Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Dodgers – 02/27/13

Spring Training Game Five: Cubs (3-1) vs. Dodgers (1-1-2)

  • Game Time – 2:05pm CST
  • Coverage – TV: None – Radio: Cubs.com, XM Radio Channel 186/844
  • Location – HoHoKam Park, Mesa

Brooks Raley (0-0, -.–/-.–) vs. Aaron Harang (0-0, -.–/-.–)

The Cubs face the Dodgers for the second time in five spring games this afternoon. The Cubs dropped the first match-up of the Cactus League with the Dodgers on Monday afternoon at Camelback Ranch, 7-6. Dale Sveum is expected to run out a majority of his regulars behind Brooks Raley.

The Cubs have played good ball over the first four games of the spring, and will look to continue that today. The team has plenty of work to do, and decisions to make prior to Opening Day.

Len Kasper and Mick Gillispie will call the action once again on Cubs.com.

This afternoon it all starts with Brooks Raley …

Brooks Raley makes his first start of the spring this afternoon. Raley figures to begin the year in the I-Cubs’ rotation. Raley began last season with the Tennessee Smokies and ended up in the Cubs’ rotation before he was shut down in late August due to reaching his innings limit.

Raley was a combined 6-10 in 22 starts for the Smokies and I-Cubs with a 3.58 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP before his call to the show. Raley really struggled with the Cubs and posted a 1-2 record in five starts with an 8.14 ERA and a 1.81 WHIP. Where Chris Rusin could end up as the second lefty out of the Cubs’ pen when the season begins, Raley is a starter and will provide depth down in the minors.

Dale Sveum is expected to run out the following lineup behind Brooks Raley this afternoon.

  1. Luis Valbuena – 3B
  2. Starlin Castro – DH
  3. Anthony Rizzo – 1B
  4. Alfonso Soriano – LF
  5. Nate Schierholtz – RF
  6. Scott Hairston – CF
  7. Welington Castillo – C
  8. Darwin Barney – 2B
  9. Brent Lillibridge – SS

Aaron Harang could be pitching for a job on another team. With the additions of Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu in the off-season, Harang could be on his way out of Los Angeles, along with Chris Capuano. Harang posted a 10-10 record in 31 starts a year ago with a 3.61 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP. Harang has had a lot of success against the Cubs in the past, and should bring his A-game this afternoon in order to showcase what he can do for other teams.

Cubs Spring Training News Bits

According to multiple reports, Matt Garza could resume some throwing on Thursday. If Garza is able to get back on the mound this week he should have time to get stretched out before the first week of the season.

Scott Baker completed a 25-pitch live batting practice on Tuesday, and everything went well according to multiple reports. The Cubs are hoping Baker will be ready to join the rotation by mid-April.

Arodys Vizcaino threw his first bullpen session on Tuesday. Vizcaino also threw 25 pitches and reportedly everything went well. Vizcaino has been told that he will be held back in Mesa for Extended Spring Training. Vizcaino is expected to spend at least the first two months continuing his rehab from Tommy John surgery before receiving his minor league assignment.

Anthony Rizzo’s last day in Cubs camp will be March 3. Rizzo will join Team Italy to prepare for the WBC on March 4. Anthony Rizzo wants the Cubs to develop a winning attitude, even in Spring Training.

Junior Lake worked on his defense at third base Tuesday afternoon with Dale Sveum and David Bell on a backfield at HoHoKam Park. Lake worked tirelessly on his fielding, footwork and throwing to first base. Theo Epstein watched a majority of the session.

David Haugh caught up with Theo Epstein at HoHoKam on Tuesday. Epstein talked about the upcoming season, and pointed out he wants to avoid the middle ground. Epstein said there is no glory in 78 wins instead of 73 wins. Epstein likes the talent on the team, and hopes they can surprise some people. Epstein admitted the mistakes that were made in December of 2011 … trading Tyler Colvin and D.J. LeMahieu to the Rockies and leaving Ryan Flaherty unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft. Click here for the entire report.

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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  • Ripsnorter1

    Well….the speculation http://bleacherreport.com/tb/d9PlB?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=chicago-cubs

    about who will and who won’t make the roster is rampant out there. Fun to read. But I don’t think the author, one Mr. Jesse Rogers, has taken into account the DL.

    I expect Garza to start the season on the DL.
    I expect Baker to start the season on the DL.

    That would leave Bowden on board, and I expect Rondon.

    Concerning position players, I expect Ian Stewart to start the season on the DL. He’ll make the team, imo, but I think he’ll be hurt.

    Just guessing, of course.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Rough first inning for Raley …

    Valbuena stays hot with a leadoff double

    • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

      Valbuena has been on fire this offseason and continuing it. Does he have a shot to hit .300? Maybe hit 15 bombs?

      • calicub

        That would be the surprise of the year wouldn’t it? But I have two words to spoil your hope:

        Brian. LaHair.
        Since 2008, and arguably LV’s best years in the minors, he maintained a low .300′s BA in AA and AAA but only cracked more than 15 HR’s once in his entire 9 year career down there. Who knows, maybe with regular playing time he can get in a groove. He did have some clutch hits last year but I’d say .260′s is his ceiling. Although, with the way Sveum’s been talking about him this spring, you’d think they already identified him as a core piece…

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        I don’t know about those numbers … seem a little lofty. Let’s see how Valbuena is hitting later in the spring, remember there are a lot of fastballs being thrown right now.

      • daverj

        I suppose anything is possible, but I’d be pretty surprised to see him hit .270 or above over the course of a season and think that .235-.250 is much more likely. As for the home runs, I think 10 HR would be a very good power year for him.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Good first inning for the offense against Harang

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Another rough inning for Raley … and McNutt did not do much better

  • calicub

    Thanks for posting a recap of the Epstein Article Neil. Since when do you need a subscription for the Tribune Online?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      It started in December if I remember correctly … you’re welcome

      • calicub

        Gotcha, thanks again. It was definitely a tease seeing it posted and not able to read it

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Gotta throw strikes …

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Nothing new on Castro yet, mild left hamstring tightness is the latest, left the game in the fourth.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs drop game five of Cactus League schedule to
    Dodgers 11-7 on Wednesday afternoon

    Valbuena: 1-for2,2B,R; Castro: left gm in 4th,
    hamstring-1-for-3,R; Schierholtz: 2-for-2,RBI,2R; Barney:2-for-2,2RBI