Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Giants – 03/20/11

Spring Training Game Twenty-Five: Cubs (9-15) vs. Giants (ss) (18-6)
Game Time – 3:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN
Location – HoHoKam Park, Mesa

Randy Wells (1-1, 1.29/0.88) vs. Shane Loux (1-0, 1.93/1.72)

Spring Training or not, the Cubs could use a win this afternoon against a Giants split squad … the Cubs have won just once in their last six games. Following the “much-needed day off”, the Cubs have played bad ball. With 12 days before every pitch, every at bat and every out counts, today would be a good time for Q’s crew to start showing some improvement.

Randy Wells will take the hill today and is in line to face the Diamondbacks at Wrigley on April 4. The official announcement on the final two spots in the rotation is expected this week, but it appears that Wells and Andrew Cashner (Cashner’s next spring start is Monday against the Angels in Tempe) will begin the season in Q’s rotation.

The Cubs host a Giants split squad this afternoon. The other half of the Giants roster will face the Oakland A’s in Scottsdale. Madison Bumgarner will get the start against the A’s while the Cubs will face non-roster invitee Shane Loux.

Randy Wells has put together a solid spring. Today will be Wells’ fourth start and fifth appearance in the Cactus League. Wells has allowed four runs, two earned, on nine hits in 14 innings with three walks and eight strikeouts.

Wells has all but locked up the fourth spot in Mike Quade’s rotation. The Cubs could announce their fourth and fifth starters by Tuesday or Wednesday.

Shane Loux will make his first start of the spring this afternoon. Loux is a non-roster invitee to the Giants big league camp. Loux has allowed one run on seven hits in 4 2/3 spring innings (four games) with a walk and five strikeouts. The right-handed hurler has also saved one of the Giants 18 Cactus League wins.

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Quote of the Day

"A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course of victory." - Arthur Golden
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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Today’s lineup:

    Matt Camp – RF
    Castro – SS
    Byrd – CF
    Ramirez – 3B
    Scott Moore – 1B
    Soriano – LF
    Scales – 2B
    Hill – C
    Wells – P

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Justin Berg, Grabow, Marshall and Marmol are on Quade’s pitching rotation for today after Wells.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Aramis Ramirez sent home with 102 fever. Should be able to play Monday

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Updated lineup:

    Camp – RF
    Castro – SS
    Byrd – CF
    Soriano – LF
    Moore – 1B
    Scales – 2B
    Vitters – 3B
    Hill – C
    Wells – P

    • Jay from Sandwich

      NEIL, Flying out to catch three games next week including Cubs versis White Sox. will be their in the middle of the week for one week stay. How hard is it to go see the Minor league camp / games while I am thier?
      Go Cubs

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Very easy, Fitch Park is just two miles down from HoHoKam on Center. Email me if you need anything else

        neil@chicagocubsonline.com

    • Patrick_Schaefer

      Hill gets another start over Castillo or Ramirez ugh!!! Why? Scales who will be playing in Iowa gets a start at 2b over Barney. Why? Berg with his 22.50 ERA will pitch today. Why? Send him down or cut him!

      • Tony_Hall

        Those are some great questions. AB’s and Innings are so few during this stretch of games, it beyond logic.

      • paulcatanese

        Patrick,my opinion on this is a clear indication of Quade’s lack of commitment to being a manager instead of a”players manager”. I feel he has yet to take control. His statements regading Ojeda(being hurt) Silva etc. shows he would rather be a buddy than a manager. I honestly think he is over his head here and depends on Jh for direction and that direction keeps Quade off guard to make decisions that he may think are correct. It is so obvious the decisions that should happen and don’t I cannot see it any other way.

        • Aaron

          Thank goodness we have Quade at the helm….I was beginning to worry that performance actually mattered. Thankfully it doesn’t. He’s just “comfortable with the guys he has”….LOL

          **************************************************************************************
          http://www.chicagobreakingsports.com/2011/03/quade-not-concerned-by-cubs-high-era.html

          In their previous three games, all losses, Cub pitchers had allowed 34 runs, but manager Mike Quade insisted he was not a big spring “numbers” guy.

