Cubs Win One, Lose One and Throw the Ball All Over the Place – Cubs 8 A’s 1, Cubs 2 Rockies 4

Spring Training Game Twenty – Cubs (ss) 8 A’s (ss) 1
WP – Trey McNutt (1-0) LP – Brett Anderson (1-2) Save – None

Spring Training Game Twenty-One – Cubs (ss) 2 Rockies 4
WP – Esmil Rogers (1-0) LP – Randy Wells (1-1) Save – None

Q’s crew played their fourth and final split squad games Tuesday.

wflag.jpgThe Cubs pounded the A’s in Phoenix thanks to home runs by Brett Jackson and Tyler Colvin. Welington Castillo also went deep and doubled in his other at bat. Castillo continued his big spring with a 2-for-2 afternoon that included a double, a home run and three RBI.

Andrew Cashner struggled early before settling down. Cashner worked 3 1/3 innings, allowed one run on two hits with three walks, two strikeouts and a hit batsman.

Trey McNutt picked up the exhibition win after tossing 1 2/3 scoreless innings on the day he was assigned to minor league camp.

The Rockies had their way with the Cubs once again this spring. The Cubs offense struggled in Mesa against Esmil Rogers. The Rockies hurler faced the minimum over his five innings of work and allowed just one hit.

The Cubs offense managed only five hits, all singles, before the ninth inning. Steve Clevenger and Jae-Hoon Ha drove in the Cubs two runs in Mesa.

On the mound, Randy Wells continued his impressive spring. Wells allowed three runs, two earned, on three hits with a walk and two strikeouts in five innings. Wells’ miscue in the field opened the door for the Rockies before Alfonso Soriano’s throw from left center ended up in the Rockies dugout down the third baseline. Soriano’s error in the fifth led to the Rockies’ third run of the game.

The win and loss was irrelevant but the performances by Randy Wells and Andrew Cashner were not. Both pitchers did not hurt their chances of being in the Cubs’ Opening Day rotation with their outings Tuesday in the desert.

The Cubs defense was charged with four more errors Tuesday … two in each game. Mike Quade and his staff must figure out a way to make, and/or teach, Major League baseball players to throw and catch a ball the right way. Extra outs cost ballgames, even in Spring Training …

Spring Training Game Twenty – Cubs (ss) 8 A’s (ss) 1

Andrew Cashner was front and center Tuesday in Phoenix … and the young right-hander got off to a rough start.

Coco Crisp led off the game with a double and scored on a single to center by Daric Barton. Two hitters into the game Cashner found himself in a hole. Josh Willingham hit a grounder to short that the Cubs could not complete the double play on. Bryan LaHair dropped the throw.

Hideki Matsui struck out but Cashner walked Kurt Suzuki. With two on and two out, Ryan Sweeney grounded out to end the inning.

Cashner retired the A’s in order in the second. Cashner issued a one out walk to Daric Barton in the third before hitting Josh Willingham. Cashner got out of the jam by inducing a 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Matsui to end the inning.

Cashner took the hill to start the fourth and struck out Kurt Suzuki looking. Cashner then walked Sweeney to end his outing. Mike Quade brought in Trey McNutt to finish the inning.

Brett Jackson tied the game at one in the sixth. Jackson led off the inning with his first homer of the spring. Starlin Castro reached on a throwing error and advanced to second after Jeff Baker worked a walk.

Tyler Colvin grounded into a 3-6 force out that ended Brett Anderson’s afternoon.

Trystan Magnuson took over for Anderson with runners on first and third and two out.

Max Ramirez gave the Cubs the lead with a single to left. Castro scored … 2-1 Cubs.

The exhibition game remained 2-1 until the eighth.

Tyler Colvin and Welington Castillo hit back-to-back homers off Jon Hunton to give the Cubs a 4-1 lead.

The last four runs came courtesy of several of the Cubs top minor league players. Logan Watkins led off the ninth by getting hit by a pitch. Junior Lake singled with one out. Watkins held at second but Bobby Scales worked a walk to load the bases.

Matt Szczur made another appearance and walked to force in Watkins with the Cubs’ fifth run. With the bases loaded and one out, Welington Castillo doubled to left. Lake and Scales scored … 7-1 Cubs. Kyler Burke put the ball in play and grounded out to first, Szczur scored the Cubs eighth and final run. LaHair grounded out to first to end the inning.

Box Score from MLB.com

Spring Training Game Twenty-One – Cubs (ss) 2 Rockies 4

Randy Wells picked up Tuesday afternoon where he left off in his last outing. Wells sat down the Rockies in order in the first on just nine pitches, seven for strikes. Wells retired the first five batters he faced before hitting Chris Iannetta on a 1-2 pitch with two outs in the second.

Wells got out of the second without allowing a hit and threw 13 pitches, six for strikes.

