Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. White Sox – 03/24/11

Spring Training Game Twenty-Eight: Cubs (11-16) vs. White Sox (9-16)
Game Time – 4:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet (Cubs)/ESPN 2 – Radio: Webcast
Location – HoHoKam Park, Mesa

Matt Garza (0-3, 9.88/1.90) vs. Phil Humber (0-1, 2.45/0.82)

Updated 12:18pm CDT Cubs Reduced Spring Roster Thursday morningFernando Perez was optioned to Triple-A Iowa. Augie Ojeda, Bobby Scales, Matt Camp and Scott Moore were assigned to minor league camp. Cubs’ spring roster stands at 31 players.

The first pitch of the Cubs 2011 Season is just eight days away …

Spring Training or not, it’s the Cubs versus the White Sox this afternoon. The Cubs beat the Southsiders back on March 11 at Camelback Ranch 4-3. Ryan Dempster out pitched Mark Buehrle … and Carlos Pena hit his first homer of the spring. Pena drove in a pair, Geovany Soto added a RBI and Brett Jackson doubled in a run in the top of the ninth that ended up being the difference in the game.

The Cubs need a good outing out of Matt Garza this afternoon. Garza struggled with his command, and the mound, in his last start against the Padres in Peoria. Garza has been inconsistent at best this spring. Two solid starts to finish his first camp with the Cubs would be a good way to lead into the regular season.

Len Kasper and Bob Brenly will call the game for Comcast SportsNet … with Rick Sutcliffe providing the color commentary on ESPN 2.

Matt Garza will make his fifth start, sixth appearance, of the spring. Garza has struggled with his command and locating his fastball all spring. Garza has walked (10) more batters than he’s struck out (nine) and has been very hittable.

In 13 2/3 innings, Garza has allowed 15 runs, all earned, on 16 hits. Garza and the Cubs need for him to get his work in … and take care of the Sox.

Cubs’ lineup vs. White Sox
Kosuke Fukudome – RF
Starlin Castro – SS
Marlon Byrd – CF
Aramis Ramirez – 3B
Carlos Pena – 1B
Alfonso Soriano – LF
Darwin Barney – 2B
Koyie Hill – C
Matt Garza – P

Mike Quade decided to let Garza hit this afternoon … but the Sox will use a designated hitter.

Braden Looper is expected to follow Garza in Quade’s pitching rotation for Thursday.

It looks like Phil Humber will begin the season as the Sox’s fifth starter. Humber has put together a good spring and will make his second start (fifth appearance) this afternoon. Humber has allowed three runs on eight hits with a walk and six strikeouts in 11 innings.

Jake Peavy was scheduled to make the start today against the Cubs … but it appears Peavy will begin the year on the disabled list.

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Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

Quote of the Day

"People who write about Spring Training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball." – Sandy Koufax
  • Aaron

    Outside of DeWitt (possibly) and Soto, this is the exact lineup the Cubs will have on Opening Day.

    While Humber isn’t a great barometer of how the lineup will do… they might be able to spank him around the field….but if they struggle against a #5 starter……lookout ladies and gents….the season might be over before it even starts…..Bank on it!!!!!

    • Richard Hood

      Gee I agree it looks rough but positive thinking could help. I mean I am POSITIVE that Pena will hit .200 and have 30 homeruns. I am positive that ARAM will play in atleast 100 games. And I am positive that my dog is going to get more running in this summer than the cubs on the base path. And last but not least I am actually positive the Cubs will win between 80 to 85 games.

      • Aaron

        I appreciate the positivity and optimistic outlook, but I must say….this team will struggle to win even 75 games. That’d mean they’d go 75-87. In fact, I’m predicting they’ll do worse than that record, which is what they did last year. I believe they will go 73-89, and here’s why:

        1) I think everyone would agree that Zambrano, ARAM, and Soriano’s performances and health this year are vital to the success of the team. Zambrano already has shown a significant drop in velocity, and has been hit hard this spring, despite a strong start. I believe there’s an injury there, but that’s my opinion. Soriano and ARAM are entering their mid-30’s now, and are showing it at the plate, in the field, and with injuries. Therefore, I believe Soriano will hit around .260-ish with 20 hr, 65 RBI, and miss time with injury. I believe ARAM will hit around .275 with 25 hr, 80 RBI, and miss time with injury, and I believe Zambrano will have his first 4+ERA season.