          “Not here, not right now,” he said when asked about whether he was concerned about the team’s 6.82 ERA, nearly two runs a game higher than opponents. “I’m looking at this individually. I honestly don’t know any of the ERAs of my individual guys.

          “But I sit back and say, how (have they thrown). I’m just looking at how I feel about them health-wise. Would I like to see improvement here and there and do we need to come out with better command by April 1st? Yeah. But, pitching-wise, I’m looking at a group of guys that I’m happy with.”
          **************************************************************************************

          I’m so glad he feels that way, because I was starting to think that Spring Training was actually a time where you evaluated talent, and took the best 25 guys north with you. Phewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

          It’s refreshing to know that stats don’t matter to Quade and Hendry both. They rely strictly on the eyeball test.

          Baseball has been around almost 140 years. I think we should get rid of stats altogether, right? Just rely on your memory and eyeball test. That’s the BEST way to evaluate talent.

          In fact, why not do away with the Hall of Fame altogether? Jim Hendry’s first pick for the Eyeball Test Hall of Fame is Dave Kelton. You know…the player he once told minor league coaches to stay away from, and don’t mess with his swing, because it was so perfect?

          In Jim Hendry’s mind, stats didn’t matter, and Kelton was a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame. Brooks Robinson, who? Mike Schmidt, who?

          (scout from another organization is sitting at a Dodgers game next to Cubs scout…here’s how that conversation likely went)

          Other Scout: “so….who are you here to see?”

          Cubs: “Blake DeWitt”

          Other Scout: “Really? Why?”

          Cubs: “well….we’re thinking of trading one of our starting pitchers for him….and our current 2B”

          Other Scout: “I assume you’re also here for Loney or Kemp, right? Because the whole baseball world knows you’re only going to be able to trade Lilly. He’s a solid #2.”

          Cubs: “Yeah, he’s a solid #2. Jim thought he’d do him a favor and get him to a good team for the playoff run”

          Other Scout: “That’s awful nice….but you still didn’t answer my question. You are getting more than that, right?”

          Cubs: “Oh, most definitely.”

          Other Scout: “Wow…..Loney or Kemp is a good exchange for someone of Lilly’s caliber. Well done!”

          Cubs: “Ummmmm…..I think you misunderstood….You see, we wanted to get younger, and less expensive.”

          Other Scout: “oh, I gotcha….so, you’re talking Billingsley, Sands, Elbert, and Dee Gordon types, right?”

          Cubs: “No, we got some very impressive arms though.”

          Other Scout: “yeah, but Billingsley and Elbert ARE impressive arms, no?”

          Cubs: “yeah, they’re impressive, but we were told these other guys might actually be better. They told us to come out to their games, and they’d show us, and they wanted me to come out today to see what they meant about DeWitt’s swing and potential”

          Other Scout: “DeWitt? The 2B? Are we talking about the same guy?”

          Cubs: “oh, most definitely. The Dodgers said he had one of the prettiest left-handed swings in the game, and we just had to see for ourselves, and I’ve gotta say….me likey what I’m seeing.”

          Other Scout: “you mean the guy that just hit .204 last year and got demoted, and has limited power to begin with?”

          Cubs: “I don’t think you’re understanding this…He’s got the most perfect left-handed swing we’ve ever seen. If the Dodgers would’ve taken Dempster or Zambrano’s salary on, he’d be worth it to us based on his potential. Our directives from the top were to just look at their swings, and their throwing motions if they’re pitchers, and make the call from there.”

          Other Scout: “So you guys really don’t look at stats at all, right?”

          Cubs: “why? It’s a bunch of numbers that nobody can really understand.”

          Other Scout: “you know….what you say makes complete sense to me. That’s how every winning organization should be (chuckles to himself without Cubs scout seeing this)….Come here closer, I can’t say this out loud with other scouts nearby (motions for him to come closer to whisper something). I’m gonna tell you something, because I like you, and I like the way you guys think. We have a bunch of guys in our system just like Blake DeWitt and Jason Marquis, whom you guys signed a few years back because he had a good throwing motion that generates ground balls…..well, we have a bunch of Jason Marquis in our system…..so, I’ll let you in on a little secret. You guys can have all of them if you make sure to be the highest bidder. And what I mean by that, is just anticipate other teams going hard after these guys, and you might have to overpay on occasion, but that’s alright, because their potential is off the charts. Can you wait here for a minute? I’m going to get my boss and our GM on the phone.”