The Cubs first hit came in the bottom of the second … but was quickly erased. Carlos Pena hit against the shift and dropped a single into left. Pena tried to stretch it into a double and was thrown out by Carlos Gonzalez. The Cubs did not manage another baserunner until the sixth inning.

While the Cubs offense was busy hitting groundball after groundball, the Rockies started putting balls in play against Randy Wells.

Carlos Gonzalez reached on a one-out swinging bunt back to Wells in the fourth. Wells fielded the ball but could not get it out of his glove. Gonzalez reached with the Rockies first hit … and ended up scoring the first run of the game.

Jose Lopez singled to right, Gonzalez advanced to third and scored on Todd Helton’s sacrifice fly to the track in left. With Iannetta at the plate, the Cubs caught Lopez in a run down to end the inning.

The Rockies tacked onto their lead in the fifth … with a little help from Alfonso Soriano.

Wells walked Iannetta to start the inning. Chris Nelson flied out to right but Herman Iribarren reached on an infield single … a chopper over Aramis’ head that Matt Camp got to but could not throw out Iribarren.

Esmil Rogers squared to bunt on a 0-1 pitch but pulled the bat back and swung through the pitch. Iannetta broke and was caught in no man’s land. Geovany Soto threw to second, instead of third, and the Rockies catcher broke as soon as he saw Soto throw behind him. Iannetta and Iribarren were credited for a double steal on Soto’s gaffe.

Rogers worked the count to 3-2 before lifting a fly to left center. Soriano positioned himself to make a throw to the plate but the ball ended up in the Rockies dugout. Iannetta scored and Iribarren was awarded home on the error … 3-0 Rockies.

Wells got out of the inning but it was not a good way to end a spring outing.

Carlos Marmol walked the bases loaded in the sixth but got out of the jam without allowing a run … or recording a strikeout.

Kyle Smit completed a scoreless inning of work and worked around another error by Blake DeWitt.

Justin Berg continued to struggle. Berg gave up a run on a hit with two walks in 1 2/3 innings. Jeff Stevens struck out the only batter he faced in the ninth.

The Cubs lone runs of the spring against the Rockies came in the ninth. After Blake DeWitt struck out to start the inning, Tony Campana singled to center and advanced to third on a double to left by Josh Vitters.

Steve Clevenger plated Campana with a sac fly to left and Jae-Hoon Ha doubled in Vitters with the Cubs second and final run. Koyie Hill struck out to end the game.

Pat Listach called the shots in Mesa and saw his group record twice as many hits (8-4) as the Rockies … and score half as many runs (4-2)

Box Score from MLB.com

The Cubs only scheduled day off on the Cactus League schedule is Wednesday. Ryan Dempster is slated to face Gio Gonzalez and the Oakland A’s in Phoenix when the games resume Thursday.

Quote of the Day

"Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome." - Arthur Ashe
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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Hey guys and gals … here’s a response from Disqus on the problems with IE:

    “we’ve isolated what was happening and are preparing a fix by tonight. If you’re interested, it was a quirk/bug with some Internet Explorer browsers which manifested after we made a change. If you’re not able to log in by the morning, try clearing your cookies and cache one more time. To comment in the meantime, kindly enable first party cookies (you can block third party if desired) using this guide: http://docs.disqus.com/help/26/

    Again, our apologies for any hassle and thanks for your patience.”

    Let me know if the problems continue after tonight.

    Thanks to everyone for their patience …

    • GaryLeeT

      Or, just use Firefox, like most rational people.

    • paulcatanese

      Neil,the site seems better than ever now. Sign in is simple,even for me,glad I didnt have to clear my cookies ,oatmeal and peanut butter,very good with hot chocolate.

  • Dorasaga

    Again, I’ll say this: It’s too late to teach a regular Major Leaguer the “D”, the fundamentals, and how to bunt. After thousands of drills and years of practice in the Minor, if the player was ready to learn it, he’ll learn it. Or else, he’ll never learn.

    I say this because of two factors:

    1. The demand, the travel and the necessity for a managerial move to win (even through a forced move), will cut time for practice.

    2. When the player reached the Big, he would usually be older than age 25, which means his body will not grow but naturally degrade (age) from now on.

    Compounded by problems like the mentality and the player’s own skills, if he wasn’t good or potentially good at defense to start with, there’s very little chance that he’ll improve on the Major League level.

    Maybe, this is the Cubs we get?

  • diehardcubfan

    Pending a complete meltdown it looks like Wells and Cashner have locked up the two starting spots. I can live with that.

  • Michael

    Neil, something came across ESPN’s rumor mill that the Cubs and Rangers are in talks about sending over Cashner for Michael Young. Any truth to this RUMOR? Have you heard anything? Thoughts…thanks

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Michael, the origin of that “rumor” was Phil Rogers … so no. Everyone has shot it down.

  • Wickitkevin

    Neil,
    Do you know what the count on Szczur when he took and how has he looked at the plate?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      I’m sorry I do not. He showed patience in one of the earlier split squad games and drove in a run.