Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Giants – 03/16/12

Spring Training Game Fourteen: Cubs (6-7) vs. Giants (9-4)
Game Time – 3:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: None – Radio: Cubs.com
Location – HoHoKam Park, Mesa

Matt Garza (1-1, 16.20/2.40) vs. Eric Surkamp (1-1, 6.14/1.50)

The Cubs will try to end their three-game spring losing streak behind Matt Garza this afternoon. After showing improvement early in the week, the Cubs have simply played bad ball over the last three days. The Cubs have struggled in the field, on the mound, and at the plate … and in the process have been outscored to the tune of 29-9. While wins and losses do not matter in the Cactus League, performance and preparation does.

The Cubs ‘beat‘ the Giants in Scottsdale Tuesday afternoon 5-4 and will not see San Francisco again this spring after today. The next time the Cubs face the Giants will be in June at AT&T Park (June 1 – June 4)

On the injury front, the Cubs will likely be without Ian Stewart for two or three days. Stewart was a late scratch Thursday with a sore right quad. Darwin Barney was also a late scratch Thursday due to tightness in his left side. Barney is listed as day-to-day.

Blake DeWitt left Thursday’s game against the Rockies in the fifth inning after he was hit on the right hand. X-rays were taken in Mesa and DeWitt’s status is unknown.

Today’s exhibition game starts with Matt Garza

Matt Garza is coming off a bad performance, even for a spring game, and will make his third start this afternoon. After a good outing against the Rockies back on March 6 (two runs on three hits without a walk, one strikeout and a HBP), Garza did not complete two innings of work against the Dodgers last Sunday (four runs on three hits with two walks, a HBP and one strikeout in 1 1/3 innings).

Garza had very good command in his first start. His downfall was the hit batter and a bloop single. In his last game, Garza struggled with his command while throwing only fastballs and change-ups.

Matt Garza had a similar spring a year ago and as long as he gets his work in, he should be fine come April 5.

Chris Rusin, Lendy Castillo, Trever Miller and Rafael Dolis are also scheduled to pitch Friday afternoon.

The Cubs will get their first look at lefty Eric Surkamp this afternoon. Surkamp has already pitched in three games this spring (one start) and has allowed five runs on nine hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings.

The Bunting Tournament

The finals of the Cubs bunting tournament will be held today on the half field (beyond the right field wall) at HoHoKam following batting practice. Welington Castillo will square off against David DeJesus for the right to face Paul Maholm or Casey Coleman for the title.

When the tournament began it was touted as the ‘Cubs First Annual Bunting Tournament.’

News and Notes

According to a report from the Tribune, Carlos Marmol and Kerry Wood are the only locks to break camp in the Cubs pen. Rafael Dolis, James Russell, Lendy Castillo, Marcos Mateo and non-roster invitees Blake Parker and Manny Corpas are in mix for the other five spots.

The next round of spring roster cuts is expected to be made after the team returns from the weekend in Las Vegas.

The compensation issues are nearing completion. With the Cubs sending Aaron Kurcz to Boston as their half of the PTBNL exchange, the Cubs are expected to receive a player of similar status from the Red Sox to complete the Theo Epstein deal. The Cubs still must send a player to the Padres as compensation for Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod. Both deals are expected to be finalized in the next couple of weeks.

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Quote of the Day

"Every strike brings me closer to the next home run." - Babe Ruth