Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs Split Squad – 03/06/11

Spring Training Game Eight: Cubs (ss) (2-5) vs. Dodgers (3-6)
Game Time – 2:05pm CST
Coverage – TV: WGN TV – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – HoHokam Park, Mesa

Ryan Dempster (0-0, 3.00/1.00) vs. Chad Billingsley (0-0, 0.00/1.00)

Spring Training Game Nine: Cubs (ss) (2-5) vs. Reds (5-3)
Game Time – 2:05pm CST
Coverage – TV: None – Radio: MLB.com
Location – Goodyear Ballpark, Goodyear

Todd Wellemeyer (1-0, 0.00/0.50) vs. Johnny Cueto (0-1, 6.00/0.66)

The Cubs will split up for the first time this afternoon. Q’s crew has a total of four split squad games on the Cactus League schedule … the other three: March 12, March 13 and March 15. Next weekend’s split squad contests include a trip to Las Vegas for the annual ‘Big League Weekend‘ at Cashman Field.

Mike Quade will manage half of his crew in Mesa and Pat Listach will serve as the Cubs’ skipper in Goodyear.

The Cubs asked for and was granted permission by the Reds to use a designated hitter today. Tyler Colvin will get the extra at bats as the team’s DH.

The game at HoHoKam will be broadcast on WGN TV and radio. Pat Hughes has the weekend off. Dave Eanet and Keith Moreland will have the call on the radio side while Len Kasper will join Bob Brenly for the first telecast of the spring.

Spring Training Game Eight – Cubs vs. Dodgers
Mike Quade will call the shots at HoHoKam Park today … while the other half of his roster is in Goodyear facing the Reds.

Ryan Dempster threw three innings his first time out. Dempster allowed a run on two hits with a walk and three strikeouts. Dempster pitched out of a big jam in the second thanks to the Cubs wonderful defense.

The Cubs will get their first look at a Dodgers’ team led by Don Mattingly. The Dodgers have played to mix results so far under their new skipper.

Today will be Chad Billingsley’s second start of the spring. Billingsley tossed three innings of shutout ball in his last start … three hits, no walks and three strikeouts.

For the Dodgers to compete for a NL West title this season, Chad Billingsley will have to pitch like the ace the Dodgers think he can be.

Cubs Lineup vs. Dodgers

Kosuke Fukudome – RF
Reed Johnson – LF
Marlon Byrd – CF
Aramis Ramirez – 3B
Bryan LaHair – 1B
Geovany Soto – C
Jeff Baker – 2B
Darwin Barney – SS
Ryan Dempster – P

Spring Training Game Nine – Cubs vs. Reds
With Mike Quade staying behind in Mesa, Pat Listach will call the shots in Goodyear against the reigning NL Central Champions. The Reds have a very good young team and should compete for the crown again this season.

The Reds figure to treat today like a regular season game. Joey Votto and company do not like the Cubs and they always play at the top of their game when facing a Cubs’ team … even in the Cactus League.

Until Saturday, Todd Wellemeyer had posted the only win for the Cubs this season. Wellemeyer pitched very well against the Giants last Tuesday. Wellemeyer said he’s healthy, unlike last season, and feels he can still get outs in the majors. Wellemeyer said if he can’t land a job with the Cubs, hopefully he will be able to catch on with another team.

Wellemeyer threw two scoreless innings the last time out. He allowed one hit while striking out two.

Johnny Cueto will make his second start of the spring. The talented right-hander threw three innings in his first action of the year. Cueto took the loss in the exhibition game after allowing two runs on two hits with a strikeout. Cueto also hit a pair of batters.

Francisco Cordero, Daniel Ray Herrera and Jared Burton are expected to follow Cueto.

Cubs Lineup vs. Reds

Blake DeWitt – 2B
Starlin Castro – SS
Tyler Colvin – DH
Alfonso Soriano – LF
Carlos Pena – 1B
Marquez Smith – 3B
Brett Jackson – CF
Koyie Hill – C
James Adduci – RF

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  • paulcatanese

    Neil,another good post,as I mentioned I would rather read youre report of the game than watch it on TV. And thats okay as I get home late and have to watch a taped version anyway. Are the posts going to be similar during the season? I hope so.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Paul, thank you and yes they will be. The only difference will be with Talkin’ when the season begins. Face to face Pitcher/Batter career stats will be added to the previews.