        2) Quade, Hendry, etc., have already proven they won’t go with the guys performing the best. This is further illustrated by Quade riding veterans down the stretch last year in an otherwise lost season, and continues this spring by the Cubs going with Reed Johnson (on his last legs in the bigs in my estimation), DeWitt, and likely Koyie Hill and Carlos Silva. If they really cared about winning, Hendry would’ve signed someone like Milledge to be a young back-up (ironically would’ve been cheaper than Johnson too), Scott Moore, Castillo or Max Ramirez as back-up catcher, and already named Cashner, or for that matter…even Casey Coleman as 5th starter, but they won’t do the right thing, and thus, are committing themselves to almost exactly the same team that underperformed last year, so I ask….what’s different?

        3) Yes, Greinke is hurt (currently, but not for long), Marcum had a shoulder flare up, and Wainwright is out for the season….but the Reds look VERY good, and have played VERY well against the Cubs this spring. The Cardinals still have Carpenter, Pujols, Holliday, Berkman, and Rasmus to carry them, plus young pitchers like McClellan and Garcia, plus a savvy veteran pitcher like Westbrook. And with the Brewers far superior offense to that of the Cubs, you can forget about winning a season series against them, especially since both Gallardo and Wolf have owned the Cubs lineup in recent years. And with the Reds Cueto, Volquez, and Arroyo keeping the Cubs’ bats at bay, it’s “good afternoon, good evening, and goodnight”…The Cubs have NO chance. I look at things from a logical perspective. The Cubs went 5-10 against the Pirates, 7-11 against the Astros, 4-12 against the Reds, 9-6 against the Cardinals, and 9-6 against the Brewers. Against division opponents, they went a combined 34-45…11 games under .500 Ironically, they finished 12 games under .500, so their division record is almost a direct correlation to their overall record. The point is, if they can’t get through their division, then how the hell are they going to get through the league itself? In 2007 and 2008 when they made the playoffs, the Cubs were 10+games over .500 in their division.

        Indeed, just as Rosenbloom and others have stated, it would take a perfect storm for the Cubs to win the division this year. It would take injuries not only within the division, but in good teams around the league they play such as the Phillies, Giants, etc.

        Even though I’m a realist, I remain hopeful that Ricketts will do the right thing, and fire Hendry mid-season once he realizes the Cubs are out of it, and they begin a rebuilding effort, and ship the underperforming veterans out, especially guys such as:
        Johnson-34 yrs old
        Hill-32 yrs old
        Baker-30 yrs old
        Fukudome-34 yrs old
        Byrd-33 yrs old *he’ll produce, but he still needs to go while we can actually get SOMETHING for him
        Soriano-35 yrs old
        Silva-32 yrs old
        Grabow-32 yrs old
        Pena-33 yrs old
        ARAM-33 yrs old *historically effective, but on downside of career in a lot of ways, and they need to capitalize on whatever value he has left
        Zambrano-30 yrs old *though, if by chance he has a good season, since we already dealt Archer…I might hang onto him

        That’s potentially 10 players…..9 for sure that should be dealt this year….whether the Cubs are in the race or not. They simply have NO value whatsoever to this team moving forward.