          Cubs: “Absolutely!”
          (scout comes back grinning)

          Other Scout: “You are in luck, Sir. I have knowledge that nobody else does at this point. You see, we’re looking to shed some payroll, and we have our #3 starter that has the PERFECT delivery and mix of pitches, but he’s just never fulfilled his Ace potential that we all know he has. Here’s some video of him, so you can see I’m not lying (pulls out his iphone, and shows him some of his pitching video). Do you see what I mean?”

          Cubs: “Oh my lucky stars, do I ever?!?!?! I need to call Jim on this right away so we can start scouting him more heavily.”

          Other Scout: “While you’re at it…..we have this absolute burner that’s wasting away on our bench. I feel awful for the guy. If he played everyday, I would not be shocked if he stole more than 100 bases.”

          Cubs: “Really?!?….Speed is what we need”

          Other Scout: “Yes, I mean…he’s just had a few injuries, and he can’t really hit the ball right now, but just like DeWitt, when he swings from the left side, it’s truly a glorious sight….it might not be 100% like DeWitt’s swing, but it’s at least 99%.”

          Cubs: “oh, that’s tremendous….if we can just get a few more like him, we’d have an entire lineup of DeWitt’s, and they wouldn’t need coaching at all, and we might have a few Hall of Famers mixed in”

          Other Scout: “Whatever you say…..but look….just don’t talk to anyone else around the league about this, because if you do, we might have to increase the asking price.”

          Cubs: “Well, the Rangers just asked us about one of minor league catchers while you were here.”

          Other Scout: ‘What?!? Have you been texting people about this?”

          Cubs: “no”

          Other Scout: “I don’t believe you”

          Cubs: “please…no, you have to trust me…my boss will kill me if the price goes up.”

          Other Scout: “I’ll tell you what, we want that catcher, because it’s only fair…the Rangers wanted him too, and I can’t trust you completely about that….so, what I’ll do for you that will make it easier to talk to your boss…..we have this lefty pitcher in A ball that has the perfect release of anyone I’ve ever seen. We’ll give you him if you promise only to deal with us from here on out.”

          Cubs: “oh, absolutely. ”

          Other Scout: “Okay, so here’s the deal, we’re going to need 4 of your Top 10 prospects”

          Cubs: “that sounds like a GREAT deal!!! Especially if this guy is the Ace you say he is, and that other guy turns out to be like Rickey Henderson”

          Other Scout: “you can rest easily tonight….It will be as you say. (he leaves, snickering all the way home)”

          A year later, the scout gets promoted to GM for this……LOL

          But seriously, don’t you think this is EXACTLY how stupid teams around the league think the Cubs really are?

          • cubtex

            In your world there would be no need for scouts!! Just look at stats. Get a bunch of microsoft guys to look on their laptops and make trades..Ha ha!

            Nerd 1- How about this…This player has 7 HR’s this spring and is leading all of baseball.
            Nerd 2…Pretty Good. What do you want for him?
            Nerd 1… How about this guy on the Cardinals who plays first base
            Nerd 2…”thinking to himself” my guy doesn’t have that many homeruns this spring.. I think Nerd 1 might go for this
            Nerd 1- I don’t know but I think I will do this
            Nerd 2 OK

            And there you have it…Stats ……jake fox for albert pujols. there you have it Aaron. A world with no scouts….just computer stats. Owners would be happy saving them millions and in your world everything would be great.

            Now go ahead and tell me how I spun this the wrong way by your little emample above.

          • Aaron

            …..still talking, are we? Once again, putting words in people’s mouths. Never once have I, or anyone else stated that you go solely off spring stats. Once again….It’s about perspective. Koyie HIll vs Max Ramirez or Castillo….Augie Ojeda vs Moore, etc., and Garza vs hanging onto prospects in a year you can’t possibly compete, and already have budget issues.

            But keep talking…one of these days you’ll make a coherent argument

          • Tony_Hall

            If they just looked at stats, they may, I repeat, they may look back at previous years history. that is the thing about stats, they are recorded from past years as well.