  • Dorasaga

    Both lineups… Reed Johnson batting second for the Cubs and good old Aaron Miles for the Dodgers. LOL

    I’m staying with the Red Sox game for now. Ike Davis and a whole squad of young talents from Boston farms seem so soothing to the eyes… Aahhh, the good days 103 years ago when good players were let to play..

  • Ripsnorter1

    If Todd Wellemeyer shuts down the Reds and skunks ol’ Johnny Cueto, then he’s made your club. If they are throwing a start at him, then they are giving Wellemeyer a legit chance to make the team as a starter.

  • Dorasaga

    Just watched Rich Hill tossed a scoreless inning with a K. He completely altered his delivery for a flat sidearm. A lot of sidearms pitching for the Red Sox and Mets today. Is this a growing trend in baseball? Food for thought…

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs went in order against Cueto in Goodyear.

    Wellemeyer in early trouble in the first. Bases loaded no out with Juan Francisco at the plate

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Wellemeyer gave up only one run in Goodyear. Reds very aggressive at the plate. Hill threw out Fred Lewis trying to steal second to end the inning.

  • Dakeller80

    The RBIs are racking up for Byrd in the 3-spot. I’m liking him more and more there. You don’t need a true power hitter there. . .just a good hitter with reasonable power. I think he could protect Pena well.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Marquez Smith with the first hit against Cueto. Brett Jackson walked with two outs, up to Koyie Hill …

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Sure would have been nice to see Aaron Miles run like that two years ago. Actually it would have been nice to see him hit the ball out of the infield …

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Casey Coleman is into pitch in Goodyear

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    The Reds got two bloop hits to start the inning, Coleman struck out Lewis but Francisco doubled in a run … 2-0 in the third, one out.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Coleman just gave up a bases loaded single to Chris Heisey … 4-0 Reds.

    • Dorasaga

      Baker hits. God bless the Cubs! Now let’s hope there will be no error for the utility man until April 1. LOL

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Casey with a 1-2-3 4th in Goodyear, Cubs down 4-0.

  • GaryLeeT

    Normally I would never comment on an umpiring call during spring training. But that out call on Baker in the 4th was one of the worst I’ve ever seen in the Majors……including spring training

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs offense non-existent against the Reds, just one hit in four innings … an infield single by Marquez Smith

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Marmol was pretty nasty … love that slider.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    McNutt is pitching in Goodyear, just gave up a home run

    • GrantJones7

      Hows he doing since?

  • Dorasaga

    Neil,

    You’ll need to write something about McNutt, because this Dodgers game has become boring again, after Senior Nasty left the mound.

    The throwing arm of Byrd, again, was not very exciting. He’s been gradually losing his skills as a centerfielder….

    • paulcatanese

      I agree with your evaluation of Byrd’s arm. Medium flyball,no way they should have a runner on third,and don’t forget the dying quail that Johnson came up with on a sort flyball to left. That run was a total gift for the Dodgers. We can knock Soriono all we want,but the runner would not have tried it with him in left,even after the hop.

    • studio179

      “The throwing arm of Byrd, again, was not very exciting. He’s been gradually losing his skills as a centerfielder….”

      Victor can take care of that. ;)

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    McNutt is struggling with his command, already walked two and has given up two runs.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    McNutt out after 2/3 of an inning. Could not find the strike zone. Walked three, stuck out two, gave up a double, a home run and two runs. Leaving with the bases loaded

    • Aaron

      ….and we were led to believe McNutt=better than Archer….Yes, it’s early and it’s his first action this year, but the Garza deal looks even worse by the day.

      At any rate….I know it’s still relatively early this spring, but everything we’ve seen from the team (and management) makes you think we might not even win 70 games this year. Dempster, Wells, and Zambrano have looked good this spring. But Castro, Soriano, and Byrd have been the most consistent hitters this spring with virtually nobody else standing out, and our back-up catcher is one of the worst hitters I’ve ever seen in my life, and it’s not even close….and yes, I’m even going back to my Little League days (granted I played on good teams that made Regionals, but still….he’s even worse than Little Leaguers)

      I was trying to convince myself the other day that it won’t be as bad as I think….that Quade will get the team turned around…..and then it dawned on me….

      It doesn’t f#$ing matter what the hell Quade does….It’s Hendry that has given him one of the worst rosters (and surely the worst lineups) we’ve seen in a Looooooooooooooooong time. I’m talking Cubs lineups circa 1990’s bad.

      Quade could end up being the best manager we’ve seen on the North Side (note: I am NOT confident at all in his managing, just stating a hypothetical), and he’d still fall way short with the lack of talent on this team.

