The Meltdown in Maryvale – Cubs 5 Brewers 12

Spring Training Game Four – Cubs 5 Brewers 12
WP – Yovani Gallardo (1-0) LP – Carlos Silva (0-1) Save – None

Wednesday was a beautiful day for baseball that soon turned ugly for the Chicago Cubs … both on the field and in the dugout.

The game started on a positive note. Kosuke Fukudome (1-for-2 with a walk and two runs scored) led off with a walk and scored on the Cubs’ first home run of the spring … a two-run shot to left center off the bat of Starlin Castro (2-for-3 with a home run and three RBI). Castro worked the count and drove the ball with authority against one of the best young pitchers in the NL in Yovani Gallardo. But the feel-good start did not last long.

Carlos Silva took the hill in the bottom of the first and it all went downhill from there. Silva was horrible and the defense behind him was worse. Silva walked Craig Counsell to start the game then served up a two-run homer to Luis Cruz on the first pitch of the at bat.

Silva retired Ryan Braun before the Cubs defense fell apart. Prince Fielder reached second on a pop up into shallow left that clanked off Aramis Ramirez’s glove. Prince hustled into second and scored on the first of two home runs on the day by Casey McGehee.

Casey McGehee (3-for-3 with two home runs and four RBI) continues sticking to the team that never gave him a shot.

The Cubs defense committed two more errors in the first to run their spring total to 12, at the time. Silva ended up allowing six runs, three earned, on three hits with a walk in his inning of work. Silva labored through the 34-pitch inning (19 strikes) as the Brewers batted around.

After the inning, Silva reportedly exploded in the dugout and exchanged words with Aramis Ramirez. Silva’s day was over … and so were the Cubs. Silva took the long walk across the field to the Cubs’ bus as Jay Jackson jogged in from the bullpen.

The Cubs played another sloppy game and had trouble throwing strikes. The “defense” and that word should be used loosely, committed five more errors to run their spring total to 14. 14 errors in four games and there could have been more.

Q’s crew appears lackadaisical on the field. And while it is “only” Spring Training, the three teams the Cubs have faced seem a lot more focused on using the exhibition games as a tune-up for the regular season.

As for the action on the field, it was clear to see which team was trying to improve Wednesday afternoon. The Brewers came out swinging against Carlos Silva and took advantage of every extra out the Cubs pathetic defense gave them.

Following Starlin Castro’s home run, Marlon Byrd and Aramis Ramirez grounded out to short and Carlos Pena struck out swinging to end the inning … the Brewers once again shifted for Pena.

Carlos Silva walked Craig Counsell on five pitches to start his outing. Silva grooved a fastball to Luis Cruz and Cruz deposited Silva’s first pitch over the wall in left. Silva appeared to right himself and jammed Ryan Braun on a 0-1 pitch. Braun tapped back to Silva for the first out.

Silva quickly fell behind Prince Fielder 3-0. Fielder popped Silva’s next offering into shallow left. Aramis Ramirez ran over and positioned himself to make the catch but the ball hit off his glove and fell to the ground. Fielder hustled to second on the first error of the inning … the Cubs’ tenth of the spring.

Silva jumped ahead of Casey McGehee 1-2 before leaving a fastball up that McGehee deposited well over the wall in left center. McGehee’s bomb gave the Brewers a 4-2 lead.

George Kottaras reached on a error by Starlin Castro … the second of the inning and 11th for the Cubs this spring. Kottaras hit a routine grounder to Castro that he simply bobbled.

The third error came courtesy of Koyie Hill, which allowed Chris Dickerson to reach. Dickerson hit a 3-2 pitch to Castro and was out by a mile at first but the homeplate ump called catcher’s interference … and the inning continued.

Brandon Boggs blooped Silva’s first offering into left center, Kottaras scored … 5-2 Brewers. Erick Almonte then grounded out to short, Boggs advanced to second and Dickerson scored the Brewers’ sixth run on the play.

Craig Counsell grounded out to first to end the inning.

Carlos Silva went into the dugout and started yelling at a player. Aramis Ramirez jumped in and the two were separated. Silva was done for the day after six runs and 34 pitches.

Jay Jackson continued to be impressive Wednesday. He came in for Silva and sat down the top of the Brewers’ lineup in order on just five pitches … all for strikes.

The Cubs went down in order in the top of the third before James Russell took the hill.

Russell struggled in his first outing of the spring and ended up allowing three runs on five hits with two strikeouts in two innings of work. Russell struggled with his command, especially against right-handed hitters.

Casey McGehee led off the third with his second long home run of the game. Russell fell behind 2-1 before serving up the dinger.

