Dempster Tunes Up as Spring Winds Down – Cubs 3, Dodgers 6

Spring Game Thirty-One – Cubs 3, Dodgers (SS) 6
WP – Scott Elbert (1-0) LP – Manny Corpas (0-1) Save – None

After a good stretch of exhibition games in which the Cubs played better ball, the team lost for the second day in a row … and appeared to just be getting their work in Friday afternoon in Mesa against a Dodgers’ split squad.

Ryan Dempster made his final spring start and allowed one run on four hits with three walks and three strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. Dempster was, Ryan Dempster on Friday afternoon. Dempster found himself in deep counts throughout a majority of his last tune-up before his Opening Day start against the Nationals.

Ryan Dempster turned the 1-1 game over to James Russell in the fifth. Russell, the Cubs’ lone southpaw in the pen, retired the only batter he faced.

Manny Corpas and Lendy Castillo are battling for one of the final spots in Dale Sveum’s relief corps and neither one put together a good outing. Corpas sat down the Dodgers in order in his first inning but gave up three runs on two hits and a walk in his second inning of work. Corpas departed with two outs in the seventh.

Lendy Castillo struggled and not only did he allow a run on three hits with a walk and an error in his 1 1/3 innings but he also allowed an inherited runner to score. Castillo has had a good spring but his last few outings have been that of a Rule 5 pick with no experience above A-ball.

Marcus Hatley, up for the day from minor league camp, gave up a run in the ninth on two hits.

The Cubs’ Opening Day lineup struggled against Fernando Nieve and the Dodgers’ big league pen. Dale Sveum’s offense managed just one run on four hits over the first seven innings.

Ian Stewart (1-for-4 with a home run) provided the Cubs lone highlight early in the game. Stewart’s second homer of the spring tied the game at one in the fourth. Alfonso Soriano (1-for-4 with a double and a RBI) doubled in David DeJesus (1-for-4 with a walk, a run scored and a HBP) in the eighth. The Cubs final run came in the ninth after Marlon Byrd (2-for-3 with a triple, a walk and a run scored) reached on an Arizona-triple and scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Steve Clevenger (0-for-1 with a RBI).

As Len Kasper pointed out at the end of Friday’s broadcast, the goal for the Cubs at this point of the spring must be to leave Arizona without any major injuries … and they got their work in on the final Friday of the Cactus League.

Ryan Dempster issued a walk to Dee Gordon to start the game, which is never a good omen, even in the spring, for Dempster. Mark Ellis fouled out to Castro in shallow left for the first out. With James Loney at the dish, Gordon took off for second. Geovany Soto threw a strike to Castro and nailed Gordon for the second out. Loney flied out to left (1-2 pitch) to end the inning.

The Cubs wasted a chance to put runs on the board in the bottom of the first. David DeJesus reached on an infield single to first. Darwin Barney grounded out to short on a 3-1 pitch. DeJesus ended up at second after he ran on the 3-1 pitch to Barney. Starlin Castro stepped in and ripped a double into left. DeJesus slipped on the third base bag and did not score. Castro made it back to second safely but was shaken up on the play.

With runners on second and third with one out, Bryan LaHair struck out swinging and Alfonso Soriano flied out to right for the third out.

Darwin Barney helped Dempster retired Juan Uribe to start the second. Uribe in a three-hopper up the middle of the field. Barney ranged behind second, dove, caught the ball and threw out Uribe at first. Tony Gwynn, Jr. grounded out to first (3-2 pitch) for the second out … but Matt Angle reached on a bunt single.

Luis Cruz ripped a double down the left field line. Angle scored, 1-0 Dodgers. Dempster then walked Matt Treanor. With runners on first and third with two down, Dempster jumped ahead of Fernando Nieve, 1-2. Nieve put together a long at bat. The Dodgers’ pitcher fouled off several 3-2 offerings before hitting a blooper into shallow center that Barney caught to end the inning.

Other than a two out walk by Marlon Byrd, the Cubs did nothing against Fernando Nieve in the second.

Dempster made quick work of Dee Gordon and Mark Ellis to start the third. James Loney singled to right but Uribe fouled out to Ian Stewart (2-0 pitch) to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing in the third inning … and after three, the Cubs trailed 1-0.

Dempster started the fourth by retiring Gwynn, Jr. on a first pitch grounder to Bryan LaHair. Matt Angle ripped a single into center on a 2-2 pitch and with Angle running, Cruz grounded out to second. Angle advanced into scoring position on the fielder’s choice.

Matt Treanor put together a very long at bat that ended with him swinging and missing at a 2-2 pitch to end the fourth.

After Bryan LaHair (tap back to the mound) and Alfonso Soriano (fly out to center) made two quick outs to start the fourth, Ian Stewart ripped his second homer of the spring over the wall in right and tied the game at one. Byrd followed with a single but Soto flied out to center to end the inning.

Ryan Dempster’s last inning of the game started with pinch-hitter, Noel Cuevas, flying out to right. Dempster struck out Dee Gordon and ended his outing the same way it began, with a free pass. Dempster walked Mark Ellis with two down in the fifth.

Dale Sveum went to his pen and brought in James Russell to face James Loney … and Russell won the battle of the Jameses. Loney popped out to shallow left (0-1 pitch) for the third out.

Mike MacDougal started the bottom of the fifth and walked Blake DeWitt on five pitches. DeJesus struck out swinging. With Barney at the plate, a ball in the dirt allowed DeWitt to advance to second and he took third when Treanor’s throw ended up in center. The Cubs ran the bases well but once again left a runner on third with less than two outs.

Darwin Barney flied out to shallow right (2-2 pitch) and Castro grounded out to third (2-0 pitch) to end the inning.

Blake DeWitt stayed in the game and took over for Barney at second prior to the start of the sixth … and Alfredo Amezaga replaced Castro at short.

Manny Corpas retired the Dodgers in order in the sixth … and Scott Elbert sat down the Cubs in order in the home-half of the sixth.

After six, the game was tied at one.

Manny Corpas stayed in and retired Cruz on a grounder to third to begin the inning. Matt Treanor then reached on an infield single up the middle. DeWitt fielded the ball but his throw was late … and Corpas could not recover. Corpas walked pinch-hitter Tim Federowicz (3-2 pitch). With the game tied at one, Dee Gordon ripped a triple into right. Treanor and Federowicz scored … 3-1, Dodgers. Corpas retired Ellis on a pop out to second and Dale Sveum went to his pen with two outs and a runner on third.

Lendy Castillo made his way in from the pen and gave up a single to right on a 3-2 pitch to James Loney. Gordon scored, 4-1 Dodgers … and closed the book on Corpas for the afternoon. Uribe popped out to third to end the seventh.

The Cubs did nothing against Kenley Jansen in the seventh.

Steve Clevenger (C) and Joe Mather (2B) entered the game in the eighth … and Lendy Castillo stayed on the hill.

Tony Gwynn, Jr. led off the eighth with a double to right center (2-0 pitch, one-hopped the wall). Castillo paid a lot of attention to Gwynn and almost picked him off second early in Angle’s at bat. Before a 3-2 pitch to Angle, Castillo tried to pick Gwynn off second again and threw the ball into center. Gwynn took third and Sveum moved his infield in. Castillo walked Angle.

With runners on first and third with no outs, Luis Cruz blooped a single into right center on a 0-2 pitch. Gwynn scored, 5-1 Dodgers. Castillo recovered and limited the damage. Treanor flied out to right center (0-1 pitch) and with runners on first and third with two down, Pedro Baez fouled out to first.

The Dodgers’ closer started the bottom of the eighth and promptly hit David DeJesus. Alfredo Amezaga hit Javy Guerra’s first pitch to short. The Dodgers could not turn two on the weak grounder. DeJesus ended up at second. Bryan LaHair walked and Soriano stepped to the plate with runners on first and second with two down.

Alfonso Soriano pulled the first pitch from Guerra down the left field line. DeJesus scored, LaHair held at third and the Cubs were down 5-2 after Soriano’s double. Stewart grounded out to second (1-2 pitch) for the final out in the eighth.

The Dodgers took advantage of Marcus Hatley and scored one run on two hits in the ninth.

The Cubs final run came in the bottom of the ninth. Marlon Byrd hit a routine fly to right that was lost in the sun. Byrd ended up at third and scored when Steve Clevenger grounded out to third. With one down and the bases empty, Joe Mather (ground out to third) and David DeJesus grounded out to first … exhibition game over.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs host the ‘other‘ team from Los Angeles on Saturday afternoon … Paul Maholm against Garrett Richards.

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Whatever you think, be sure it is what you think; whatever you want, be sure that is what you want." – T.S. Eliot

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  • Cory

    Seems like the master minds could’ve at least got another lefty in the pen…

    • Ryanports

      And they probably still will. There is still a week before opening day and roster decisions still have to be made. My guess is somehow they will end up with another lefty in the pen.

  • Tony Spumoni

    //Russell, the Cubs’ lone southpaw in the pen, retired the only batter he faced.//
    You couldn’t ask James Russell to do much better than that.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Jamie Moyer makes the Rockies rotation.

    • Tony Spumoni

      Hurray for the old guys!

  • cubs1967

    and the final quote from our cocky mgmt team:

    first we had theo saying: cubs fans should demand a winner; yet look at this team he contructed.
    then jed said: this team will be highly competitive; yet we know he meant if playing against the Iowa cubs.
    now dale says: i’ll stack our rotation up against anyone; so all of you thinking halladay-lee-hamels-etc is the best in baseball; NOT so fast.

    here’s a thought; just say the team is moving in the right direction and that team theo is happy they are making progress towards the cubs way.

    BUT don’t tell me about anything that says this team is good; it sucks; there is better talent at iowa that cannot be explained(xcept for bombs away wood) and keep it on the low down……….don’t insult cubs fans intelligence please.

    (and actually this rotation is one of the 5 worst in baseball unless smardz is a real starter); and then bottom 10 at best.

    • WidespreadHisPanic

      At least they’re headed ‘in the right direction.’

      I’ll take this club and it’s reported makeup over the lame product that’s been fielded over the last 4 years.

      Better days are coming and you’re ignorant if you think it’s gonna happen overnight.

      I’m as big a Cubs fan as any of you it doesn’t matter if I’ve been following the team since I was 7 – I’m 38 now – I have seen my share of terrible Cubs teams and I have seen the good ones.

      The day the team starts winning on a regular clip all the ‘negative’ fans will be the first to stand up and claim to be the biggest fans. Things could be alot worse for Cubs fans so we should all take a step back and be grateful for the necesary steps towards a fundamentally sound baseball club have begun…albeit in earnest.

      • cubtex

        You’ll take this club and it’s reported makeup over the lame product that’s been fielded over the last 4 years?

        This year                               Last year

        DeJesus                                Fuko
        Byrd                                      Byrd
        Sori                                       Sori
        I Stewart                                ARam
        Castro                                   Castro
        Barney                                  Barney
        LaHair                                   Pena
        Soto                                      Soto

        Yea. Theo has really gutted the team. Pena was a great clubhouse guy and great makeup. I grant you that ARam was lazy and I don’t know what Ian Stewart is like in the clubhouse but he is probably better than ARam. Fuko wasn’t a bad clubhouse guy or makeup guy either. I cannot believe how people are happy with what Theo has done this offseason? What has he done to give you this huge optimistic view?
        Of course better days are coming. They won 71 games last year and will not win much more than that this year. There is only one way to go from where they are at. They are a big market team!

      • paulcatanese

        Headed in the right direction? Well they only have one direction to go, and that would be up.
        One needs a ladder to go in that direction, and the ladder is only as good as the rungs in it.
        As far as being grateful for the steps that have been taken so far, I will reserve judgement to a later date.
        I am not negative on the Cubs, just logical,and hope you’re optimisim pay’s off for you.

      • cubs1967

        the cubs had the worst defensive team in baseball last year; lahair is worst then pena, stewart is better than aram and fukunuts/dejesus are the same; so how is it fundamentally better when all the other starters are the same as last year?

        and when did I say it would happen overnight; but this 2012 team is not better; they’ve gone backwards.

        so sayin’ its better is one thing; doing it is another.

    • cubtex

      Did Sveum really say that he would stack the Cubs rotation against any? If he did….Sveum has a lot to learn as a manager. As a player….you want your manager to have your back but that is dumb to make a statement like that.

    • Tom U

      2011 Iowa Cubs opening day line-up

      Tony Campana – CF
      Fernando Perez – RF
      Lou Montanez – LF
      Bryan LaHair – 1B
      Max Ramirez – C
      Bobby Scales – 2B
      Marquez Smith – 3B
      Ty Wright – DH
      Matt Camp – SS

      Starting Rotation

      Thomas Diamond
      Austin Bibens-Dirx
      Robert Coello
      JR Mathes
      Ramon Ortiz

    • Ryjo723

      You think youre a smarter baseball person than Epstein…we get it. Luckily for us, you have no say in the team baseball decisions.