      The fact is, he will likely go North with a team like this:

      Dempster
      Zambrano
      Garza
      Wells
      Silva

      Marmol, Wood, Marshall, Grabow, Samardzija, Cashner, Wellemeyer/Looper

      C-Soto, Hill
      1B-Pena
      2B-DeWitt, Baker
      SS-Castro, Ojeda
      3B-ARAM
      LF-Soriano
      CF-Byrd, Johnson
      RF-Fukudome, Colvin

      Our Opening Day lineup will likely be:
      Fukudome
      Castro
      Byrd
      ARAM
      Pena
      Soriano
      Soto
      DeWitt

      Some people might wonder who you take instead of the veterans like Hill, Ojeda, Baker, Johnson. You have so many younger options it’s ridiculous.

      First of all, at back-up catcher, I think Castillo, Ramirez, or Clevenger would do more than a sufficient job at back-up.

      As for the IF, Barney should be ahead of Ojeda, and Marquez Smith should be over Baker. As for the back-up OF, they should just go with Perez, even though I don’t like him much either, but we clearly need the speed, and Johnson will break down for sure this year.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Aaron, c’mon man. This was his first game of the spring. His two strikeouts were looking and swinging. One was Jeremy Hermida. Let’s not judge him on one spring outing, especially his first.

        • Aaron

          I agree with you, which is why I put the caveat below it after I said that. It is early, but there’s no denying that the deal keeps looking bad almost daily. First, Garza gets lit up his first game. The very next game, he does well, but doesn’t look dominating, then takes a liner off his back. Meanwhile, from what I’ve heard, Archer has been flat out nasty, and they were very impressed with Chirinos.

          Ultimately, this trade will NOT end up well for the Cubs. I’m guessing that Garza will be nothing more than a #3, when the amount they gave up was more in line with what an Ace starter would command. Bottom line is, the Cubs gave up 4 Top 10 prospects in Archer, Lee, Guyer, and Chirinos. Chirinos is likely nothing more than a future back-up. Ditto Guyer. But Lee and Archer seem to be the real deal. Four future MLB players in one deal is quite a haul, no matter how you look at it (meaning if they’re going to be stars, etc.)

          Grant seemed to have some insight, but it really seems like McNutt has some issues going on, either with arm trouble, or command, otherwise there’s absolutely no way they’d keep him out of action until today. I just don’t buy the notion that everything is okay.

          What’s more?….it’s be so Cub-like to trade all those guys for Garza, then have Garza suck (like Broglio), or get hurt, and one of the guys they wouldn’t part with (McNutt), also gets hurt….I hope neither scenario ever plays out, but I have to tell you, I didn’t have a good feeling about the trade to begin with, and it just keeps worrying me….but, that’s just my opinion.

          And I just wanted to get your opinion on this, but I looked around the division just to see what our competition was looking like (Reds, Brewers, and Cards), and both their pitching and hitting looks very good early on.

          However, if you look at the Cubs, they don’t even appear remotely close to being ready for the regular season. Our pitching, outside of Z, Dempster, Wells, Marmol, and Marshall has been pretty bad (notice, I’m not counting guys like Caridad, Mateo, Carpenter, and Cabrera, as they haven’t got a snowball’s chance in hell at making this team….and all but Mateo haven’t given up an earned run yet this spring). Our hitting has been atrocious, and our fielding has been even worse.

          Oh, and our $10 million 1B has a robust .071 avg….but yeah, I guess it’s still early, and all the bad signs we’ve seen thus far can work themselves out, and we’ll magically get better. The problem is, I think the Reds game might have proved to them just how bad things really might get, considering we had most of our everyday lineup playing in that game with Pena, DeWitt, Castro, Soriano, and Colvin, and they could only muster just 2 hits.

          But it gets worse….The Reds had just one regular hitter playing in Renteria, and our pitchers got torched. And if you wanted an idea of what the season might look like with our division rival with our lineup, Cueto, Cordero, Burton, and Herrera all pitched (all of whom will be on their roster). Those guys combined for 6 IP, 1 hit, 1 walk, 3 K’s.

          In contrast, Cubs pitchers gave up 12 hits, 10 runs, 9 walks, with 11 K’s

          I don’t want to be overly pessimistic, but I’d like someone to please tell me what the hell has given them reason for optimism this year.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            http://tampabay.rays.mlb.com/stats/sortable_player_stats.jsp?c_id=tb

            Aaron, we can go back and forth all night. I do not call what Archer has done as being dominating. Without seeing him pitch, it is difficult for me to judge.

