Talkin’ Cubs Live – The Split Squads – 03/16/13

Spring Training Game Twenty-Two: Cubs (ss) (8-12) vs. Rangers (ss) (9-9)

  • Game Time – 3:05pm CDT
  • Coverage – TV: MLB.tv (Rangers) – Radio: 720 WGN
  • Location – Cashman Field, Las Vegas

Jeff Samardzija (1-0, 5.59/2.14) vs. Nick Tepesch (0-0, 2.25/1.13)

Spring Training Game Twenty-Three: Cubs (ss) (8-12) vs. Royals (16-2-1)

  • Game Time – 3:05pm CDT
  • Coverage – TV: WGN-TV – Radio: None
  • Location – HoHoKam Park, Mesa

Hisanori Takahashi (0-1, 5.14/1.57) vs. Bruce Chen (1-0, 6.23/1.04)

The full weekend of Cubs’ baseball continues this afternoon with a pair of split squad games … one in Mesa against the red-hot Kansas City Royals and the other at Cashman Field in Las Vegas against the Texas Rangers.

The Cubs make their ninth straight trip to Las Vegas to participate in the annual Big League Weekend at Cashman Field. Jeff Samardzija takes this hill this afternoon with Carlos Villanueva toeing the rubber tomorrow. The Cubs travel roster to Sin City is expected to include Luis Valbuena, Starlin Castro, Nate Schierholtz, Scott Hairston, Dioner Navarro and Steve Clevenger.

The Cubs have one more Cactus League game with the Rangers after this weekend’s split squad games.

Pat Hughes makes his spring debut this afternoon and will call the game against the Rangers with Keith Moreland from Vegas on 720 WGN.

The Cubs face the hottest team in the Cactus League, the Kansas City Royals, for the first time this spring. The Royals are playing good ball, and while this is just Spring Training, the Royals are pointing to the spring the Athletics had last year. The Cubs make the trip to Surprise to take on the Royals at the end of the month.

Anthony Rizzo is expected to be in the Cubs’ starting lineup against the Royals this afternoon.

Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies will call their first game together. Len and JD are in the valley this weekend and will call the action against the Royals this afternoon and Scott Baker’s debut on Sunday afternoon in Phoenix against the Athletics.

This afternoon begins with Jeff Samardzija and Hisanori Takahashi

Spring Training Game Twenty-Two: Cubs (ss) (8-12) vs. Rangers (ss) (9-9)

Jeff Samardzija is coming off another spring outing in which he felt good about afterwards, but the in-game results were less than stellar. Samardzija made quick work of a very good Diamondbacks lineup in the first inning, then struggled with his command, especially in the third inning. Samardzija served up two home runs and allowed four runs with a pair of walks and two strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. Pitchers get hit during Spring Training games, that is to be expected, but the lack of command is a little concerning. Samardzija has walked (5) as many batters as he’s struck out (5) this spring and allowed six runs on eight hits in three Cactus League starts (9 2/3 innings).

After his last outing, Jeff Samardzija said he would just be getting his work in during his next two starts. The Cubs play both the Rangers and Brewers early in the season and Samardzija does not want to show too much.

One of the top prospects in the Rangers’ organization is in the mix for a spot in the rotation. Nick Tepesch posted a 6-3 record in 16 appearances, 14 starts, at the Double-A level last season with a 4.28 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP, and apparently has impressed the Rangers’ brass this spring.

The 24-year old right hander has allowed two runs on seven hits in eight Cactus League innings (three appearances, one start). Tepesch has walked only two batters while striking out eight.

Spring Training Game Twenty-Three: Cubs (ss) (8-12) vs. Royals (16-2-1)

Hisanori Takahashi makes his second start and fifth appearance in a Cactus League game today. Takahashi put together a decent outing against the Rangers his last time out. Takahashi allowed three runs on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts in three innings of work. The Cubs dropped the practice game 3-2.

Takahashi is in the mix for an Opening Day job in the Cubs’ pen. The Cubs view Takahashi as a possible second lefty as well as a long reliever. With Matt Garza and Scott Baker starting the season on the DL, a spot has opened in the pen and the second southpaw job appears to be between Takahashi and Chris Rusin.

Hisanori Takahashi has allowed four runs on eight hits with three walks and five strikeouts in seven Cactus League innings.

Bruce Chen is battling for a spot in the Royals’ rotation, and halfway through the Cactus League schedule, the crafty lefty is the leading candidate for the fifth spot. Chen makes his fourth appearance and second start this afternoon. Chen has allowed six runs on seven hits in 8 2/3 innings with two walks and eight strikeouts.

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