      The team is rebuilding. They aren’t going to win the Series this year, and every rational Cubs fan knows it. Likewise, they weren’t going to achieve sustained success by bringing in more enormously expensive contracts. It also would be asinine to not attempt to trade players who may be at peak value or who aren’t going to be with the team for the future…thats what smart GMs do.

      By the same token, it makes zero sense to have Castillo or Jackson sit on the bench-they need to play every day. You don’t have to like it or understand it, but its the right move. You can hate the new FO all you want and can get yourself worked up over Spring Training stats, but believe it or not, there is a method to their sanity.

      • cubs1967

        who said bjax should sit on the bench? he should start; he’s better than bryd.

        and castillo should catch at least 60 games with soto’s injury history; that’s alot more valuable then catching 100 at AAA; he’s done that for 2 yrs. there’s alot to learn to be a MLB catcher plus playing for the Cubs add the daytime game always different starting time dimension plus always playing in front of a full house; wouldn’t it better knowing castillo has 60 games at least under his belt for 2013 than just giving him the job next year with very little MLB experience??  your MLB learning curve starts at the MLB level……

        and the yankees/red sawx/phillies seem to sustain talented teams using FA; it;s all in who is making the decisions.

        you did not state any examples of their “method to their sanity”……..U mean 30 yr plus FA like maholm or dejesus or bringing back rod lopez/baker/dewitt/reed??……just cuz they say its changing is good enough………for the 104th year…..

        • Ryjo723

          Actually no, catching a little more thsn a third of the games isnt better for Castillo than catching everyday at Iowa. Hes still a developing player, regardless of the amount of time hes been in the system. Theres also no reason to start his arb clock ticking with the idea of starting him 1 or 2 times a week. Jackson is better than Byrd, but again, it makes no sense for a rebuilding team that is facing a transitional season (wherein they aren’t likely to be a winning team) to start Jackson s clock early, especially with byrd on the team. Both guys will get called up, most likely around june or july. They will get eased into the show and get some experience with less pressure, and the team will manage to keep control over their contacts…this is a pretty common practice, by the way…

          As far as Maholm and DDJ, they are both signed to team friendly contacts. If they perform to their career norms, the contacts are fair. Neither is spectacular, but both favor the team and are consistent with the teams new philosophy stressing depth, pitching, amd defense.

          And you do realize all the clubs you mention built themselves up through trades and drafting, right? Youre also aware the Cubs were so poorly run for so long that the new regime have a lot of fixing to do, right? The entire process has been sane; they have made a few short term additions and low risk/”buy low” trades to plug in gaping holes. This allows the team to dictate who they plug in from their near-ready prospects, and allows them to do what they feel is best for the organization longterm, instead of acting in a shortsighted manner like the previous regime. This team wasnt going to the WS this season regardless of who they signed in free agency. Frankly, I think you are aware of that, and the constant griping about “104 years” is just a tad melodramatic. If you think they could be championship contenders immediately and on a consistent basis by making different moves this off season, please, list what you think they should have done. Their plan isnt sexy, but in a few years, the organization will be perennially in contention

        • Ryjo723

          To give specific numbers (couldn’t get specific numbers before, as I was posting from my phone) DDJ, in the worst offensive season of his career last year, was still good for a WAR of 2.2, which is good enough to be a starter at the ML level (typically).  He’s making less money than Fukudome, and is a better defender in RF (albeit with not as strong of a throwing arm).  So, even if his offense doesn’t at least creep somewhere closer to his career norms (which it should, since his BABIP was very low, and he had the highest infield flyout percentage of his career, probably in part due to the immense amount of foul territory in Oakland when compared to other parks), his defense should be good enough for two years to make him worthy of his contract.  Again, he’s not going to be an All Star, and he’s not a guy the team is going to build around, but he is a cheap option to plug into right field that will most likely be serviceable, barring injury or him completely falling off the map…both of which are possibilities, but aren’t too likely.  I think getting away from Oakland and coming to the NL will help his offensive numbers improve, as well (his career OPS at the Colisseum is pretty poor–.694).

