Spring Training Game Twenty-Three: Cubs (9-13) vs. Reds (11-8)
Game Time – 3:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: None – Radio: Cubs.com Webcast
Location – HoHoKam Park, Mesa
Carlos Zambrano (0-1, 1.38/1.31) vs. Sam LeCure (0-0, 0.00/0.86)
The Chicago Cubs open the 2011 season against the Pittsburgh Pirates two weeks from today at Wrigley Field.
Q’s crew still has a lot of work to do … and decisions to make over the next 12 exhibition games. The Cubs continue to make error after error, day after day, and the team must focus on defense over the remaining games in the Cactus League. The offense appears to be headed for an all or nothing season, so a majority of the games figure to be decided by two runs or less. Until the Cubs figure out how to stop giving extra outs, they will be on the wrong end of close games.
The reigning NL Central champs have owned the Cubs this spring (0-3, being outscored 26-14). While the games are meaningless, it would be nice to see the Cubs beat the Reds once in the exhibition season … Carlos Zambrano will make his fifth start of the spring this afternoon. Big Z has gone about his business this spring and has thrown the ball extremely well. Zambrano has allowed only two runs on 13 hits in 13 innings with four walks and six strikeouts.
The Cubs need Zambrano to pitch the way he has this spring, and at the end of last season, in order to have a successful season. It has been said for years that the Cubs go as Z goes … and while he might not be the top pitcher on the staff any longer, the statement still rings true.
Carlos Silva is expected to follow Zambrano in Quade’s pitching rotation for this afternoon.
Here’s how the Cubs will begin against the Reds this afternoon …
Tyler Colvin – RF
Starlin Castro – SS
Marlon Byrd – CF
Aramis Ramirez – 3B
Carlos Pena – 1B
Geovany Soto – C
Alfonso Soriano – LF
Darwin Barney – 2B
Carlos Zambrano – P
The Reds’ only off day of the spring was Thursday. Dusty Baker’s bunch has played very good ball this spring and will send Sam LeCure to the hill today. LeCure has been impressive in four outings while fighting for a spot in the Reds pen.
Today will be LeCure’s first start of the spring. LeCure has not allowed a run in four relief appearances (seven innings) or walked a batter. LeCure has allowed only six hits and has struck out nine batters.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …