Spring Training Game Thirty-Three: Cubs (14-18) vs. Diamondbacks (11-25)
Game Time – 3:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: None – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 184
Location – HoHoKam Park, Mesa
Matt Garza (1-3, 8.68/1.93) vs. Joe Saunders (0-3, 12.51/2.20)
The last Cactus League hurrah at HoHoKam Park …
The Cubs 34-game Cactus League schedule comes to an end this afternoon. The spring has been anything but boring for Mike Quade and his crew has shown signs of playing good ball. But the Cubs have been consistently inconsistent throughout the spring.
After today’s practice game against the D’Backs, the Cubs play an Intrasquad game at HoHoKam Park Wednesday that begins at 1:00pm CDT. The Cubs depart for Chicago soon after to prepare for practice Thursday at Wrigley … and Opening Day Friday against the Pirates, weather permitting.
Matt Garza will make his final start of the spring. Unlike Ryan Dempster and Carlos Zambrano, the Cubs are looking for Matt Garza to get a full days work in and pitch as deep into the game as he can. Garza has been inconsistent this spring and needs to increase his pitch count.
The Cubs are hoping Jeff Baker can suit up and play this afternoon. Baker has been out since last week with a sore left hamstring and is expected to hit at the top of Q’s lineup with the lefty on the mound for Arizona. Blake DeWitt is expected to get the start at third base this afternoon.
Len Kasper will join Keith Moreland to call the Cubs final Cactus League game on 720 WGN … Matt Garza is coming off his first and only win of the spring. Garza has struggled with his command all spring and has walked 12 batters in 18 2/3 innings. Garza has struck out only 13 batters and given up 18 runs, all earned, on 24 hits in six games, five starts.
Garza has shown signs of the pitcher he became in Tampa but has yet to have a solid Spring Training outing. The Cubs are looking for Garza to finish strong this afternoon.
Joe Saunders is fighting for a spot in Kirk Gibson’s rotation. To say Saunders’ spring has been horrible would be an understatement. Saunders was a given to make the D-Backs rotation before the exhibition season began.
Saunders has allowed 19 runs, all earned, on 25 hits with five walks and eight strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings.
It will be interesting to see how much either team shows this afternoon. The Cubs and Diamondbacks face each other seven times in the first month of the season (April 4 – April 6 in Chicago and April 28 – May 1 in Arizona) … and after May 1, the only time the Cubs will see Arizona again in 2011 is for the All-Star game (July 12).
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …