Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Angels – 04/01/12

Spring Training Game Thirty-Three: Cubs (14-16-2) vs. Angels (17-10-2)
Game Time – 3:05pm CDT
Coverage – TV: TV – Radio:
Location – Tempe Diablo Stadium, Tempe

Chris Rusin (0-0, 1.93/0.86) vs. Jered Weaver (2-1, 5.84/1.78)

Only three exhibition games left before the Cubs kick off the season Thursday afternoon at Wrigley against the Washington Nationals …

After scoring 11 runs in Thursday’s Cactus League game against the Padres, Dale Sveum’s team has managed a grand total of six runs over the last two games. While wins and losses do not matter for another five days, it would be nice to see a couple of the players that have struggled at the plate this spring finish on a positive note.

The Cubs decided to send Chris Rusin to the hill this afternoon in the second of back-to-back games against Albert Pujols and the Angels and not Randy Wells, as originally scheduled.

Today’s exhibition game all starts with Chris Rusin

Chris Rusin will spend the day with the big league team after beginning Spring Training in camp on a non-roster invite. Rusin was reassigned to minor league camp on March 20.

The southpaw appeared in three Cactus League games prior to being reassigned to minor league camp. Rusin pitched well in limited time. In three relief appearances, Rusin allowed one run on one hit with three walks and two strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings.

Dale Sveum’s lineup for the final Sunday in the Cactus League is expected to be: David DeJesus (RF), Darwin Barney (2B), Starlin Castro (SS), Alfonso Soriano (LF), Bryan LaHair (1B), Ian Stewart (3B), Marlon Byrd (CF), Geovany Soto (DH) and Steve Clevenger (C) with Chris Rusin on the mound.

The Cubs offense will have the pleasure of facing one of the best pitchers in the Junior Circuit this afternoon. Jered Weaver is a pre-season favorite to win the AL Cy Young award after another tremendous year for the Angels.

Weaver has struggled a little this spring and is coming off a rough outing against the Royals. Weaver allowed four runs on nine hits with a walk and four strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. In four starts in the Cactus League this spring, Weaver has allowed eight runs on 18 hits with four walks and 13 strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings.

News and Notes
The Cubs announced Saturday that Jay Jackson and Travis Wood will start the final two Cactus League games against the Diamondbacks (Monday) and Brewers (Tuesday). The Cubs have decided to let Matt Garza, Chris Volstad and Jeff Samardzija make their final spring tune-ups in minor league games … Matt Garza is slated to pitch this afternoon in a minor league game.

Paul Maholm will make one final start in Arizona before making his way to Chicago for the season opener against the Nationals. Maholm will start a minor league game at Fitch Park on Wednesday afternoon. Maholm’s first regular season start should be Tuesday, April 10 at Wrigley against the Brewers.

Kerry Wood’s last appearance this spring will be Monday against the Diamondbacks. Wood threw in back-to-back games (Friday and Saturday) after taking 11 days off from Cactus League action.

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 – RF
    Barney – 2B
    Castro – SS
    Soriano – LF
    DeWitt – 1B
    Stewart – 3B
    Byrd – CF
    Soto – DH
    Clevenger – C

    Rusin – P

    LaHair was scratched with a sore back, expected to return Monday or Tuesday.

  • Steve Rock-Vegas

    Great article on Dave McKay today in SunTimes. Hard to believe how bad of coaching we’ve endured the last five years once you start to read about how impressed players are to actually being taught basics again. We’ve seen numerous articles now since Theoyer took over about changes they’ve made, and I guess what shocks me is I assumed all those things at the major league lever we’re already being done and reinforced on a regular basis.  Stuff like haveing a organizational ‘textbook” on how to teach the “cubsway” on hitting, pitching, baserunning, and terminology I guess i assumed was a given of all MLB teams, guess not.  Just another refreshing article to reinfoce my belief that JH had this thing so screwed up we were’nt even aware how bad it really was.  That is until someone comes in and has to put all the stuff you assumed were in place, IN PLACE.  Can’t wait to watch this year and the next couple to see if all these revelations make a difference, one can only assume, AND HOPE!!
    Play ball!  matter of fact, Let’s play Two today! Can’t wait for Thursday.