          As for Maholm, as a 4th or 5th starter (which he’s beginning the year as), he’s a fantastic pick-up.  We hold the option for him next year, so again, this is a case of Theo and company signing team friendly contracts (i.e., not throwing vast amounts of money at players and offering no-trade clauses  to everyone left and right).  If we happen to find ourselves in contention next year (which I very, VERY highly doubt), Maholm is the type of guy who can put us over the hump.  However, since we likely aren’t going to win for a couple more years, Maholm provides us with a cost-effective option while some of our pitchers in the minors work on improving (I’m very interested in seeing how McNutt bounces back, and would like to see what Jay Jackson does this year, as the majority of our other interesting SP options are, for the most part, in the lower minors and nowhere near ready). Maholm was a 2.1 WAR player last year, so again, good, but not sexy. 

          Another factor that should be considered is that both of these acquisitions (who you seem to really dislike) are very tradeable assets.  Neither one is going to bring back a top 10 prospect, but either can potentially be dealt to another team at the deadline for a solid prospect depending on what type of seasons they have/value they will have, and depending on how our better players at the upper levels in the minors progress/perform.  I don’t LOVE either signing, but I LIKE both.  As I’ve said several times, solid, just not sexy moves.

      • paulcatanese

        Maybe so, but Heaven help the Cubs if a virus gets into their computers.

        • cubtex

          I think one already got in :)

        • Ryjo723

          I appreciate using computers.  I’m still a fan of scouting, because statistics alone don’t tell the whole story (at least, not quite yet), but the technology is there.  Let’s use it, yes?  You don’t see doctors giving up the use of current medical practice to use the time-honored tradition of blood-letting via leeches, do you?  At least, not effective doctors…

          I’m a realist, not a blind optimist.  But in a year where the team had very little chance of making the play-offs, even if they did add a ton of high-priced free agents (which I’m against at this time, btw), I like what the FO has done so far.  I’m not a huge fan of the return the Cubs got for Marshall, but I think Wood has talent and can iron things out and be an effective 4th/5th starter if he does.  And I also love the potential of Ronny Torreyes (hence my thinking that this trade can end up being a win for us even if it’s not for a few years).  Other than that, the rest of the moves have been solid, if not sexy and spectacular (with the exception of acquiring Cates and Rizzo…HUGE win for the Cubs, IMO), and allow the FO to start the rebuilding process. 

    • Jay from sandwich

      I predict 104 in losses for the season. This is because of our hitting or lack of it. Our pitching for starting is middle of the road which is acceptable if you have an offense like the brewers did last year.

  • Anthony

    From AZPhil:

    Daytona OF:

    OUTFIELDERS (5):Abner Abreu (INACTIVE?)Eliecer Bonne* Nelson Perez* Rubi SilvaMatt Szczur

    Normally, his INACTIVE means the player is not in sight, and not listed as injured. So is Abreu released, being shipped to SD as Comp

    Eliecer Bonne is a 25 year old Cuban IFA signed by Fleita????

    Nelson Perez was demoted along with the holes in his bat

    Silva is a solid player

    Szczur isn’t being rushed, nor should he be

    Makes me still wonder as Mayke Reyes was reportedly RELEASED and was a 24 year old Cuban IFA signed by Fleita

    What a joke!

    Crash Davis my arse. Strange what TheoHoyerMcCleodFleita did, really strange.

    • John_CC

       Let it go, man. Unless you know something we don’t know, your obsession over one low level prospect is really weird.

  • Anthony

    Found this in the PJStar from 8/11

    Turning point

    Ben Klafczynski went 3-for-4 on Saturday, one day after he went 2-for-3 against Burlington on Friday night. It might be a sign that the 20th-round pick has turned the corner.

    ” He’s been working real hard with (hitting coach Ricardo Medina),” manager Casey Kopitzke said. “I look at his work ethic and the way he’s been working so it’s been nice to see.”

    Like most players coming from college (he played at Kent State), Klafczynski is getting used to using a wood vs. a metal bat.

    “It’s been a pretty tough adjustment. There’s always work to be done with the adjustment to the wood bats,” Klafczynski said. “It’s been a fun challenge and I’ve enjoyed it.”

    Ben batted .321 in August 2011 for Peoria. The player reported to 2012 ST in great shape and all reports were solid.

    This is the most non-sensical release I can remember.

    What the heck happened?

    • Jay from sandwich

      Bens only mistake is he was not born in Boston

    • Redlrczykg

      Are you and Klafczynski related?  Don’t you wish Polocks new how to spell when they created their names?  By the way I’m 100% Polish and can’t spell crap.

      Neil….Any chance you could add Spell Check to this reply box?