Too Many Freebies – Cubs 2, Diamondbacks 6

Spring Training Game Seven – Cubs 2, Diamondbacks 6

WP – Patrick Corbin (1-0) LP – Rafael Dolis (0-1) Save – None

A game that appeared to duel between the pitching staffs early on, turned ugly for the Cubs in the sixth inning. The Cubs defense was charged with two errors that led to runs on Friday afternoon, and the pitching staff walked eight batters, two with the bases loaded … nine free baserunners, Spring Training or not, that is bad baseball. Eight Cubs’ hurlers managed only three strikeouts while surrendering eight hits.

The Cubs offense actually jumped out to a two-run lead against Trevor Cahill in the first inning. Anthony Rizzo (2-for-3 with a double and a RBI) doubled in David DeJesus (0-for-2 with a walk and a run scored) for the first run of the game, and Nate Schierholtz drove in Luis Valbuena (1-for-2 with a run scored) with a sacrifice fly in the opening frame. But the Cubs offense could not push across another run after the first inning and managed only four more hits.

Jeff Samardzija made quick work of the D-Backs in the first inning, then struggled with his command over his final two innings of work. Samardzija survived a laborious second inning in which Arizona scored a run on a hit and two walks. Samardzija completed three innings of work in his second spring start and allowed one run on one hit with three walks and one strikeout.

Michael Bowden followed Samardzija in Friday’s pitching rotation. Bowden allowed Arizona to tie the game, and was charged with one run on one hit with two walks and no strikeouts in an inning of work.

Cory Wade was very good once again. Wade retired the side in order in the fifth.

Rafael Dolis has a very good arm, but his command issues were front and center again on Friday. A throwing error by Javier Baez opened the door for a big sixth inning and by the time the Cubs could record three outs, Arizona put a four-spot on the board. Dolis issued three walks, two with the bases loaded that forced in two runs. Dolis turned the game over to Blake Parker, who did not fare much better. Parker served up a two-run double to Tony Campana that capped the scoring in the sixth.

James Russell pitched around a couple of hits in the seventh without allowing any runs. Casey Coleman notched a scoreless eighth and Shawn Camp faced the minimum in the ninth.

Tony Campana had a big day against his former team. Campana replaced Gerardo Parra in the sixth and finished the game 2-for-2 with a double, a triple and two RBI … Campana’s first two hits of the spring. In 347 plate appearances during regular season big league games, the speedy Campana has nine doubles, no triples and one home run.

Jorge Soler (1-for-2 with a triple) tripled in the eighth inning off Tony Sipp, one of only four hits for the Cubs over the last eight innings of Friday’s game. Junior Lake (0-for-2) entered the game in the sixth inning and made his spring debut in centerfield.

In seven games this spring, the Cubs threw strikes and kept the mistakes to a minimum in four of them … and the other three, not so much.

After Jeff Samardzija made quick work of the D-Backs to begin the game, David DeJesus put together a long at bat that ended with a walk to start the Cubs’ first inning. Luis Valbuena singled to right, DeJesus advanced to third and scored on an opposite field bloop double off the bat of Anthony Rizzo. With runners on second and third with no outs, Alfonso Soriano lined out to third. Nate Schierholtz stepped in and hit a fly ball out into center that allowed Valbuena to tag and score from third. Welington Castillo flied out to deep left center to end the inning.

With the exception of the Rizzo double, the Cubs hit Cahill very hard in the first inning.

Jeff Samardzija gave up a leadoff single to Miguel Montero in the second inning, then walked Paul Goldschmidt (check swing on a 3-2 pitch) to put runners on first and second with no outs. After not getting the call on the 3-2 check swing, Samardzija walked Eric Hinske (3-1) and loaded the bases. Samardzija continued struggling with his command and quickly fell behind Mark Teahen, 2-0. Teahen ended up grounding into a 4-6-3 double play on a 3-2 pitch. Montero scored and cut the Cubs’ lead to 2-1. Samardzija then struck out Cliff Pennington swinging on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.

Samardzija stayed in the game for the third inning and issued a leadoff walk to Brad Snyder (3-2 pitch). Samardzija forgot about Snyder at first and his former teammate swiped second with Parra at the plate. Parra grounded out to second, Snyder advanced to third and held when Martin Prado tapped back to Samardzija. Edwin Maysonet made a leaping catch on a hard hit ball off the bat of Aaron Hill to end the inning.