  • cubtex

    Humerous article by Paul Sullivan in the paper today already listing Barney at the second option at leadoff IF DeJesus flops :) I guess better to be prepared when it happens. Personally, the best option the Cubs have there still is Castro. He is their best hitter and might at well get him to the dish as many times as possible. He will do less thinking there and just let his natural ability to hit take over. I do not really think he is ready to hit in the 3 hole yet.

    • paulcatanese

      Agree with you, Castro would serve the Cubs better in the 1-2 slot, less pressure(and he has shown a little) and plus he may not take it out to the field with him.
      At any rate Barney and Castro, even when switched around last year between 1-2 did well.

      • Chadaudio

        I agree with you both… i don’t really like Castro in the 3 spot. I’d rather bat him 2nd like last year, he really excelled there, and he just isn’t a good 3 hitter yet and shouldn’t be forced to be. The lineup sucks no matter where Castro hits, might as well hit him where he will preform the best.

        I’m guessing he’ll end up back at number 21 before the year is over.

  • paulcatanese

     I will wait for the regular season to see how all of this wierd stuff works out.
    Lower back problems with LaHair can be a chronic condition, and I would hate to think that Sveum’s super sub DeWitt or Baker will be over at first base for any length of time.
    It may be that the Cubs will see Rizzo sooner than later.
    Wood is another concern that I have with health, as he seems to be made of glass.
    As far as replacement temporally at first base,Mather or Clevenger
    would be a better choice, but again as last year the vets seem to be
    locked in.
    This is all speculation on my part at this point as these games mean
    nothing (or do they?).
    I do not buy the idea of keeping Byrd around for a better trade choice later on. What is saying that he will improve his status by prolonging
    his stay?
    Unless Soriono,a healthy LaHair,and Soto have career years, power will be non existant this year.
    And the pitching, Dempster leaves something lacking in my mind as well as Marmol, again it will take career bests.
    All of these,and my glass is half-full as a Cub fan.
    Oh, I almost forgot, how may bunts will Cub fans see this year?
    Time could have been better spent with additional pitching machines
    and more batting practice.

    • John_CC

      I don’t agree with you that the veterans are “locked in” like last year.  OK, the OF is still log-jammed with vets, only DeJesus is due to Epstien-Hoyer.  And after Jackson, who are all the young players being denied starting spots that the have earned?  I do believe that Hoyer is working to move Byrd, they want Jackson up as badly as we do. 

      First bast has been given to LaHair, it’s his job to lose.  And if he loses it for any reason, either due to lack of production or physical limitations and injury, you darn well don’t have to worry about Jeff Baker or DeWitt getting any prolonged time there, please.  Rizzo is the future. I believe they want to see if LaHair can translate his slugging prowess to MLB, and if he can, then they can talk about the next step, moving him to LF. 

      They have a rookie backup Catcher.  And another youngster ready to play but they have to let Soto play in order to trade him.  Would you rather see Soto benched or cut?

      I just cannot abide by the “veterans” argument this year.

      I do agree with you on Dempster and Marmol. I was howling to trade Marmol 2 years ago.

      And why do have to say that about bunting?  If you are right and there is little power, why do you assume that the Cubs will not try to manufacture runs? 

      For a guy who’s glass is half full you’re starting to sound like an old crank.  Don’t go there, Paul.  You’re better than that. At the very least let’s wait and watch some real games first.