Kottaras flied out to left but lefty Chris Dickerson singled to center on a 1-2 pitch. Russell picked Dickerson off first but Brandon Boggs reached on Aramis Ramirez’s second error of the game … fourth for the Cubs and 13th of the spring.

Ramirez tried to backhand the routine grounder instead of getting in front of the ball. Ramirez had time to play the ball the right way. With Almonte at the plate, Boggs stole second. Russell struck out Almonte swinging on a nice changeup to end the inning. Russell threw 24 pitches in the third, 15 for strikes.

With the Cubs down 7-2, Aramis Ramirez reached on a one-out single in the fourth. Carlos Pena singled through the shift into right center. Alfonso Soriano struck out swinging.

Blake DeWitt was hit in the shoulder to load the bases for Koyie Hill … but the Cubs’ backup catcher struck out looking on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.

James Russell labored through the fifth inning and gave up two more runs. Russell threw 17 pitches, 12 for strikes, and was torched by McGehee again. Luis Cruz reached on a single to left. Ryan Braun lined a hard single into right. Kosuke Fukudome threw to third and not only was his throw late but it was well off the mark. Braun ended up at second on the play.

The Cubs shifted for Fielder and he grounded out to DeWitt in shallow right. Cruz scored, 8-2. McGehee made it 9-2 with a single to left on a 1-0 pitch from Russell. Kottaras fouled out to Hill to end the inning.

The Cubs made it 9-3 in the fifth. Kosuke Fukudome singled to right center on a 3-2 pitch. Starlin Castro followed with a double into right center that rolled all the way to the wall. Fukudome barely scored from first. Marlon Byrd walked but Aramis Ramirez lined out to left and Carlos Pena grounded out to first to end the inning.

Mike Quade made wholesale changes in the bottom of the fifth.

Scott Rice did his job and kept the Brewers off the scoreboard … but struggled with his command.

Alfonso Soriano led off the sixth with his first dinger of the spring … a solo shot to right center. Blake DeWitt singled to left but Koyie Hill grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.

Robert Coello made his spring debut in the sixth with mixed results. Coello gave up a run on two hits with two strikeouts but he threw strikes and kept the ball down. It appears Coello throws a heavy sinker, which could work well at Wrigley. Coello threw 14 pitches in the sixth, 10 for strikes.

Kyle Smit also made his spring debut Wednesday and Smit could not throw strikes. Smit labored through his inning of work and gave up two runs on two hits and a walk. Smit threw 23 pitches, 10 for strikes. Matt Camp committed the Cubs’ fifth error of the game in the seventh, which did not help Smit to get off to a good start.

Jeff Samardzija made his second appearance of the spring Wednesday. Samardzija gave up a hit and threw 12 pitches, eight for strikes.

Brad Snyder made it 12-5 with a long homer over the wall in right. Before Snyder’s blast, the Cubs had made more errors than the runs they scored.

The final score of a Spring Training game is irrelevant but execution and preparation does matter. The Cubs do not appear to be concerned with either right now.

Box Score from MLB.com

The Cubs return to HoHoKam Park Thursday to face the Texas Rangers. Carlos Zambrano will get his second start and Braden Looper is expected to make his spring debut.

Quote of the Day

"No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it to anyone else." - Charles Dickens
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  • paulcatanese

    Unbelievable!!!!!!!

  • Mark

    WOW! You don’t do that Sliva! Come on CUBS, errors are 90% mental at this level. Get your heads out of your asses and play some ball!

  • Ripsnorter1

    It’s going to be a long year. I can see it already.

    Silva: don’t sweat it baby; there’s no need to yell. You made the team. Have another beer and load up on the buffet after the game. There isn’t any weight limit. You have nothing to worry about. 450 lbs or not, the Cubs’ traveling secretary and PR office will list you at a sevlte 250 lbs. Have another ice cream sundae, with extra chocolate and more nuts, too.

    Aram: well, he quit on Lou for the first half, and it looks like he may quit on Q altogether. I am so glad that we aren’t stuck with Casey McGaHee on our team. The guy just stinks. No glove. No bat. No hussle. No desire to win. He’s awful. Great job by Jim Clueless! Attaboy, Jimbo! Dumbo!

    Koyie Hill; WHY? I don’t get it. WHY is he on this team?????

  • Ripsnorter1

    IT say it right here:

    #1 The first four spots of the rotation:
    Dumpster, Z, Garza, Wells.

    #2 Cashner does not make the team out of ST. He goes to AAA to work as a starter. He’ll be back later, but he ain’t goin’ North in April.

