Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Angels – 03/31/12

Spring Training Game Thirty-Two: Cubs (14-16-1) vs. Angels (17-10)
Game Time – 3:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: Comcast SportsNet – Radio: 720 WGN, XM Radio Channel 187
Location – HoHoKam Park, Mesa

Paul Maholm (1-1, 0.90/1.20) vs. Garrett Richards (3-1, 3.77/1.47)

The Cubs will spend their final Saturday of Spring Training in Mesa hosting the Los Angeles Angels in the first of a home and home with Albert Pujols’ new team. The Cubs make the short trip to Tempe on Sunday to complete their spring slate with the Angels.

Paul Maholm has put together a good spring. Prior to today’s start, he is the only pitcher in the Cubs’ Opening Day rotation that has not had a bad outing in Arizona this spring. Maholm has quietly been very good but he could face an excellent lineup this afternoon, depending on which players Mike Scioscia brings with him.

If Albert Pujols makes the short trip from Tempe, the Cubs will see him in a different uniform for the first time and Pujols will take the field at HoHoKam Park for the first time in his career.

This afternoon’s game will be broadcast on Comcast SportsNet … and Pat Hughes and Keith Moreland will call the game on 720 WGN.

Today’s exhibition game all starts with Paul Maholm

Paul Maholm makes his fourth and final start in the Cactus League this afternoon. Maholm has allowed four runs, one earned, on eight hits with four walks and 10 strikeouts in 10 innings. Maholm is coming off an excellent outing against San Diego in which he struck out six over five-shutout innings. Maholm surrendered four hits and issued two free passes.

The Angels’ top pitching prospect has had a very good spring. Garrett Richards makes his fifth Cactus League start this afternoon after allowing eight runs, six earned, on 17 hits with four walks and 12 strikeouts over 14 1/3 innings.

News and Notes
With the demotion of Randy Wells to Triple-A, the Cubs have decided to let Chris Rusin spend the day with the big league team on Sunday. Rusin, instead of Randy Wells, will face Jered Weaver, Albert Pujols and the Angels Sunday afternoon in Tempe.

The Cubs have not made the news official, but it appears Frankie De La Cruz has cleared waivers, removed from the 40-man roster and reassigned to minor league camp. De La Cruz was thought to be competing for a spot in the pen after he was claimed off waivers from the Brewers on March 16.

The Cubs spring roster is officially at 31 players. Casey Coleman and Tony Campana have been told they will begin the season on the I-Cubs roster but the Cubs have not officially optioned them to the minors.

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

"Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again." – Bob Feller

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  • Neil

    Today’s lineup:

    DeJesus – CF
    Barney – SS
    Stewart – 3B
    Baker – 2B
    LaHair – 1B
    Johnson – LF
    Clevenger – C
    Mather – RF
    Maholm – P

    And Pujols is in the starting lineup for the Angels

  • Neil

    The Cubs announced Jay Jackson (D’Backs) and Travis Wood (Brewers) will start the final two spring games. As mentioned above, Chris Rusin will start Sunday’s game against the Angels.

  • paulcatanese

    I know its only ST and games dont count. But just a little interested to see how Sveum will handle pitching against Pujols. Maybe he can call Q for some pointers:)

    • Tony_Hall

      I would hope that in ST, they tell the pitchers to challenge him by throwing strikes. Of course if he hits HR’s off that strategy, then people will talk about how bad the pitcher pitched….

      • paulcatanese

        Any pitch towards home plate with Pujols is a bad one and could be hit a mile. I posted that for a little levity Tony, remembering last year with cluless Q and how he handled the situation. I like Sveum and think he will make a lot of right moves.

        One thing for sure, he played everyone this ST and gave the orginization a good look for this year.
        As far as the roster, I know he has to deal with what he is given and will be a real challenge for him.

      • cubtex

        If Sveum really said he would take the Cubs starting staff over any….why would you walk PuJols :)

        • Tony_Hall

          I don’t believe I did say to walk him.  But in a real game, I would not give him much to hit with men on base.

          What do you want a manager to say?  I like our staff, but would prefer the Phillies staff.

          • cubtex

            Cmon Tony. Have you ever played the game? Players know what they have. Say you like our staff and you will go to battle with them. There is a way to talk up your team without making ridiculous statements.

          • Tony_Hall

            Sveum is talking potential, and that if Samardzija, Maholm, and Volstad, meet that potential, they will have a very good rotation, that could be near the top of the NL.  

