Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. White Sox – 03/11/11

Spring Training Game Fourteen: Cubs (5-8) vs. White Sox (5-7-1)
Game Time – 2:05pm CST
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet (Sox), MLB Network – Radio: webcast
Location – Camelback Ranch, Glendale

Ryan Dempster (0-0, 2.57/0.86) vs. Mark Buehrle (0-1, 9.00/1.80)

Updated – 11:36am CSTAccording to multiple reports, the Cubs optioned John Gaub and Esmailin Caridad to Triple-A Iowa Friday morning. With Gaub and Caridad optioned out of big league camp, the Cubs Spring Training roster was reduced from 60 to 58 players.

It is the Cubs vs. the Sox for the first time in 2011 …

Ryan Dempster will make his third start of the spring. Dempster has been solid so far but has struggled against the White Sox over the course of his Cubs’ career. After throwing three and four innings in his first two starts, Dempster should be slated to pitch the first five innings of today’s game.

Jeff Baker will hit leadoff today with Mark Buehrle and the Cubs will use a designated hitter for the second time this spring … Luis Montanez will serve as Quade’s DH. Alfonso Soriano, Carlos Pena and Marlon Byrd will also return to the starting lineup this afternoon.

Ryan Dempster has allowed two runs on five hits over his first two starts of the spring (seven innings) … but more importantly, Dempster has thrown strikes. One of the big keys for Dempster during the regular season is to maintain a 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio. Dempster has exceeded that rate so far this spring. In seven innings, Dempster has issued just one walk while striking out six.

Many have predicted an AL Central Division crown for the Chicago White Sox. The South Side has a very good offense and pitching staff, on paper, and just enough defense to reach one of their goals. The Sox have struggled this spring but figure to put out their best effort this afternoon against the Cubs.

Mark Buehrle will make his third start of the spring. The Sox lefty has allowed five runs on nine hits in five innings (one strikeout and no walks).

With Ryan Dempster and Mark Buehrle getting the start, today’s Cactus League game figures to move along at a regular season pace.

Cubs Lineup vs. White Sox – 3/11/11

Jeff Baker – 2B
Starlin Castro – SS
Marlon Byrd – CF
Geovany Soto – C
Tyler Colvin – RF
Alfonso Soriano – LF
Carlos Pena – 1B
Luis Montanez – DH
Marquez Smith – 3B

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Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

  • paulcatanese

    Neil,I dont care,spring training,regular season,a walk in the park,the Cubs have to beat the White Sox,they have to.Cubs,take their Sox off.

  • Cloycub13

    Just a reminder MLB network 30clubs/30days features the Cubs this evening. These are usually pretty informative and have alot of interviews. DVR it if you wish.

  • Aaron

    shameless plug…I started a blog for Chicago sports:

    Let me know what you guys think. I’m just doing it as a hobby, and I’ve done stuff for the Cubs, Bears, and Bulls.

    Neil, I hope you don’t mind, as I usually cringe when others do this. I’m talking all Chicago sports, so I thought it might be interesting for some people

    • Neil

      No worries … I will check it out when I can.

    • Jim_Tinley_Park

      Nice job Aaron !!!

    • Tom U

      Congratulations Aaron!

      • Aaron

        thanks…it’s nothing big. One of my buddies wanted me to do something like that while he’s serving in Afghanistan, so he can get updated on Chicago-land teams in one place.

        By the way…did you wee what I posted earlier today about Cody Hams being let go?

        • Tom U

          Yes I did, and thanks for the update. Just so you don;t have to go back, here is a copy of my reply:

          Sorry to hear that, but that’s the way the business goes some times. I just thought that a 21 year old, 6’5″ 200+ Lbs. left handed pitcher was intriguing. Imagine the possibilities!

          I hope he catches a break somewhere and develops along the lines of the Braves Peter Moylan, and doesn’t end up biting the Cubs in the behind.

          • Aaron

            Thanks Tom…I forgot to look back, but when I saw you post on this topic, thought I’d ask you.

            6’5″ is good size, but he was a project all the way around. He showed up to their Australian Academy, and his tryout was the first day he ever picked up a baseball, so if he does ever make it, it’ll likely be years from now, and the Cubs must have felt that he wasn’t progressing well, and other players deserved a shot…or, quite simply, some players get “released”, but they actually quit. It’s just a formality sometimes.

          • Tom U

            Oh Well

    • SuzyS

      Aaron, Really nice job on your blog…I’ll be checking it out….

      –You’ve been talking about being a scout for a couple of years now…(at least as long as I’ve been reading the CCO….
      While I’m basically a fan and not a player…One thing I’ve learned…you can’t just be a fan of life…You HAVE to be a PLAYER….
      If you really want to be a scout…GO MAKE IT HAPPEN…I know you can do it…you have the smarts, the eye, and the acumen…if you don’t push it…you’ll always regret it.