    #3 Carlos Silva is your #5 starter out of ST. Yes, you read that right. He won the job today with he stellar performance. I just talked to Jim Clueless, and he gave me the good word. It is a done deal. He’s your #5 starter. Congratulations Carlos. But Jay Jackson WILL NOT make the team out of ST. He will be sent down to Iowa to work on his stuff. He might be called up in June, however.

    #4 I am totally shocked that Carlos Pena got a hit today. Still, I dare say, he ain’t a gonna hit even .230 this year. I am talking that it is possible that he even exceeds last year’s Mr. .196 title. Wouldn’t it be a scream if he hit .196 in 2011?

  • Ripsnorter1

    Did you know . . . .?

    The Cubs could be that rare team that has more erros in 2011 than HR.
    So far in ST it looks like that is going to be a cinch.

    Nobody on the planet looks more disinterested in playing baseball than Mr. Aramis Ramirez. I guess you’d call it a $16 million dollar comma. ANd just think of the stiff competition he had to overcome to win this honor: Carlos Silva’s appetite. In fact the real reason Silva was yelling at Aram this afternoon was that Silva was informed, as he came off the field, that his comma was not nearly as deep as Aram’s. At that Silva belched twice, let off some gas, and then started yelling at Aram for winning the honor of the player in the deepest comma by dropping that pop up. Aram had to be separated from Silva when Silva announced that he was going to eat all of the Boston Creme pie, and not leave any dessert for Aram at the team’s after game buffet.

  • cubtex

    I am not defending the way the Cubs are playing…..Especially defense!!!! But lets put things in perspective here! Not one player has more than 9 AB’s this spring! Most pitchers have only thrown a couple of innings(if that!) People are annointed Jay Jackson as Cy Young with 2 innings pitched with 0 runs and 0 K’s. People are writing off hitters with 4 or 5 AB’s! Give it some time! Let the hitters get some at bats and pitchers some innings!

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      I agree with everything you said. My problem is the way this team has looked on the field. It is early but what I’ve seen is bad baseball. The results do not matter but the effort and execution does.

      On Jay Jackson, if I gave you that impression I apologize. I did not mean to come across that way. With that said, he’s thrown strikes in his two games and if not for an error the other day by Jeff Baker, he would have completed two innings without throwing a ball out of the strike zone. He’s hitting his spots and that is important.

      • Tony_Hall

        You said the magic word, Neil! EFFORT

        EFFORT is the only thing you can control.

        You can’t control a bad hop, a good pitch, a hard liner right at someone.

        You can’t control an umps call, a little floater that falls just between everyone.

        You can’t control anything in this game, except, how much effort you give.

        So why, would any player short change themselves and their team, by not giving the one thing they can control!

        • Dorasaga

          God, Tony, that’s the one I want to see right now. I was checking UZR and Dewan’s plus/minus for the last 3 and 6 and a selected range of years… scrambling logical numbers just so I can see what teams got those good D, and who didn’t (inspired by a comment of Tom U).

          But I’m defied from logic right now. The Cubs need to get mentally strong–the least and most they can and should do–who else can break that 103 years of failure if they don’t?… I needed some good laugh, and here, ripsnorter saved my night…

      • cubtex

        Thanks Neil. Sorry if you thought I directed that comment about Jay Jackson to you. I wasn’t! I was just trying to make a point to let these kids get some more outings before making a judgement on if they are ready or not……or if they are good or bad! You cannot judge any player(even Albert Pujols) on 7 or 8 AB’s

  • Aaron

    Neil,

    Great recap!

    and….

    “Q’s crew appears lackadaisical on the field. And while it is “only” Spring Training, the three teams the Cubs have faced seem a lot more focused on using the exhibition games as a tune-up for the regular season.”

    That is so true, and I have to say that my contention that a “player’s manager/coach” is NOT the ideal way to go.

    When so many players came out in support of him, and they were primarily veterans (I don’t think I saw a single young player coming out in support), red flags had to go up with everyone.

    But ultimately Quade got the gig, and as with EVERY damn Spring Training, we heard stories from the ever-present Cubs’ PR department that players showed up early, and were more dedicated, and this year was supposedly different than previous springs.

    Even Levine bought into that garbage, and came out saying there was a noticeable, better vibe coming out of Cubs camp than in the years under Piniella.

    If you’ll recall, we also heard similar stories about Sosa coming in more dedicated, better teammate, blah blah blah, and guys like Lee and others coming in early with better intensity, etc.