      • paulcatanese

        John, you’re right, I am an old crank. The bunting aspect of this team is almost nil. I just don’t think they can execute that part of the game.
        Not being negative here but look at the lineup. With not counting DeJesus or Stewart, as I dont know those two, Barney cant bunt, Castro,Soriono,LaHair,Soto are all non-tenders when asked to bunt. Five out of nine will not be able to get that done.
        Not advocating Soto to be traded,but if they can go with a substaintial return, ok. The only thing about Soto is his ability to play a full season without being hurt,other than that I am satisfied with him.
        I don’t think I indicated I don’t like LaHair, just the possiblity of a chronic back issue.
        On the plus side, and one I think will overide the bunt issue, has been the fact that they are running a lot more, first to third, etc. that is something they have not done for a long time. Taking the extra base will succeed a lot more than trying to bunt if they don’t know how.
        The double steal in the last game,I haven’t seen that with the Cubs in many a year, great.
        There are many things that are on the plus side with this year, I just think not enough of them to make a real difference.
        Forgot, Baker,Johnson,DeWitt also lack bunting skills
        but have home run power, so they will not be asked to bunt a signifigant amount of the time.
        In other words the success the Cubs will have this year in scoring runs will be,hustle,the extra base, hit and run, and the occasional long ball, and of course, good pitching and defense( even 50% increase over last year) will make for a decent year.

      • Ryanports

        I’m fine with their plans for Byrd. It’s not like the FO hasn’t been listening to offers and finding out what he is worth all offseason. If he isn’t worth anything of any value now, what harm does it do to take the chance he will add some value in the next couple months? The only downside is if you want Jackson to start in center everyday. If that was the plan I would also be okay with it, but if Jackson playing 2 months in the minors, then playing the rest of the year at the major league level saves the cubs potentially a bunch of money down the road, then I’m also good with that. If Byrd doesn’t play well, when you trade him you won’t get anything more than what he is worth now, which obviously isn’t much.

    • Chadaudio


      I agree with you about 1b. I was so bummed to see that DeWitt was being put there again… i hate having DeWitt at 1B ( or 3B for that matter). Agreed lets put Mather there (or even Baker) when LaHare needs a break… DeWitt is terrible!

      I agree with you about the pitching situation two. I like Dempster and K. Wood alot.. but Demp isn’t an ace (he shouldn’t be a number 2 either) and K. Wood shouldn’t be a primary setup man. As for Marmol… ive lost faith.

      As for bunting, i disagree. The offense is so bad, pitching machines aren’t going to help… might as well try bunting.

  • Neil

    From Carrie Muskat: Matt Garza gave up 2 H over 4 IP in Minor League game Sunday w/6 Ks. He threw 51 pitches in game, and then more in ‘pen

  • Neil

    Excellent play by Barney to take a hit away fro Abreu and double off Langerhans.

  • Neil

    Ronald Torreyes in the game playing second base.

    Nice outing by Chris Rusin, worked around 3 errors

    • cubtex

      very nice!  5.1 IP only 2 hits 0 Walks and 3K’s. Is Rusin expected to start in AA?

      • Neil

         Rusin could end up as the fifth starter in Iowa’s rotation. He did a good job today against the ‘B’ team.

  • Neil

    Ronald Torreyes with a RBI single to right
    center (1-0 pitch) off Jason Isringhausen in the 8th inning. #Cubs
    up 8-0 in 8th.

  • Neil

    Frank Batista is now pitching … 

  • paulcatanese

    I will be interested to see the recap on this one,8 runs so far on 13 hits, has to be a few balls that traveled further than a bunt:) See what happens when they don’t know how to bunt.:)

    • Aaron

      Rusin was great, and likely improved his stock in the organization. While it might have been the Angels’ “B” team, they had a couple starters in there, and he did very well.

      I wish I could say the same for the Cubs position starters, who did next to nothing against a good pitcher, until Barney and Castro pulled through in the 6th. And while Byrd later contributed an RBI double, both he and Soriano looked every bit their age, and I wish the Cubs would just do them…and us a favor and trade them already.

      Cabrera really has an electric arm…now…if he can ever get it under control, we might have something there.

  • Neil

    Mets signed Bobby Scales … will go to Triple-A Buffalo

  • Neil

    Cubs top Angels 8-1 Sunday afternoon

    Chris Rusin: 0R, 2H, 0BB, 3K, 5.1IP; Shawn Camp: 0R, 1H, 0BB, 3K, 1.2IP; David DeJesus: 2-for-3, R; Darwin Barney:  1-for-3, 3B, RBI, R; Starlin Castro: 2-for-2, SF, RBI; Jeff Baker: 3R HR; Ronald Torreyes: 1-for-2, RBI