          • Last_ginger

            lately Aarons playing GM posts have made shake my head and thank god hes not the GM of our beloved Cubs.

          • Aaron

            Yep, thank God, right? I guess you’re one of those zombie like people that attends games just for the “atmosphere”, and don’t give a crap about seeing a sub-.500 team year in and year out…..Oh…what’s that? You think the Cubs are an above average team because they made the playoffs in 2003, 2007, and 2008?!? Oops…..guess you forgot they have just 14 winning seasons (notice….JUST winning seasons…not playoffs) since 1970.

            But, you’re right, I have no idea what I’m talking about. I just happen to have written a few research papers on this subject…LOL

          • Last_ginger

            as someone whos played sports and happens to be a very competitve person I in fact do NOT enjoy attending games for the “atmosphere”. The Cubs happen to be 5-1 when I attend games fyi. Just because you write papers doesnt make you right.

          • JedMosley

            I’m glad I’m not the only one to notice this

      • carmelo

        So as your new role as G.M. of the Cubs it looks like you would get rid of McNutt based on his first ML appearance of any kind. Failure is not an option—-keep in mind baseball has lots of failure in it so don’t have a quick trigger.

  • Dorasaga

    Neil,

    Thanks for the report. Command is McNutt’s biggest asset, and he’ll need that to even make it to the Big.

    Now something interesting: Laura Ricketts is in the booth with Len and Bob. She’s been involved with Cubs charity, and she just said all the right things.

    Laura gave compliments to how hard working the Cubs staff and players have been. She promised that the farm system is turning well. She claimed Quade is showing his leadership. She even talked a little about the new renovation plans the Ricketts is looking into Wrigley Field (or West?)…

    Of course, these mean nothing if the club doesn’t learn how to win. And it’s only when the organization as a whole climbs up the winning curve, that’s when I can feel confident that Laura was not a parroting PR for her family.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      You’re welcome … thanks for posting what Laura Ricketts said.

      Just a quick note to everyone … before a big deal is made about McNutt’s outing. Sunday was his first appearance of the spring and first in big league camp.

    • The Maven

      She also mentioned something about a bidding for “owner for a day”. How about everyone at CCO pool there money to make Neil the “owner for a day”!

      • Mike1040

        I’d rather see Rip win the “golf with Hendry” for a day.

        • The Maven

          As long as Aaron is also in the foursome

          • JedMosley

            Man i’d really feel bad for Hendry

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    McNutt’s final line: 0.2 IP, 4 runs, 2 hits (2B, HR), 3 walks, 2 strikeouts

  • Dorasaga

    Left-handed Clevenger pinch-hit and made an easy, long swing on a breaking ball to the dirt; almost hit it out the opposite fence but a ground-rule double.

    By the way, I never landed on Arizona soil (took a few flight transfers at Phoenix), so you guys who frequent the state can tell me if this is true or not…

    I’ve noticed all the Asians coming to the Cubs games are big. And I mean BIG, both men and women. They look like sumo wrestlers or something. And I’ve been watching Spring Training since 2007.

    I simply wonder if Asians love Arizonian foods? (which means if most of them in AZ are really big in size? I’ve considered a possibility that Arizonian Asians to Cubs game drank too many Buds, but I dropped that preposition in the name of an eye test.)

    • Dorasaga

      Vitters at third; Max Rami. catching… NOW THAT’s exciting to watch…

      And Vitters couldn’t make his first Big League play: Not in time throw to first base after a big bounce grounder in-between third and short.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Solid single by Vitters.

    In the other game, the Reds are having fun. 10-0 in bottom of 7th. Cubs with just two baserunners and one hit. Cubs’ pitching has issued 7 walks.

  • Aaron

    Carlos Pena just grounded out yet again (which, per Fangraphs) was their major problem with his signing. It was stated that he already had a bad trend going with more ground outs last year, and going forward, if it didn’t improve, he’d have an even worse season this year. Thus far in the spring, I believe 75% of his AB’s end in ground balls, and the rest strike outs. I need to come up with the link for that, but I think it might’ve been on bleedcubbieblue or something. Pena is now hitting .071….6 games, 14 AB’s, 1 hit, 3 walks, 4 K’s.

    Yes, it’s still early, but at some point, you start noticing trends, and you see that Pena is only continuing his crappy hitting from a year ago. Usually, if there’s one time you expect to see veterans do well, it’s Spring Training where they’re often times facing rookie pitchers and NRI guys that don’t have a prayer of making the roster.