      Now, you ARE wrong at times….but that happens to everyone…but the thing I see in you in almost every post…is the willingness to go to the nth degree with your conviction. A lot of the time you are right on…
      So do this.

      • Aaron

        Thanks Suzy….the scouting thing might not be a possibility unless they pay a little more…but thanks for the kind words, and as for the being wrong….my wife would say I’m more wrong than right…LOL. Actually, with other sports like football and basketball, she has a better sense of who is going to win than I do. I just love debating any topic. I took some law classes in college, and always had an interest in stuff like that, so when trying to prove a point, sometimes I take it too far, but it’s all in good fun

        • Tom U

          Remember one thing Aaron, a scout is never wrong. It’s the players that don’t end up developing.

  • Neil

    Soto with his first RBI of the spring!

  • Neil

    Pena with a HR!

  • Neil

    Excellent outing for Dempster … struck out last 4 he faced

  • Neil

    Samardzija is imploding again … given up 3 runs, only one out in the 9th

  • Aaron

    I know Samardzija has caught a lot of grief from people on here (myself included), but there should’ve been 2 outs in the 9th before that double. Yes, he misses his spots on occasion, but he’s got an explosive arm.

    And just when I start typing this, he gives up a long blast by Milledge. Even so, guys that throw 97-99 mph just don’t grow on trees. (they seemed to though during the steroids era, didn’t they?…LOL)

    • Cheryl

      He may have an explosive arm but he seems to give up a lot of homers. Should he really be a part of the bullpen?

      • Neil

        Whether he should or not, he will be.

        • Aaron

          True…but read what I wrote below…He is in a role where he’s destined to fail. He needs to be in the rotation, plain and simple, or the Cubs need to approach him about waiving his no-trade clause. Putting him in the pen is doing both the Cubs and Samardzija a disservice, as he’s far better suited for the rotation.

          Actually, you know who Samardzija reminds me a lot of is Juan Cruz when he first came up with the Cubs. The Cubs kept switching him back and forth from the rotation to the pen, and it ruined his confidence…never mind the fact that he struggled just like Samardzija did with control.

      • Aaron

        True, and it’s not just the home runs…it’s the amount of fly balls he gives up too…..However, once Riggins came out, he settled down, and got out of the jam.

        I’m not saying that he’s the best pitcher ever or anything remotely close to that. All I’m saying is guys that throw that hard don’t grow on trees, and velocity actually matters nowadays. Guys aren’t all ‘roided up as they used to be, so when you have guys that can blow it by people, they’re actually quite valuable.

        But….as for Samardzija, I just don’t like how the Cubs have handled him. There’s a reason Zambrano didn’t work out in the pen (in his first year at the MLB level or even last year)…it’s because he’s prone to walks. The same can be said for Samardzija as well as Cashner.

        Unless you’re Carlos Marmol, with an other-worldly slider that you can fool hitters with, if you’re walking that many guys (Cashner had 30 in 54 IP, while Samardzija had 20 in 19 IP at the MLB level and 67 in 111 IP at Iowa), you’re playing with fire.

        However, when you’re a starting pitcher, going 6+ innings, you can mitigate damage by spreading them out over the course of the game. For instance, Samardzija gave up 3 runs today (I believe only 1 was earned, but the box score didn’t show that, or DeWitt’s error)…If that was his worst inning over the course of 6 or 7, most people would say that a starting pitcher that only gave up 3 runs is doing pretty well. The point is, guys that struggle with control to begin with are prone to the occasional big inning. That’s why you don’t put them in the pen.

        Look, I’m not saying Samardzija is a good pitcher. He’s clearly not, as even when he was starting primarily in the minors, he was having trouble. From everything I can see by looking at stats, and from what I’ve seen watching him pitch, he looks like a “thrower” versus a “pitcher”.

        I really hope Greg Maddux can get in his head, because he doesn’t even try to locate his pitches it seems. He just reaches back and tries to throw it as hard as he can. Zambrano even stated the importance of location, as he said he had a talk with Maddux about taking velocity off his pitches to locate better. If Samardzija can do that, he’ll be much more effective, but the Cubs aren’t doing him any favors to begin with by trying to force him in a role that he’s not at all suited for.

        • Richard Hood

          You ever notice we have the same conversation about every Cubs prospect or young pitcher? The pitcher verses thrower conversation. What is really funny about it is that if a player is more of a pitcher the Cubs fans want to get rid of him as soon as he has adjustments to make (Wells).

          I do not like Shark, never have, never will. But I agree that our current management did him no favors by bringing him up as a reliever a couple years ago. He should have stayed at the minors as a starter and not let the hype be so high on him then. He had no where to go but down.

          That being said I do think that he is going to make the long relief role on this club. He might even improve enough to get spot starts eventually this next year. I just hate that Hendry put the ballclub in this position to keep another questionable pitcher, good athlete on the 40 man.

