Cubs Get No Relief Against the Mariners – Cubs 3, Mariners 10

Spring Game Five – Cubs 3, Mariners 10
WP – Brandon League (1-0) LP – Carlos Marmol (0-1, BS 1) Save – None

Chris Volstad made his Cubs’ debut Thursday in Mesa and became the second Cubs’ pitcher to throw three innings in as many days. Volstad was very solid against the Mariners and allowed only one hit over three shutout innings. Volstad did not walk a batter, struck out three and committed a balk. Volstad turned the game over to the pen with his team up 1-0.

Kerry Wood made his spring debut and retired three of the four batters he faced. Wood allowed a two-out double to Justin Smoak but that was all in his inning of work.

The exhibition game fell apart for the Cubs after the fourth inning. The Cubs’ pen allowed 10 runs on 12 hits in five innings. The Mariners scored in each of the last five innings with four of the 10 runs coming off Carlos Marmol.

After a good outing Sunday in the opener, the Cubs’ closer had a bad day. Carlos Marmol struggled with his command and could not locate his slider. Marmol surrendered four runs on four hits, hit a batter and struck out two in 2/3 of an inning. Dustin Ackley supplied the big hit off Marmol, a three-run homer that gave the Mariners the lead for good Thursday afternoon.

After Marmol, the other relievers Dale Sveum used Thursday did not fare much better with the exception of Trever Miller (no runs on one hit in one inning).

Blake Parker (one run on two hits with two strikeouts in 1 1/3 innings), Scott Maine (two runs on one hit with a pair of walks and no strikeouts in 2/3 of an inning), Alberto Cabrera (one run on three hits with a strikeout in 1/3 of an inning) and Casey Weathers (two runs on one hit, a home run, with three walks, two wild pitches and no strikeouts in one inning).

The Cubs defense was charged with only one error but committed more miscues than they were credited for Thursday afternoon.

After hitting the ball all over the park in the first four games, the Cubs offense managed only three runs on eight hits against Seattle pitching. Alfonso Soriano (1-for-2 with a home run) hit his third home run of the spring, a solo shot to start the second, and Jeff Baker (2-for-2 with a double) had a good day at the dish. Matt Tolbert (1-for-2 with a RBI) notched the Cubs’ other RBI.

Chris Volstad started his day by sitting down the Mariners in order. The Mariners did not hit a ball out of the infield and Volstad struck out one in the opening frame. Dustin Ackley grounded out to short, Michael Saunders struck out swinging, and Jesus Montero lined out to Anthony Rizzo.

Other than Starlin Castro (two out single to center), the Cubs did nothing against Kevin Millwood in the first.

Chris Volstad made quick work of the M’s again in the second. Volstad sat down Seattle in order with only one ball leaving the infield. Smoak lined out to short, Seager flied out to center and Olivo grounded out to third.

Alfonso Soriano gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the second. Soriano launched a 1-0 pitch over the wall in center (just to the left) for his third home run in four at bats.

The Cubs had a chance to add to the one-run lead after Anthony Rizzo struck out swinging, Jeff Baker (single to right center) and Reed Johnson (single to left center) reached on back-to-back hits. Welington Castillo struck out swinging and David DeJesus popped out to Kyle Seager near the mound to end the second inning.

Chris Volstad struck out Carlos Peguero swinging to start the third (3-2 pitch). Casper Wells notched Seattle’s first hit off Volstad (single to left). Munenori Kawasaki tried to bunt his way on but left the ball in front of the plate. Welington Castillo picked up the ball and threw to second to force Wells. Kawasaki stole second with Ackley at the plate and advanced to third on a balk.

With the tying run on third, Volstad ended his day by striking out Dustin Ackley looking (3-2 pitch) for the third out.

The Cubs did nothing against Millwood in the bottom of the third.

Kerry Wood replaced Volstad in the fourth and retired three of the four batters he faced.