The D-Backs tied the game in the fourth off Michael Bowden. Montero grounded out to second to start the inning. Bowden then issued back-to-back walks to Paul Goldschmidt and Eric Hinske. Mark Teahen ripped a single into center that DeJesus misplayed. Goldschmidt scored and both runners advanced ninety feet on DeJesus’ miscue. Luis Valbuena robbed Cliff Pennington of a hit and a couple of RBI with a diving catch on a ball ticketed for centerfield. Bowden was able to get out of the jam by retiring Snyder on a pop out to shallow center for the third out.

After Cory Wade did his job in the fifth, Dale Sveum handed the ball to Rafael Dolis with the game tied at two and the hard throwing right-hander could not throw strikes … much less record three outs.

Dale Sveum emptied his bench in the top of the sixth. Matt Szczur (LF), Junior Lake (CF), Jorge Soler (RF), Christian Villanueva (3B), Javier Baez (SS), Alberto Gonzalez (2B), Steve Clevenger (1B) and Michael Brenly (C) replaced the starters.

Miguel Montero led off the sixth with a routine grounder to short. Javier Baez fielded the ball, but airmailed his throw to first. A.J. Pollock followed with a single to left … and Dolis lost his command. Eric Hinske flied out to center on a 2-1 pitch for the first out. Mark Teahen walked (3-2 pitch) to load the bases. Dolis jumped ahead of Cliff Pennington 1-2 before walking him and forcing in the go ahead run.

Rafael Dolis then walked Brad Snyder (3-2 pitch) to force in Arizona’s  fourth run … three straight walks and according to Len Kasper, Dolis was not close to the strike zone. Dale Sveum had seen enough at that point and went to his pen for Blake Parker.

Tony Campana hit for Gerardo Parra and pulled a 1-0 pitch into right center. Teahen and Pennington scored, 6-2 D-Backs on the Campana double. Martin Prado flied out to center, both runners held and Aaron Hill popped a 3-2 pitch into shallow center to finally end the inning.

The Cubs offense managed only two more hits over the last four innings.

Box Score from Yahoo Sports

Gameday for Play-by-Play

The Cubs hit the road on Saturday to face a split squad Giants team in Scottsdale. Carlos Villanueva is scheduled to face Tim Lincecum.

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Quote of the Day

"Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure." – W.J. Slim

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  • brent carmona

    Ughhhh at Dolis, shaking my head after today’s performance. this guy has one of if not the best fastball/sinkers in the entire system, yet can’t control the strikezone. his slider is pretty decent too, I hope he rights the ship this year though we need an arm like his at the mlb level

    • SomeGuy27

      What I’ve seen of him is he doesn’t repeat well. He has a tendency to rush his delivery to the plate with a modified slide step which causes him to lock out his front leg on release. When you lock out, you’re pitching against your body so now you need to over compensate by rushing your upper half so you can get to a good release point–but by doing that. you invariably open up with your front shoulder which results in a flat pitch that is up and/or out of the zone. You lose virtually any chance to create a downward plane towards home plate.When he slows it down a bit. his front leg is bent with his chest over his knee at release and he’s effective.

      I’d like to see him lose his in between slide step, go to a higher knee kick on post (to hell with runners) and learn to repeat a good downward flow.

      • Tony_Hall

        I have never liked his delivery or other guys who do it. There are other ways to control the running game then to sacrifice basic mechanics. Yet some pitchers are successful doing this. Nice analysis.

      • Tom U

        Mechanics are always the biggest issue with conversion projects such as Dolis and Lendy Castillo. People fall in love with their “stuff” and forget to teach them how to pitch.

        • SomeGuy27

          I forgot he was a conversion and you’re right. I’ve only had a couple of guys at the college level be able to pull it off but they worked REAL heard to do so. It’s like learning nuclear engineering with all the lights flashing and the alarms blaring in the plant.

          • brent carmona

            Thanks for your input, I found it very interesting…maybe Derek Johnson can work some magic?

  • Tony_Hall

    Baseball is on TV moving forward. WBC will be on all the time plus a good number of games to watch from ST.

    Two time defending WBC champs, Japan is losing to Brasil in the 7th.

  • Craig York

    I’ve been a reader on this site for years now, and rarely post. Want to start engaging in the conversations a little more now. A little off topic here, I am planning on going to Milwaukee in April for a Cubs game and wondering what is the best way to get there from Chicago without driving. Thanks! Looking foward to a great season!

    • SuzyS

      Check into the trains…years ago I used to take the train to Milwaukee all the time…from there you can cab it to the ballpark. It might have changed…but it’s still worth looking at.

      • Craig York

        Thanks Suzy!

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