          • Aaron

            I guess I disagree with you a little bit about the “pitcher vs thrower” thing. I don’t think that comes up about every Cubs pitching prospect to come up.

            However, I do agree with you that the guys that know how to locate better than others, like Wells and Coleman are under-appreciated, and fans often times want to get rid of the guys that throw 88-92 mph, because they don’t see their true value. Hell, I probably would’ve been in that category, as I threw as hard as 93 mph. It’s just the way things go with fans at times. The fact is, would fans rather see a guy like James Loney who hits .290 with 13 hr and 90 RBI, or a guy that hits .227 with 39 hr, 100 RBI (as Pena did 2 years ago)….Look at their popularity, and you’d see fans would want Pena more, because he had more power, when in reality, Loney is the superior hitter.

            It’s the same thing with starting pitching. Fans would much rather watch Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Tim Lincecum, Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, Yovani Gallardo, etc., instead of guys that throw in the upper 80’s to low 90’s. It’s the same thing with closers. Yes, Trevor Hoffman was effective late in his career when he was throwing in the mid-to-upper 80’s, but was much more exciting to fans when he threw in 99 mph as he did when he was younger.

            I’m way guilty of under-appreciating the lower velocity guys, but eh more I’ve looked into stats, the more I appreciate guys that just know how to get it done.

            I still want to trade Randy Wells, as I think something ain’t quite right in his head, but if he can have a season with an ERA under 4, then if you’re the Cubs, you better start looking at giving Casey Coleman a chance, as I believe he has better stuff than Wells. Over the long haul, it’d probably be wise for the Cubs to invest in guys like that, since the high velocity types like Zambrano eventually lose the zip on their fastballs later in the careers and have to re-adjust to a different pitching style.

            Anyway, that’s just my two cents

          • cubtex

            Guys that know how to locate better like Wells? Listen, I hope Wells turns it around this year but to say Wells knows how to locate extremely well is a little extreme. 194 IP and giving up 209 Hits with a plus 4 ERA is not my idea of someone who knows how to locate extemely well!!

          • The Maven

            That depends Cubtex. Because Wells isn’t an overpowering pitcher, he has to rely on location and strategy in order to get outs. Try to keep the hitter off-balance, give him something he wasn’t looking for. Because of that style, many times you have to rely on your defense to bail you out. We all know how good that has been for the Cubs the past few years.

          • cubtex

            I agree Maven somewhat to that point Maven, but that hits to innings pitch ratio still shouldn’t be that high if he was consistently hitting his spots.

          • The Maven

            There is room for improvement

        • Chery

          Aaron, You make a convincing argument. If Maddux could work with him it’d be great. Yes, Riggins settled him down, but Maddux has the stripes of a successful career. I think you’re right about him being a long relief guy. But, I believe Wellemeyer is also suited for that role. If the two of them alternate, if possible, and Maddux works with S. it could do him a world of good. But what do you do with him now?

  • Neil

    Samardzija finished off the Sox … Cubs win 4-3.

  • Richard Hood

    Can we start the Chant for Marquis Smith to stay up instead of Dewitt yet? Or how about Camp? Dewitt’s best attribute is suppose to be his Defense. So if he isn’t fielding it why is he here?

    • Aaron

      I completely agree with you. I was initially okay with DeWitt being included in the trade with the Dodgers, even though I thought we got hosed in that deal to begin with…..but he’s just another young player in a very long list of “perfect swings” that the Cubs scouts love to talk about, that never amounts to anything.

      I think DeWitt’s ceiling has already been reached with the Dodgers, and he won’t get better. He’s not particularly good defensively, can’t run, and doesn’t have much power.

      While Marquez Smith has only played a handful of games at 2B, I would much rather see him at the MLB level than DeWitt. Actually, if the Cubs are dead set on having Baker in a platoon situation, I guess you could consider Camp as well, as he at least adds speed and versatility to his game, being able to play all OF positions, 2B, SS, and 3B.

      DeWitt is basically still with the team, just as Gaub and Stevens are….in order to save face in the trades of Lilly and DeRosa respectively (both of which the Cubs didn’t receive near enough in return)

    • cubtex

      DeWitt will be fine. The spring training complexes in Arizona are not the same as the lush, finely manicured major league fields! He played good defense for the Dodgers last year at 2nd and he will hit. Wait till the season starts and I bet you will see a different player than you have been seeing this spring!

  • Baron_S

    For once, gotta massively disagree with Aaron about Samardjza — clearly there is some Notre Dame Bias into play here.

    Simply, the guy is a COMPLETE bum.

    His Career Line at the MLB level
    vs Right-Handers: 45.1 IP, 58H, 25 BB, 27 K, .312 BAA, 1.83 whip..

    Really, I don’t think ‘Control’ is the problem here…. How about only 27 K in 45 IP, how about 58 hits in 45 innings??? He pitches to contact and has no strikeout pitch.