The Cubs once again had a chance to add to their one-run lead in the fourth against Brandon League. After Soriano (struck out swinging) and Rizzo (ground out to second) went down quickly, Jeff Baker reached on a two-out double to left center (2-0 pitch). Baker advanced to third on a wild pitch. Reed Johnson walked to put runners on first and third with two down.

Welington Castillo launched a deep fly to right center … but Carlos Peguero caught the ball on the warning track to end the inning.

Carlos Marmol started the fifth but could not complete the inning.

Miguel Olivo led off the fifth with a single to center (2-2 pitch). Marmol struck out Peguero swinging before hitting Casper Wells. With runners on first and second with one out, Kawasaki singled to left (1-1 pitch). Olivo scored the tying run.

Marmol could not retire Dustin Ackley. Marmol fell behind 3-0 before getting the count back to 3-2. Ackley fouled off several pitches before launching a ball over the wall in right. Ackley’s homer gave the M’s a 4-1 lead. Marmol settled down and struck out Michael Saunders after the homer … but Jesus Montero singled to left center (2-0 pitch) and chased Marmol from the game.

Blake Parker replaced Marmol and struck out Smoak looking to end the inning.

The Cubs did nothing against Tom Wilhelmsen in the fifth.

Dale Sveum made several changes in the sixth and left Blake Parker in to start the inning. Junior Lake (SS), Matt Tolbert (2B), Jae-Hoon Ha (LF), Brett Jackson (CF) and James Adduci (RF) took over for the starters.

Parker retired Seager to start the inning (fly out to left) before he gave up a single to Miguel Olivo. Olivo swiped second with Peguero at the plate and scored when Peguero blooped a single into left. Parker struck out Wells swinging on a 3-2 pitch as Peguero broke for second. Welington Castillo threw out Peguero (strike ’em out, throw ’em out) to end the inning.

The Cubs finally put runs on the board again in the sixth … with a little help from Seattle’s defense.

Ian Stewart struck out swinging on a ball in the dirt to start the sixth. But the ball got away from Olivo and Stewart reached first after Wilhelmsen air mailed the throw to first. Jae-Hoon Ha popped out to first. Blake Lalli hit for Rizzo (stayed in and played first) and after a wild pitch advanced Stewart to second, Lalli singled to right. Stewart held at third with one out.

Matt Tolbert delivered a single to right (2-1 pitch) as Lalli broke for second. Stewart scored, 5-2 Mariners. Reed Johnson grounded out to third, Lalli held but Tolbert advanced to second as Johnson was thrown out at first.

Welington Castillo hit a 2-2 pitch toward short. Kawasaki fielded the ball but his throw to first was low and De Jesus could not make the scoop. Lalli scored on the error, 5-3 Mariners. With runners on first and second with two down, James Adduci struck out swinging (2-2 pitch) to end the inning.

After six innings, the Cubs trailed 5-3.

Josh Vitters (3B), Blake Lalli (1B) and Michael Brenly (C) entered the game in the top of the seventh … and Scott Maine took over for Blake Parker.

Vitters fielded a grounder off the bat of Kawasaki but threw low to first … and Vitters’ throwing error opened the inning on a bad note. Rodriguez grounded out to Lake at short, Kawasaki advanced to second on the play. Maine walked Ford.

Francisco Martinez hit for Montero and with Martinez at the plate, Seattle pulled off a double steal. Maine ended up walking Martinez on four pitches to load the bases with one out. De Jesus popped out to second ahead of a double to left by Alex Liddi. Kawasaki and Ford scored … and Sveum made the slow walk.

Alberto Cabrera replaced Maine and struck out Olivo swinging to end the inning.

Brett Jackson led off the bottom of the seventh. Shawn Kelley struck him out swinging. Junior Lake walked on four pitches and stole second with Vitters at the plate. Vitters advanced Lake to third with a swinging bunt to the third base side of the mound. Ha lined out to left to end the seventh inning.