    Carlos Pena is HORRIBLE. I was all for signing him off the scrap heap in 2006 when Lee went down with the wrist injury.

    You remember that Neil? I was begging for Hendry to sign him then, but instead he traded for Phil Nevin.

    Anyway, his time is past, and I would not be surprised if he’s released prior to the end of the year, and at that point, unless Hendry can pull off a miracle trade, or insert Colvin there, and he does well, then I just don’t see how he can possibly survive another crappy signing like that. I know the guy has like 9 lives, but seriously….how he’s been able to stay GM is nothing short of remarkable, given all the bad moves he’s made in recent seasons with a top 5 payroll.

    • GaryLeeT

      These Hendry moves are all part of the master plan that Ricketts has implemented. Next year, when the Cubs shed all that payroll, Hendry will claim to use the new payroll flexibility and higher ticket price revenue, to pursue Puhols. He hangs on until the end, but purposely misses out on the signing, and it will be too late to sign any other free agents. A cool 50 million is made.

  • Dorasaga

    Fundamentals, again, is a Cubbie Occurrence… The Cubs need to do better on staying with the bases. Vitters was caught double-played by not reading the liner from LaHair. Vitters shouldn’t be out. Marlon Byrd earlier was nearly caught off guard on second base when the pitcher made that soft throw.

    I was watching the Reds, the Angels, the Red Sox, and to be honest, these teams are ready. READY. They are fit. They didn’t make mental errors as aforementioned. If they start that 162-game season today, they’ll do just fine.

    But the Cubs aren’t. These players aren’t ready. They look mentally out of baseball (and I’m still a little wary that Marmol came to camp out of shape. He never was the past two years, and he was dominant the past two years. Stamina and fitness are important for a long season in baseball as well, methinks…).

    Maybe Quade can put their act together and make the team competitive, but I don’t like what I’m watching from the Cubs right now… 22 more days counting before Spring Training ends…

    • Dorasaga

      Max Ramirez’s first “big league” at-bat in front of a National broadcast… I like Max. He helped Jeff Stevens get out of jam (mixed in a bunch of curveballs with runners on base), and he seems to have some hustle. Maybe it’s youth, or maybe it’s a desire to get there with the veterans. Anyhow, he sort of makes me wonder the “what if”…

    • Mike1040

      I know it is only ST and doesn’t matter, but it seems like “deja vu all over again” (thanks Yogi) to me.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Free baseball in Mesa … going into the 10th

    • Dorasaga

      Yup! Like Marc Grace always says, “Free ballgame, fella!”

      Caridad pitching… What was his injury last year?… nm. Kasper answered: forearm/elbow, 2 DL stints.

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Yes, Caridad was hurt. Spent time rehabbing in Double-A and Triple-A at the end of the year.

  • Jim_Tinley_Park

    Nation represent! Cubs win Cubs win!

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    LeMahieu with a 2-run, pinch-hit walk-off homer in the 10th.

  • Cheryl

    If Hill keeps goinglikehe is, I can’t seeQuade keeping him. Max R. seems like he’d fit in better. A couple more daysandit will be pretty obvious who gets cut. I’m guessing Cashner will be sent down at this point.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Cheryl, from everything I can gather Cashner will start the season with the Cubs … either in the rotation or in the pen. They want his arm in the big leagues.

      • Cheryl

        In some ways there isn’t much choice. I think he’d be better off in the minors working on another pitch and his control. But if they want him in the Big Leagues is it more likely that he’ll be in the pen? The 16th isn’t far away. Could Wellemeyer make the rotation? Is there any way out with Silva?

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          Scouts were watching Silva last Wednesday … just a lot of money left on that contract. As for Wellemeyer, I do not see him in the rotation. Maybe as a longman out of the pen but that would be all.

          • studio179

            I would agree with that point. Ofcourse, moves have to be made when all shakes out. As of right now, my feeling is Wells and Silva make the 4th & 5th spots with Cashner (maybe Wellemeyer, too) in the pen. Ofcourse, I would rather see Cashner get experience as a starter, but Mr. Silva has that contract. Besides, he will either go on the DL after a few starts or by some miracle, get traded (unlikely). At which point, Cashner slides in the rotation.

    • paul catanese

      Cheryl,I would like nothing more than seeing Hill gone but Im afraid that will never happen. Dont forget he also got a raise. I dont know what kind of lock he has on the Cubs,but it seems insurmountable.