happen.

        How many games do you see the Cubs winning in 2011?

        • cc002600

          no it doesn’t
          ST means ZERO.

      • Aaron

        What I want to know is why you seem to be so confident the Cubs will be above average this year (meaning having a chance at the playoffs). What are you going off of?

        Are you talking about Pena, Soriano, and ARAM in their prime? Are you talking about Zambrano, Dempster, and Garza equaling their career bests?

        I’m just curious…because if you’re confident they’ll reach those numbers, then I absolutely agree with your assessment that they’ll be at the top of the division and in the race all year.

        But if that’s not what you’re saying, then I have absolutely no idea why you, Carmelo, and others seem to argue with a lot of us on here like me, Rip, Paul, Bryan, and others, because if you don’t think they’re going to make the playoffs, or finish above .500, then that’s PRECISELY what we’re saying, and we’ve used stats (myself especially) to back up our case regarding that.

        The feeling I get from you and Carmelo is that you’re very idealistic. In other words, “Ideally, Soriano hits 40 hr, 100 RBI, Pena returns to his peak at 40+hr, 100+RBI, ARAM is healthy and returns to career averages of 30 hr, 100 RBI, and Fukudome FINALLY figures out MLB pitching.”

        That’s all great, but it’s also living in a dream world. If that’s where you want to live, then go do it…let us vent, and we’ll let you keep dreaming….but arguing with us by not using any hard evidence really doesn’t do this site justice. It’s a forum for healthy debate….always has been, and always should be.

        If you disagree with Rip, then the logical thing to do would be researching top Spring Training teams throughout the years and top performers, and seeing where they ended up in the regular season. Similarly, looking at the poor performers during Spring Training (both teams and players) and seeing where they ended up in the regular season.

        I happen to look at historical stats, sample size (if they’ve got MLB experience under them), and Spring Training results while evaluating both players and teams. I’m telling you the Cubs offense in 2011 resembles the 2010 offense. The ONLY thing that might be different is if ARAM stays healthy and gets 20 more RBI than last year, which would put him over 100. Other than that, it’s the same damn lineup (even Pena, who had the same offensive production as Lee did last year). Additionally, if Garza, Zambrano, and Dempster all morph into Ace pitchers in the same year, the Cubs have a different team…otherwise, it’s the same.

        • cc002600

          ANYTHING can happen….do i think cubs win divsion ? no
          but I think they will be decent….so maybe 84-85 wins. Their pitching, top to botttom could be the best in that horrible divsion…..and yes, their offense will struggle, I agree. but again, look at the other NL central teams, they all have HUGE issues.

          • Aaron

            well..I guess you post under both cc002600 and Cubtex….pretty sure that’s who I was addressing the question to. I guess it makes sense. You guys seem to post the same damn thing

          • cubtex

            NO! I guess cc002600 is just pretty intelligent!!!! Ha

        • cubtex

          Aaron- The real issue you have is that you are not projecting anyone to have a good or above average year based on last year except…ARAM(who you say if healthy will have 20 more RBI)

          You are SO Negative that you are not at all realistic.As I said dude….pick another team. You got some real anger issues and probably wake up everymorning and kick your dog! Try enjoying life dude…..Life is too short to wake up everyday and bitch and moan. I feel like I am talking to one of my employees here :)

          Anyway back to my point..

          Z,Dempster and Garza will win 45 games between them. Unrealistic? I don’t think so. For some reason…you think Garza had a career year at age 26? He will never win 15 games again? I don’t agree!

          You call Soriano a 8th place hitter….Ridiculous
          You say Pena won’t hit close to 30 and drive in close to 90….Why? In an awful year for him last year he hit 28 and 84.
          You say Castro will slump? Based on What? A hunch
          You say Covin will not be as good? Based on What? A hunch

          I can go on and on Aaron…but the season starts next month and everyone is 0-0 right now. Is it possible the Cubs can win the division this year?? Your damn right it is possible! Things have already happened with injuries within the division. Players can have career years!

          Relax and enjoy life dude! Have a Great Day!

          • Tony_Hall

            Z, Dempster, and Garza will win 45 games. 15 each right.

            Only 24 pitchers in ALL of baseball won 15 games last year.

            Yankees Top 3 in wins (46 total)
            Tampa Top 3 in wins (47 total)

            These were both teams that have big offenses, that won a lot of games. I’m sure there were more teams that had their Top 3 win 45 games, I just don’t see this Cubs offense, scoring enough runs, to get the Top 3 starters 45 wins.

          • cubtex

            Yes Tony and 2 of those 24 pitchers from last year are named Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza!!!

          • Tony_Hall

            Yes they did. Please remember that Garza won 4 games in June with a 6.83 ERA. He won’t win those games with the Cubs pitching like that.

            Also, for those 3 to win 45, it would mean the Cubs are winning 90+ games. I haven’t done the research, but in the recent seasons (with the pitch counts, and expanded bullpens) if a team has 3 guys total 45+ wins (and I am not counting when 2 guys did the majority of the work) that teams have won 90+ games.

  • BosephHeyden

    I’m not sold on Matt Garza. If he didn’t throw a no-hitter, we wouldn’t even have talked about him this off-season. He will lose about a point in ERA simply from moving to the NL, but he just kinda strikes me as “meh”. Don’t get me wrong: the prospects we gave out are just that: prospects. That they were in our system was the only reason we care about them, and if another team gave up those same players for him, we’d still be hailing the move as a good one.

    Still, Matt Garza does not a franchise make. They need offense, and unless Carlos Pena supplements Marlon Byrd, Tyler Colvin, and Starlin Castro, this will be a long season. Thankfully, I work afternoons and nights now :).

  • Gary J

    The theme of the day seems to be “back up your arguments” – and to me I’m in full agreement with Cubstex…. spring training numbers are not indicative of regular season performance.

    But let’s look at last year… 2010 Cubs played .650 ball in the spring – good for fifth in the majors… we know how 2010 turned out. The Indians were both better (.732 in ST) and worse (69-93 regular season) than the Cubbies. But at the same time the other top five teams in the spring – Rays, Padres, Giants – all did pretty well for themselves.

    So it depends on how you swing things… the world series champ was in the top five. But you have to look at the full picture. Records, numbers, stats… to me it’s irrelevant.

    But let’s put up some number for 2010 spring training and you tell me how they did in the season last year…

    CC Sabathia: 7.23
    AJ Burnett: 5.12
    Adam Wainwright: 6.14
    Justin Verlander: 5.48
    Cris Carpenter: 5.40
    Tim Linecum: 6.94
    Jake Peavy: 6.55
    Josh Johnson: 5.82
    Dan Haren: 5.25

    I’m not taking credit for compiling the list myself… I’m not that motivated LOL. But I found a great quote out on the article that had those stats…

    Vin Scully: “Stats can sometimes be like a drunk leaning on a lamppost. They are used more for support than illumination.”

    • Dorasaga

      Scully didn’t say that, and he most likely didn’t mean that, either. People who believed themselves as “insiders”, complicated by their “followers,” have been misquoting, bashing, and abusing statistical analysis with quotes like Scully’s.

      I just happened to have found as close as the quote should have meant:

      “[...] Scottish poet Andrew Lang who said, ‘An unsophisticated forecaster uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts — for support rather than illumination.’ Lang died in 1912, long before WAR or VORP or xFIP or wOBA or Win Shares or any of the other stats people try to mock with the quote. Even when Vin Scully first said it, that was also before WAR or VORP or xFIP or wOBA or Win Shares. [...]”

      http://joeposnanski.si.com/2011/03/19/lamp-posts-2/

      This is a great read, with a fun ending. Enjoy.

      • Gary J

        Actually Scully DID say it – he just wasn’t the first to do so as you’ve pointed out. The second paragraph of the article you linked does in fact attribute the quote to Scully – but then goes further to give credit to the poet as the originator. Many times someone will paraphrase a quote and get the credit…. much like me listening to the Beatles the other day (was listening to an oldies station) and although I don’t remember the song, my daughter walked in and said “who’s that doing the remake of that (insert 19 year old flash in the pan singer here) song?”

        And yes – loved the ending – it kind of illustrated my point :-)

        “In other words: Stick with batting average if you like. Quote wins if you want. Enjoy the game because, damn it, that’s why they play the game. But I would suggest that at the very least you keep the superiority levels to a minimum. Because there’s a pretty good chance when you quote batting average and wins and RBIs and the like as definitive and authoritative and certain … well let’s just say you probably ought to hold on to a lamp-post.”

        Thanks for posting that by the way Dorsaga – now going to poke through his other posts as I like his writing style.

        • Dorasaga

          My bad. I meant Scully didn’t say that first. I’m too lazy to spell check and edit my syntax. I’ll be glad to share more writings like this, serve us well, get through the day.

  • Tony_Hall

    Guys – Couple of things.

    1) ST stats don’t matter, the games don’t matter

    2) ST records don’t matter

    3) ST is about getting ready for the season.

    OK – but ST is not a time to work on new excuses either. The part about Garza that is most troubling, is the constant excuses.

    C’MON MAN!!!!!

    Just say he had a bad spring and move on.

    Garza is a good pitcher, who, should have a good year. Notice I haven’t said great, because he is not. He should have a great start to the year (cold weather, wind blows in more thatn out in April/May) but I am more concerend about his June-August outings, when the wind blows out, and the ball caries.

    But if what you have watched, listened to, read about, doesn’t concern you this spring, then you have added the new to the market, Cubbie hearing aides, to go with your Cubbie Goggles and Cubbie Kool-Aide.

    Either way, let’s get to some real games, that do count, so at least we can disqus the games that go up on the board.

    • paulcatanese

      The real test is today,Cubs against the Cubs, how does Quade determine any thing today? This one REALLY dosent count. Could turn out to be 0-0. And if Quade were smart he would ship Garza back to Chicago ahead of everyone else. Then he can check out Wrigley with his notebook. Sun shines in my eyes here,mound slick over there, infield slopes here,Fans in his eyes here,too cold to grip ball there,etc,etc,etc.How many starts will determine the amount of excuses he will need,and if he takes notes now he can be in time for twitter. And guys,I didnt start this bashing of Garza,he did with his big mouth. My advice to him,just shut up and throw the ball and let youre ability speak for you.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Thursday Neil posts the predictions for the Cubs for 2011. Everyone here will get his chance to say what he thinks. I am looking forward to it. I hope that Aaron, Cubtex, and all of those who post here will make their predictions, and tell us why. I’d be interested in seeing what ya’ll will post for wins for each of our five starters: Z, Dempster, Garza, Wells, and Cashner. Also I’d love to hear predictions for Mr. .196, too.

  • Tony_Hall

    Luis Castillo is on the FA market again.

    The Phillies released him today.

    • Gary J

      And Max Ramirez cleared waivers today and is safely nestled in the cubs minor league system.

  • Cheryl

    I think I’ll revise my estimate on what the cubs will win. With Dempster, Zambrano, Garza and Wells, plus Cashner I think I’ll up the total to 80 wins. Of course the biggest question is how well the offense will do.

  • Patrick_Schaefer

    RT @CSNMooney Max Ramirez clears waivers and #Cubs outright catcher to Triple-A Iowa. Their 40-man roster is now at 37 players. about an hour ago