Alberto Cabrera started the eighth and Peguero lined a 3-1 pitch off his leg. The ball ended up in foul ground and Peguero reached on an infield single. Cabrera stayed in but struggled with his command. Mike Wilson followed with a single to left.

Carlos Triunfel hit a liner to second that Matt Tolbert dove for but the ball fell out of his glove to load the bases.

Dale Sveum went to the pen and brought in Trever Miller with the bases loaded and no outs.

Rodriguez hit a comebacker to Miller. The veteran lefty threw home and forced Peguero for the first out. Darren Ford followed with a bloop single to center that plated Wilson … 8-3 Seattle. Francisco Martinez hit a tapper back to Miller that turned into a 1-2-3 inning ending double play.

The Cubs did nothing in the eighth … 1-2-3 against Sean Henn.

Casey Weathers made his second appearance of the spring and could not throw a strike in the ninth. Weathers issued three walks, threw two wild pitches and allowed a two-run homer to Guillermo Quiroz on a 0-2 pitch.

The Cubs went quickly and quietly in the bottom of the ninth.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

The Cubs travel to Glendale on Friday to face the White Sox. Travis Wood against Chris Sale and the game will be televised on WGN TV with Hawk Harrelson and Steve Stone calling the game.

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Quote of the Day

"Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure." – W.J. Slim

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  • John G

    Kaplan and crew are talking about how Soriano stood and admired his homer then slowly jogged down to first. Did you see it Neil? And is that what happened? If so, he needs to spoken to. This habit was supposed to be history.

    • Neil

      John, I was not at today’s game. Just listened to it. I have heard/read that Soriano stood and watched.

  • cubtex

    Read that Andrew Cashner was clocked at 101 today in his first outing. If he stays healthy……he is special! It was tough giving him up.

    • Josh Man

      I agree.  As a TCU alum (the school Cashner was drafted out of) I probably am a little more biased towards Cashner, but I still feel like he is going to be a star.

      However, I am hoping that this is one of those trades that really works for both teams.  I hope that Rizzo is a special player as well.

    • GaryLeeT

      It’s early, of course, and I know you called this too, but I stand by my prediction that the Cubs will rue the day they traded Cashner. And while I am at it, they will regret passing on Darvish too. On  the flip side, the Cubs will NOT regret getting rid of Zambrano.

    • daverj

      Agreed, but as you stated health is the key here.  He could be a lights out closer, a top of the rotation starter, or a perpetual DL frustration.

    • Ripsnorter1

      I think we live to regret that trade. 

  • Tbarker

    Neil you mentioned yesterday that Samardzija was throwing a change up. By change up do you mean slider? He has never thrown a change before. In fact I mentioned to him at the Wood fundraiser that the only thing stopping him from having Lincecum results was a changeup. His response was”I don’t like to mess with the slow stuff”. If he has truly added an effective change to go with his mid 90’s fastball, the sky is the limit

    • Neil

      It looked like a change-up where I was sitting. A scout sitting behind me also commented about him throwing a change-up. I did not speak with him so I do not know for sure.

      • Tbarker

        Terrific news, I can’t wait to see him pitch. With his delivery and arm slot, a good change would naturally tail away from right handed hitters.

      • Redlarczykg

        I have always been mystified, how a kid pitcher isn’t taught a change up in high school, much less at every level through the minors?  How is it not obvious that you get batters out by changing speeds?

        It’s a Neanderthal, Testosterone driven mind set that you have to blow the ball past the batter.  Pitching is the art of deception, not just grunt strenght.

  • GaryLeeT

    Since the starters only play in the early innings, I am counting wins and loses by which team is ahead after the first 3 innings. Using that guideline, the Cubs are 5-0 after the 3 inning mark. The walks issued by the Cubs are way down, and the walks taken are up. All good signs.

  • cubsluver

    Since Samardzija has pitched no more than 88 inns in any year could he be the closer?