        The only guys that have some value to the Cubs going forward are:
        Dempster-34 yrs old *yeah, he’s older, but effective
        Garza-27 yrs old *yes, I said Garza….only age-wise though
        Soto-28 yrs old *though I believe Cubs should trade him and much like Byrd, capitalize on his value, especially with Castillo in the minors
        Colvin-25 yrs old
        Barney-25 yrs old
        Castro-21 yrs old
        Cashner-24 yrs old
        Wells-28 yrs old
        Marmol-28 yrs old
        Marshall-28 yrs old

        Folks, when you have just 10 guys you’d want to hang onto long-term…or even just beyond this year in general…..that’s a clear indictment that your roster management sucks a$$

        • Cheryl

          I didn’t see Kerry Wood on your list.He has value and I’d hang on to him.

          • Aaron

            He definitely has value. Like I said, I posted the players 30 and older that had either no value, or were losing value considerably due to injury/underperforming, etc.

            I would like to hang onto Byrd as well, if anything for his leadership and accountability, but ultimately, you have to do what’s best for the team, and he’s entering his declining years, and could at least fetch you a few prospects at this point, because he’s been productive offensively and defensively. But Brett Jackson appears to be near ready, and you simply can’t continue to block rookies that long, as most good, young hitters start hitting their stride around 25-26 yrs old, peak at 28-29, have about 3 more solid years, then start declining around 32 years old, according to Bill James’ research.

            If you keep bringing guys up around 25 or 26 years old, it takes about 2 years for them to get acclimated, thus delaying their peak years, and makes reduces the amount of overall above league average seasons they’ll produce.

            Hopefully I’m making sense regarding this issue. I believe the optimal age to promote hitters to the big leagues is around 22-24 years old. Therefore, this season is particularly vital for guys like B. Jackson, Vitters, Burgess (acquired from Nats), Flaherty, and LeMahieu to prove themselves.

        • gocubs

          “Hendry would’ve signed someone like Milledge…”

          Aaron, I dont get your fascination with Lastings Milledge. He happens to be bad at baseball.

          He is 25 and with regular playing time should improve, but hes not getting any regular playing time anywhere because thus far he has proved to be very mediocre as a full time player. Career OPS 723…No thank you.

          • Aaron

            Once again….I should post this disclaimer every single time, as some of you just don’t understand it……

            I am NOT saying that Milledge is an everyday player, but what I AM saying, is that he’s a better back-up option than Reed Johnson. Sorry, but it’s the truth. It’s the same reason I’d rather have Melky Cabrera as well.

            Like the other suggestions I’ve made, they’re ALL relative to replacement value, NOT whether they’ll be stars, or even everyday players or not on most teams, including the Cubs….

            For instance:
            Koyie Hill vs Max Ramirez
            DeWitt vs Scales/Moore/etc.
            Silva vs Cashner/Coleman/etc.

    • paulcatanese

      Congratulations to Barney. I agree with you Aaron,they need all kinds of offense and they dont have it. I want Barney to just play but I know Quade will alternate him with DeWitt. And again we have two automatic outs at the bottom of the lineup,Hill and the pitcher. Oh well another day of Quade blowing his horn. Cmon though they Have to beat the Sox, like Notre Dame beating USC,makes their season,at least for today.

      • paulcatanese

        Thats one good thing that I read about DeWhitt,that he is to get some reps at third base. If that is his natural position maybe his defense could be of value, but he does not at this point have the power numbers that is called for over there.

  • Aaron

    LOL….oh boy….Pena and Soriano striking out back-to-back…..that’s going to get annoying REALLY quickly for Cubs fans. Both of them looked really ugly doing so as well.

    At least the top of the lineup came through though. Nice to see Fukudome, Castro, Byrd, and ARAM put together good AB’s and get runs in.

    • Brentcarmona

      Ya soriano looked terrible on those breaking pitches outside. It was fastball , breaker , breaker. Right as im typing this he takes and outside fastball dead center, home run. Hmm they didnt know lol? Pena struck out looking at the same breaking pitch and location twice, although the first ko was borderline.

    • cc002600

      Yup, just like when you watch the sox and you’ll see Konerko & donkey Dunn whiff back to back about 150 times this year.

      Ya know, Dunn, that guy you wanted so bad ?!


      • Tony

        Look at Dunn and Konerko’s stats versus Soriano and Pena. Big difference, IMO. I don’t like all the K’s, but I would take Dunn and Konerko over Soriano and Pena, especially if you figure in the $$$$.

  • cc002600

    Once again Aaron lets his hatred for Hendry poison his mind and spew his usual gloom and doom. I usually don’t read your long winded babbling, but today I read it, and as usual you are out to lunch.

    First, I love how you always tell us how the older cub players are worthless and yet when you reference aging players on other teams, they are “savvy verterans” LOL. Your hypocrisy is funny.

    Personally, I think the cubs will be about .500. Sure, this team has issues, but what team doesn’t, especially in this weak divsion ? And yes, could they surprise and win 90 games ? I would not bet on it, but stranger things have happened. Baseball is a funny game. ANYTHING can happen. All you have to do is look at years like 1983, 2002, 2006 when they were brutal, and yet won the divsion the folowing year when NO ONE expected it. It happens ALL the time in baseball.

    Just a sidenote about the Cardinals. You talk about how old the cub stars are, and YES, I agree. And yet, look at the Cardinals. This team is anchored by stars who are all between 32-36. Their OF of Berkman, Rasmus, Holliday is possibly the slowest OF in baseball history. There will be sooooo many balls dropping in the gaps that should have been caught that LaRussa will have a heart attack. Can’t wait to watch it !! I predict they win about 75 games, max !!! This is a VERY weak team. Look at IF defense. remember that the Riot is manning their IF. Woohooo !!!

    Reds are decent, but Cueto is hurt now, they are no jaugernaut.. Brewers also have tons of iinjuries and also have BRUTAL defense. Neither are that good.

    It’s wide open

    And after this year, much of that dead weight on Cubs will be gone anyway as they walk as FA’s. NOBODY is taking that garbage in a trade, why do you keep insisting on them trading them ?? It AIN’T happening.

    • Aaron


      First of all, I’m curious as to which “savvy veterans” you speak of that I’ve talked about.

      If you mean Pujols, Holliday, AROD, Halladay, Oswalt, Cliff Lee, Dunn, etc., you know……solid, consistent performers…..ummm, yeah, I’d consider them savvy veterans.

      But step back and look at your ridiculous post.

      You slam me for what I say, and yet you don’t address the fact that NONE of the players I listed over 30 could crack the starting lineups on a majority of MLB teams. About the only ones that could right now are Byrd and ARAM, though ARAM has significant durability issues at this point in his career (sidenote: I have been a HUGE ARAM fan in the past…just realize that players start declining and injuries add up eventually…it’s just the way it is, there’s no way avoiding it unless MLB turns a blind eye to PED’s.)

      Yet, Jim Hendry appears to just love collecting these useless veterans. Look, I can handle veterans that know how to hit and know how to pitch, and can do it CONSISTENTLY year in and year out….but when there are better alternatives (ie.-prospects in the system or young non-tendered free agents, etc.) available, I just don’t see the point in continuing with the retreads. Moreover, I cannot understand why Hendry made the Garza trade when the team was already getting older and desperately needs an infusion of good, young talent.

      My goodness, how quickly you seem to have forgotten what happened when the Cubs called up the likes of Theriot, Fontenot, Soto, Colvin, Fox, etc. The Cubs’ otherwise listless lineups started hitting again. Even Piniella himself mentioned the impact of the young players pushing veterans to play harder, knowing their jobs were at stake.

      Why would players (young and old alike) want to work overtime in the cage or in bullpen sessions if they knew that nobody was going to be brought up to replace them. Hendry is too concerned with options and payroll to pull such moves. It’s almost like he’d rather get a player’s full usefulness out of him prior to getting rid of him versus simply going with the best player, and what I mean about that is this…
      Ryan Theriot- The Cubs knew that Theriot was not suited for SS long-term due to range/arm, and couldn’t hit enough to be an everyday 2B….all the while knowing that they had middle IF depth in the minors to replace him. Rather than looking to trade him prior to his arbitration hearing where he was expected to earn a significant raise, he opted to hang onto him almost the full season, before getting pennies on the dollar for him in the Lilly trade.

      Feel free to argue all you want with me….but at least man up and back up your arguments

  • Neil

    Another DP for Castro and Barney … number two of the day.

  • Brentcarmona

    Wow omar vizquel taking garza deep?? Strikezone has been moving around on garza today though.

  • SuzyS

    I, like many others on this site, see little hope of a good outcome for this season….personally, I see the Cubs in the 60+ (maybe 66-69 wins).

    JH has had enough years to build a consistant winning organization and has failed miserably. So moving forward….after dumping JH…What is the very best move Ricketts could make to replace JH????

    • Aaron

      Well said Suzy….standing ovation and applause for that comment. I’m slightly more optimistic, in the 73 win range, but you very well might be right on your prediction.

      And RE: Hendry’s opportunity to build a winner……..There were two guys that seemed to last through every single storm, and awful season—-Jim Hendry and Larry Rothschild, while they went through coaches, managers, players, announcers, etc. like no other team it seems. It really seems like he has 9 lives. Furthermore, I honestly have never seen a GM make such awful moves, and literally strike out with EVERY move he made in an offseason (2009 offseason signing Bradley, etc.), and still keep his job. It defies all logic, which means…………………’s sooooooooooooooooo Cub-like, right?

    • Tom U

      Suzy, I have not heard of any candidates outside the Cubs’ organization that they would consider to replace their GM, yet. However, for both good and bad, here are some of the in-house candidates they would consider:

      Assistant GM Randy Bush would probably be the leading candidate for the position, especially if he can find a way to distance himself from some of the more recent controversial moves.

      Vice President for Player Personnel Oneri Fleita occupies the same position Jim Hendry had before becoming GM. He has also overseen the rebuilding of the Cubs’ minor league system.

      Special Assistant Dave Littlefield is the former GM of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and would have the most experience dealing with the business part of the position.

      Scouting Director Tim Wilken could also be considered, but would probably need to delegate a lot of responsibility until he was more familiar with the position.

      Lastly, Special Assistants Ken Kravec and Greg Maddux would be considered, but would be considered more figureheads designed to satisfy the fan base, at least for the first couple of years. The GM duties would then have to be broken down into smaller components handled by assistants until Kravec or Maddux were ready to assume full duties.

      • Cheryl

        Good question Suzy. Tom you went over all the potential candidates in- house. I think Oneri Fleita may have the best name recognition. But my guess is that the Ricketts might try for someone, as yet unnamed, outside the Cubs organization. Tome, is it mroe likely they go outside for someone with name recognition?

        • Tom U

          The Magic 8 ball says that answer is uncertain, try again later :-)

        • Tom U

          Sorry, you deserve a better answer. My gut feeling would be no. The Ricketts family is still reeling a bit from the purchase of the Cubs, so going for a name general manager can end up costing them big bucks. A more cost effective move would be to hire an in-house candidate until some of the long term player contracts expire. If he does well, then you’ve made a good hire. If he doesn’t, then you’ve silenced some critics and can then make a more exhaustive search. However, that can all change if the Ricketts family are able to open more revenue streams, as David Hough suggests in todays Chicago Tribune.

          • paulcatanese

            Tom,I listened to the interview with Maddox on the sidelines and he came off with title of assistant general manager. But he also said he knows how to keep his mouth shut under certain circumstances. I was kind of disappointed in the interview and do not think he entertains any ideas of becoming a GM.The only reason I brought this up was youre point about hiring from within and it is a good point and makes sense given the scenerio that is there.

          • Tom U

            Maddux is a name fans like to hear, but I think he is a long shot, at best, for the position.

          • Richard Hood

            Maddux is responsible for DeWitt and the rest of the Dodgers that we got last July. If that is his idea of judging talent please go be a pitching coach somewhere.

      • SuzyS

        Tom & Cheryl…Thanks for the thoughtful replies…personally I think Ricketts would go the “Easy ” route and promote Mr. Bush…But who knows?

        It is good food for the thought processes in any case…and a reason to watch (from a distance) what the Cubs are doing.

    • Richard Hood

      I would rather see Krane Kenny go first. I hate suits and lawyers and the only reason he is even involved is because he was legal council for the tribune company. Please fire him and hire a baseball guy. I understand that Frank Wrens contract is up this year. That would be an excellent place to start.
      Then you can have the flexiblity to either hire a name to groom or a face from outside the organization to put winning first for the GM. But if you say to Frank Wren it is totally your show just make us money he will do just that.

  • Neil

    Barney with another hit … and he can field too.

  • Neil

    Line on #Cubs Matt Garza: 5 IP, 3 R, 8 H, 2 BB, 4 Ks

    By my count, 86 pitches … 55 for strikes

  • cc002600

    Aaron, you miss my point.
    I am NOT saying the cubs do not have aging, declining veterans. Of course they do !! I cannot wait for the day when we wave bye-bye to the likes of Fuky, Silva, Soriano, etc. and see the younger guys take over. My point is look at the other teams in the divsion. EVERY team in this divsion is loaded with weaknesses, including the cubs. But you only want to tell us how bad the cubs are and yet you ignore the other teams.

    And oh, by the way, you called Jake freakin Westbrook a savvy veteran. Hello ? if he was on the cubs, he would be a COMPLETE bum. Am I wrong ? What has he ever done ? The guy is sub .500 pitcher in his career, and yet since he’s on another team, he’s “savvy”. Get my point ? LOL.

    And another thing, if you compare pitching staffs, the cubs HANDS down have better pitching than STL with Wainwright out. Carpenter is 36 and declining, and their closer is Ryan Franklin. Come on !! in their rotation, they have Lohse, McClellan, Garcia and westbrook. Are you kidding me ? Weak. VERY weak.

    • Aaron

      Cubs have more holes than most teams out there, and quite frankly, it’s an embarrassment given their top 5 payroll of more than $130 million

  • Brian

    Ahh, there’s the James Russell I remember.

  • cc002600

    Yea, sure. You are only embarassed by the cubs.

    Grass is always greener on the other side, isn’t it ?

    Hypocrisy should be your middle name.

    • Tony

      The grass might not be greener, but I am tired of my friends celebrating their teams, winning the World Series. That is embarassing!

      • cc002600

        But this is the year !!!!!!


        • Aaron

          Oh…I get it…nevermind my previous reply, I get it now….you’re drunk, aren’t you? “this is the year”….I bet you believed the Ricketts marketing ploy “Year One” too….LOL

          How old are you, by the way? The reason I ask, is if you’ve been around awhile, I bet you were one of the suckers that bought the “pet rock”….LOL…Classic!!!!!!

          • cubtex

            Aaron chill out! I understand I can come across as being antagonistic at time but to call someone drunk is uncalled for!

            Opinions are like assholes! Let it go and if people are allowed to disagree with you!

            Grow up!

    • Aaron


  • Neil

    Cubs hung on and beat the White Sox 8-7 Thursday afternoon at HoHoKam Park. Matt Garza gets the ‘W’. Barney, Byrd and Soriano each with 2 RBI

    • Cheryl

      Neil, What does this do to Russell? Does Mateo have a chance of making the team?

      • Neil

        I heard Russell was in but then today Marcos Mateo’s name popped up as a strong candidate. The two homers Russell gave up did not help. I would have rather seen Russell go to Iowa and continue to start. I would not be surprised at this point if Mateo takes Russell’s “spot”.

  • Tony

    Darwin Barney has won the starting 2B job, hands down!

    I love the look of an athletic team up the middle. Barney and Castro give us that in the infield. Byrd gives that to us in CF, with his hustle, but Brett Jackson will really give us that, hopefully in a few months. If we could just get more athletic behind the plate, we would have the up the middle that I would build my defense around.