            You are missing the thing, this isn’t just about ST stats. So not sure how you took it to making a deal for a player with Top 5 All-time stats, in exchange for a AAAA player, just because he is having a good spring.

          • cubtex

            just trying to make a point that sometimes STATS LIE and that is a Fact!

          • Tony_Hall

            Actually STATS are FACTS, the people who interpret them lie!

          • cubtex

            In my world a .300 hitter is not the same as another .300 hitter. They might have the same amount of extra base hits but there are several factors to consider. There is such a thing as a soft .300 where the player seems to get a lot of bloop hits and the ball bounces right for him that particular year. What type of pitching did he get his hits off of? What ballpark is he playing at??? Hitters ballpark or pitchers? So yes….very often stats do lie!

          • Tony_Hall

            Actually there are stats that will show all of this, and will give you those answers. That is also where history will show if a player consistently gets “lucky” or was it really luck.

            And some of these examples are areas we have been trying to explain to you about Garza. His park last year versus this year, the teams he struggled against haven’t all been the Yankees and Red Sox, etc.

            Stats don’t lie, you just have to know how to read them.

      • fryegye

        But from the glass half full perspective, Camp and Moore are getting ABs.

      • paulcatanese

        Patrick,some consulation for you,well not enough but Castillo drove in the winning run in the tenth today I’m happy about that for you.

  • GaryLeeT

    Wells has really improved his straight change, and has greatly advanced his development along with it. In fact, I will venture to say that he will win at least 14 games this year. I Would have predicted more, with a real offense behind him.

  • Tony_Hall

    I know it is a different park, but Wells is handling the mound quite well.

    • Aaron

      LOL….love it….very sly

    • paulcatanese

      Tony,with your’e lack of experience on the game how did you figure that out?

      • paulcatanese

        Tony,watching the Natural. Its amazing the similaritys between the Knights and the Cubs including management.

  • SuzyS

    Neil, Any further word on Angel Guzman??? I know he was sent to the minors to work on arm strength….anything else???

    • paulcatanese

      SuzyS,aong with everyone else we share your’e concern and wish him well.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Suzy, I have not heard or seen an update on Guzman in a couple of weeks. Last one was following the BP session he threw. I have been looking … great to hear from you.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Suzy … here ya go, in the Sun-Times this morning:

      Angel Guzman, who continues to progress from career-threatening shoulder surgery a year ago, could pitch in a game for the first time since 2009 by the end of next week

      http://www.suntimes.com/sports/baseball/cubs/4423304-419/baker-thinking-about-being-a-starter-not-about-castillo.html

  • paulcatanese

    Neil,seems like a pretty good ballgame to this point. Pitching must be coming around. Catching the score as you post it at the beginning.Hope they hang in there and pull it off. Looking forward to your’e post on the game.

  • Dakeller80

    Sitting outside Hohokam now waiting to leave the ballpark. Great game. Maybe Scales should be backup 2B ;) Castro makes me nervous every time he makes a play on the ball. Doesn’t look confident out there. Wells looked great.

  • cubtex

    Here’s a conversation for you Aaron between Peavy and Pierzinski…

    Peavy- Man, I can’t get comfortable on this mound.
    Pierzinski- All mounds are the same. Cmon Jake
    Peavy- My shoulder is starting to act up
    Pierz- Forget about it…all mounds are the same
    Peavy- I can’t go anymore than 83 pitches today. I know they want me to go 100

    LOL………..Peavy shut down because of shoulder inflammation.

    • Tony_Hall

      It is amazing that these teams invest millions, I say millions in players, yet don’t spend any, I repeat any money on their ST complex’s so that they can have a decent mound, so as not to injury their pitchers.

      • cubtex

        OK Tony…Again to clarify to you. Pitching mounds do vary in ballparks. Some are sloped higher…some might not be leveled the same way. I am saying that if you ask any pitcher….college,minor league and major league….they will confirm this to you.

        • Tony_Hall

          Thanks for the clarification, I and everyone else thought that every mound was completely identical. Of course they are different, every park, every infield, every outfield, every mound, etc is different. Every mound I have ever pitched on is different.

          But do you not agree that they take care of the mounds that their million dollar arms pitch on?

  • matt

    those luis castillo fans no castillo to the north side