            You, on the other hand, always talk worse case on every player, (except Garza) which if that is what you believe, makes his thoughts ridiculous.

          • cubtex

            You have to look at stuff. Does Volstad have great stuff? Does Maholm? Does Dempster? The only 2 pitchers on the staff with above average stuff are Garza and Shark. I will make you a friendly wager. I bet the Cubs starting staff will be ranked lower thank 15th in the league. Even with Garza they won’t have a 15 game winner this year.

          • cubtex

            And you have always made the statement Garza is a #3 on a good staff and now you think by adding Volstad,Maholm and Shark that could propel them near the top of the NL??? Wow! I maintain that Garza is the best starter we have by far. It isn’t even close. So that means they have a #4 in Dempster and 3 #5’s. If you believe that they will be near the top…I’ve got some real estate to sell you here in Austin.

          • Tony_Hall

            Please tell me where I said that this rotation would be propelled to  the top of the NL.  I was explaining to you what Sveum was saying.

            So, WOW, you like to put words in peoples mouth.

            Garza is a #2 starter.

            That is what he is.

            On this staff, he obviously the best starting pitcher.  

            On a great staff, he would be a #3.

            I hope one day  he is our #3.

            Dempster is a 4/5.

            Samardzija has the potential to be a #3, maybe even a #2.

            Maholm is not as bad as you make him out to be.  I liked what I saw today, and thought he had better stuff than I remember.  He is #3 max, most likely a #4.

            Volstad is the 5th starter in the rotation.  Many teams would like to have a 5th starter like Volstad.

            That is where the optimism comes in for this pitching staff.  Many teams have 1 or 2 starters, much worse than Volstad (or a Wells).  The Cubs will have 5 starters and a 6th starter that is more than capable to keeping them in the game.  Unlike last year, where 1/3 of the games last year, you knew it was going to take a perfectly played game to have a chance. 

            As far as your wager, you don’t think they will be in the Top 15 in the league.  There are only 16 teams, so I guess you think they will be dead last.  

            No chance.

            If you are saying in all of MLB, I think that is close 15 out of 30.  If they do that, that would be a huge improvement over last year.

          • cubtex

            You said that this staff could be near the top of the NL if they reach their potential. Sorry about the 15 mistake…I was thinking all of baseball. I meant bottom half. Have you looked at Volatad’s stats the last couple years? He is one of the worst starters in all of baseball. I don’t think Maholm is terrible. If you remember….I brought him up as one to sign and would be a good #5. I want Shark to get a shot….but I think he will have his ups and downs. Collectively, Demp Garza Shark Volstad and Maholm is a below average rotation in the NL. I know you are trying to be positive about this staff but it is below average.

          • Tony_Hall

            I was explaining what Sveum said.  I feel if this rotation has the best year it could have, it would be around 10th in all of MLB.  I expect them to be middle of the pack.

            As far as Volstad, he is 25 years old.  I think a change of scenary, after 3 1/2 seasons in MLB, is  perfect timing.  He is all upside, with little downside.

            As far as Samardzija having ups and downs, even Garza has ups and downs, as all pitchers go through.  

          • cubtex

            I am a big fan of the old way of looking at pitchers. Volstad has Never had a good K rate and he always gives up more hits than innings pitched. Even in minors. The guy is very hittable. He is like Casey Coleman only 6’6. He needs alot of atem balls and double plays to be successful.

        • Ripsnorter1

          That statement, matched with the statement that Brett Jackson is the best looking young player he’s ever seen in ST, shows you already that Dale Sveum is full of empty words.

          • cubtex

            Sveum has a lot to learn on how careful he needs to choose his words. I think he will. He is a first year manager and this is all new to him. He didn’t have to make statements about the team when he took over in Milwaukee for those 12 games or so. He told Bowden his starting staff and then said he never said it. Dale…do you not know they have that audio filed away and they can play it back any time they want? Bowden had a field day with that on the radio the other day. He will learn how to handle the media better.

  • MikeT_2008

    I haven’t been able to follow much of this ST but people seem to like what the Rule 5 kid Lendy Castillo has done, but then when the signed Camp people thought that his chance to make the team was dead. I was just wondering what the chances are that he makes the team because it seems like he has a good arm 

    • Neil

      Mike, Lendy Castillo still has a chance to make the team. He is hanging on. Castillo has struggled of late with the basics and did more of the same yesterday (wild pick off attempt to second, the ball ended up in center). As camp has progressed his inexperience has shown up more and more as expected. The Cubs are concerned about him being able to field his position and his ability to throw what the catchers are calling. Of late he has performed like a pitcher without experience above A-ball.

      • MikeT_2008

        Thanks Neil, in your gut do you think he makes the team?

        • Neil

          I would think so. With that said, I cannot get a read on what their plans are for the last two to three spots … and I don’t believe they know right now. I think they like Castillo and Corpas but are trying to add a lefty. Most are thinking Lopez is a given for the long man’s job but Lopez signed a minor league contract and if they want a look at Castillo during the season, Lopez can just go to Iowa and pitch.

          • MikeT_2008

            Thanks Neil, school has kept me from keeping up as much as I would like to but you and your site keeps me updated.

          • Neil

            You are more than welcome …

          • Ryanports

            Is it possible that the cubs can come up with an injury to Castillo to buy some time until they know what they want to do with him? It seems like he would certainly be a nice arm to have in the minor leagues, however it doesn’t seem like he is ready to hang onto the major league squad yet. I know with Patton they put him on the 60 day DL for the last 2 months, and that worked fine. Its harder to hide a guy in the bullpen in April than it is in September. What do you think the chances are that they are trying to work a deal with Philadelphia to keep him so they can keep him in the minor leagues? It would seem like Philadelphia wouldn’t be all that interested in trading for a guy when they know theres a good chance they will get him back since I don’t think he will last.

          • Tony_Hall

            I think you answered your own question.  If the Phillies want him back, they will want a lot more in return, than if htey don’t.  

            As far as the DL, he does need something that actually is wrong to go on the DL.  As the season goes on, everyone has something that hurts.  So if he is not ready for the majors, they will use him in mop up duty, and side sessions, until something hurts enough to DL him.

          • Neil

            Ryan, Castillo cannot begin the year on the DL after pitching all spring. He has to begin the year on the active roster.

            If they are working on a deal with the Phillies, I have not heard/read anything.

            The question you raise is why the Rule 5 Draft is not what it used to be. It is hard to keep a player on an active roster the entire season.

  • Neil

    DeWitt is at first, not LaHair to start the game.

  • MikeT_2008

    Ah the more things change the more they stay the same

  • Neil

    Even in the spring, Pujols kills Cubs’ pitching

    • Tony_Hall

      I’m sure Maholm is thinking (like a lot of NL pitchers), I’m not gonna miss that guy…

      • MikeT_2008

        I’m not an NL pitcher and I’m not gonna miss him haha

        • Neil

          I’m with you guys … not going to miss him trotting around the bases with Cubs’ players in the background.

  • Neil

    From ESPN Chicago: LaHair a late scratch. DeWitt at first base. No reason given. LaHair did not take part in drills this morning.

  • MikeT_2008

    Only thing Albert needed to do there was pose then toss the ball into the stands.

  • Neil

    From ESPN Chicago: Cubs saying LaHair/DeWitt mixup was just
    another one of those clerical errors. LaHair was listed on early lineup
    but DeWitt is at 1B.

    • The Maven

      They need to find a new cleric.

  • Neil

    Paul Maholm’s final line against Angels:
    2R, 3H (HR), BB, 6K, E in 4.2IP

  • Neil

    Excellent throw by Steve Clevenger

  • Neil

    The Cubs with a double steal? Clevenger broke from first and Johnson broke from third … I am not sure what I just saw.

  • Neil

    That was nice … and Clevenger threw out another runner.

  • GuestSC

    Dear cubs1967,

    Who’s your daddy?


    S. Clevenger

  • Tony_Hall

    Pitcher for the Angels is 7’1″ 

    • paulcatanese

      He would get my attention! When he strides toward the plate he probably is only 50ft or less away when he releases the ball. Top it off he was just a little wild.

  • Neil

    Cubs and Angels played to a 3-3 tie in 10 innings on
    Saturday afternoon


    Paul Maholm: 2R, 3H, BB, 6K in 4.2IP; Carlos Marmol: 0R, 0H,
    0BB, 0K in 1IP; Rafael Dolis: 0R, 0H, 0BB, 1K in 1IP; Joe Mather: 1-for-4, 2B, R;
    Blake DeWitt: RBI