    Neil, I’m too sick of this team to do it, but you might remember more than anyone else…..Can you remember back to your first year on here and the vibe with Spring Training. I would bet some of the same exact things were said then, that were said early this year too.

    All I really want is some sort of plan from Hendry. And I will continue to bitch about he Garza trade, especially when we’re bad like this, because I believe Hendry doesn’t have a plan at all, and he is just continuing a trend of filling holes with veterans instead of utilizing his farm system, and he continues to make ill-advised trades in season’s we’re not even remotely expected or positioned to make a run at the playoffs.

    I would be shocked if Garza has a season that’s better than a 3.85-3.95 ERA….Just as I’d be shocked if Pena has an average over .215 (I actually think it’ll be under .200 again, but I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt with a new league). And yet Hendry paid dearly for Garza, who is nothing more than a solid #3, with nearly 4 top 10 prospects in our system, and he spends $10 million on a 1B that played a FULL season, and had just 95 hits, and a .196 avg.

    I mean…..are you f$#$ing kidding me?!?!?!?!? How does someone do that and still keep their job? I know he was looking for a “make good” 1 year deal, but $5 million was too much, let alone $10 million. Only in Hendry’s world is a player like that worth that kind of cheese. I mean, this is the same GM that dealt his top pitching prospect (at the time…Jose Ceda) for Kevin Gregg, who EVERYBODY knew was going to be non-tendered, and thus a FA. Then he signed Miles, who had just come off a career year, and even the Cardinals wouldn’t give him more than 1 year. That should’ve been a red flag right there, but Hendry gives him 2 years and over $5 million. He then drastically over-bids for Bradley, going 3 yrs $30 million when nobody was willing to go over 2 years for him.

    Overpaying in both dollars and prospects to get the guy he wants is Hendry’s way of doing business, and it’s detrimental to the long-term success of the Chicago National League ballclub.

    In fact, if I’m Ricketts, after watching this team even for just a few games this spring, I fire Hendry, because it’s a downright embarrassing to watch this team.

    Fact is, Ricketts should’ve fired him immediately when he took over the team, and CERTAINLY after last season….But he stuck with the status quo, and you don’t progress as an organization with a guy that admitted himself that he doesn’t even use stats to make his decisions, and relies mostly on the eyeball test and word from his scouts.

    If they wanted to take inventory of what Cubs fans truly thought of the team’s direction, all they had to do was look at attendance numbers near the end of the year, as well as the Convention, and now, they’re probably feeling very uncomfortable with the first few Spring Training games in Mesa with extremely low attendance numbers.

    It looks my original assessment of Cubs fans as “lemmings” might be wrong. I think Cubs Nation is starting to wake up, and demand better results on the field, which is a VERY good thing.

    The Cubs are trending downward, while the White Sox are trending up, with very wise trades, free agent signings, and hirings over the last decade. I hate to say it, but the Ricketts are playing with fire, and are damn close to losing this town, especially if the White Sox either make the playoffs or another World Series run while the Cubs are out of the race as early as the beginning of May (my prediction).

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Aaron, I do remember the first spring of the site and you are right. Five years later and a lot of the same things are being said.

      For the record, Levine was not the only one to say that, Kaplan and others were on board with the better vibe in camp.

      It will be interesting to see if anything changes over the next week. I will say this, I spoke with someone today that told me there is concern about the play on the field but they are trying not to push the panic button.By no means is it panic time but just a game without an error would go a long way right now.

      • Cheryl

        The vibes I can understand, especially with the debacle today. The question they ust address is the future. If they can’t do any better with the past team, then it’s time to commit to a future team. But Idoubt it will happen given what’s already taking place.

      • studio179

        There should be a concern with the play on the field. My concern is the non focus of this team. This is a new manager who insisted and talked for a few months about fundamental baseball. The team front office and vet players sang his praises how he is ‘hands on’ and will stress fundamentals. Yes, it is early. However, it seems this team has come to camp not focused and not tuning in the new manager’s wish list of how to play baseball. That is an immediate concern for me. Ofcourse, Quade is not causing sloppy play. But he better give the troops another talk on what is and what is not acceptable. Obviously, his opening talk way, way back a whopping couple weeks ago was not so much. It is early spring training and plenty of time to correct things. No panic, but Quade needs to step up here.

  • Wickitkevin

    Neil,

    I meant to ask you the other day, How did Cashner’s secondary pitches look?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      I only saw fastballs and changeups Monday, I do not recall any breaking pitches, which is pretty common for the first outing of the spring. What I saw was fine, he seemed to be over throwing just a bit.

  • Ruchickenlips

    same old cubs== good luck this season