Cubs End the Spring with a Win – Cubs 9, Diamondbacks 8

Spring Training Game Thirty-Four – Cubs 9, Diamondbacks 8

WP – Blake Parker (1-0) LP – Enrique Burgos (0-1) Save – Lendy Castillo (1)

wflag-pub2014The Cubs went to the ninth in the final exhibition game of the spring trailing 8-6 after leading by a 6-0 score as late as the sixth inning. The Cubs scored three runs in the ninth on a two-run single by Christian Villanueva and a sacrifice fly by Rubi Silva and ended Spring Training with a win over the Diamondbacks.

Several of the players, including Jason Hammel, that will be with the team on Opening Day played well on Saturday and got their work in without any problems.

Jason Hammel was sharp during his four innings of work. Hammel hit his spots and faced the minimum the first time through the lineup. Hammel did not allow a run during his outing and gave up two hits with no walks and five strikeouts. Hammel threw 48 pitches, 31 for strikes.

Neil Ramirez struck out the side in the fifth. Wesley Wright limited the damage caused by Jonathan Sanchez while Brian Schlitter could not wiggle out of the jam Marcus Hatley and the Cubs defense caused in the seventh. Blake Parker surrendered a hit while striking out three batters in the eighth. Arizona scored seven of their eight runs against Jonathan Sanchez and Marcus Hatley. Neither one of the relievers had much on Saturday and was hit pretty hard. Lendy Castillo picked up the save with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

Ryan Kalish (3-for-3 with a RBI) drove in one of the Cubs first two runs and collected three hits on the afternoon. Darwin Barney (1-for-2 with a RBI) drove in the Cubs’ first run with a single in the second inning. Ryan Sweeney (1-for-2 with a run scored) and Anthony Rizzo (1-for-2) also collected hits.

Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-2 with a home run and two RBI) hit a two-run homer in the sixth and Dan Vogelbach (0-for-0 with two walks and a run scored) walked twice and scored the Cubs’ third run of the game.

Starlin Castro (0-for-2 with a walk) played in his first big league Spring Training game since March 2 and while he did not collect a hit, he made the plays at short and did not appear to be favoring his right hamstring when he down the line.

There were three different reviews on Saturday and the Cubs lost all three. Two calls were upheld and one was overturned.

The first five innings took only an hour and a half to play but once the starters left the game, it slowed to a snail’s pace and it took three hours and 17 minutes to play the last practice game of the spring. The two teams scored a combined 17 runs on 25 hits and were charged with three errors. There were three reviews, two in the seventh inning and 15 different pitchers were used. It was not a well-played game by either team after the fifth inning.

The Cubs finished the exhibition season with a 15-18-1 record.

The Cubs got on the board in the second inning. Ryan Sweeney led off with a single to right. After Welington Castillo (flyout to right) and Luis Valbuena (strikeout) made two quick outs, Ryan Kalish worked a full count then bounced Bronson Arroyo’s next pitch up the middle. Aaron Hill fielded the ball behind the second base bag but couldn’t get anything on his throw. Kalish beat it out for an infield single. Darwin Barney pulled a 0-2 pitch into left. Gary Jones waived Sweeney around third. Mark Trumbo’s throw hit Sweeney in the back, he scored … 1-0 Cubs. Both runners advanced on the play but were stranded when Emilio Bonifacio grounded out to second base.

The game remained 1-0 Cubs until the fifth.

Ryan Kalish singled to left center (1-2 pitch) to start the fifth. Barney popped out to short. Bronson Arroyo got the groundball he wanted off the bat of Matt Szczur but the D-Backs could not turn a 5-4-3 double play. Kalish was forced at second and the speedy Szczur took over at first with two out. Starlin Castro walked. With runners on first and second with two down, Chris Valaika singled to center (1-2 pitch). Javier Baez ran for Castro and advanced to third on the play as Szczur scored, 2-0 Cubs. Chris Coghlan grounded out to third (3-2 pitch) to end the inning … after replay verified a close call at first base.

The young players with the team for the day put a four-spot on the board in the sixth against Brad Zeigler. Dan Vogelbach worked a walk to start the sixth. Eli Whiteside doubled to left and put runners on second and third with no outs. Luis Valbuena lifted the first pitch he saw into center. Vogelbach tagged and scored, 3-0 Cubs. Whiteside advanced to third on the play. With the infield in, Ryan Kalish chopped a single into center. Whiteside scored, 4-0 Cubs. Arismendy Alcantara stepped in and launched Zeigler’s first pitch beyond the wall in right. Alcantara’s second homer of the spring gave the Cubs a 6-0 lead. Matt Szczur walked and Alan Trammell, subbing for the sidelined Kirk Gibson, made the slow walk and went to his pen for Willy Paredes. Javier Baez popped out to right and Chris Valaika flied out to center to end the inning.

Jonathan Sanchez took the hill for the sixth inning and struggled again. Sanchez issued a leadoff walk to Chris Owings then a single to Tony Campana. With a lot of speed on the bases, Cliff Pennington singled to right. Owings scored, 6-1 Cubs. With runners on first and third with no outs, Rick Renteria went to his pen for lefty Wesley Wright. Mike Jacobs lined out to short for the first out. Henry Blanco singled to left. Campana scored, 6-2 Cubs. With runners on first and second with one out, Wright struck out Jake Lamb and Rudy Flores to end the inning.

Arizona took the lead in what ended up being a very long seventh inning … an inning that included two reviews.

Marcus Hatley started the seventh and gave up a double to Jordan Parraz. Breland Almadova followed with a single to right. Parraz held at third with no outs. Chris Owings singled to left. Parraz scored, 6-3 Cubs. Almadova went to second on the play. Tony Campana reached on a bunt single to third and loaded the bases with no outs. Cliff Pennington singled to left. Almadova scored, 6-4 Cubs. And with the bases loaded and still no outs, Rick Renteria went to his pen for Brian Schlitter. Mike Jacobs hit a grounder toward the hole at second. Chris Valaika made a nice pick and throw to Baez at second. Baez fired to first but the ball skipped past Schlitter covering first. Owings scored and Campana scored on Baez’s throwing error … game tied at six. But under further review, Baez was straddling the bag at second and did not touch the base with his foot. After the review verified the call, the D-Backs had runners on first and second with no outs. Blanco bunted both runners into scoring position. Jake Lamb was intentionally walked to load the bases. Rudy Flores singled to center. Pennington scored and it was ruled the Cubs threw out Jacobs at the plate for the second out. But under further review, the call was overturned because Jacobs touched the plate before Whiteside was able to apply the tab. Jacobs scored and the D-Backs went up 8-6. Jordan Parraz grounded into a 6-3 double play to finally end the inning.

Enrique Burgos replaced Addison Reed in the ninth with the Diamondbacks leading 8-6. Brett Jackson led off with a single to center. Wes Darvill hit for Dan Vogelbach and walked. Chadd Krist stepped to the plate with two on and no outs and was hit. With the bases loaded and no outs, Alan Trammell went to his pen for Josh Collmenter. Christian Villanueva worked a full count before ripping a single into right center. Jackson and Darvill scored, game tied at eight. Krist advanced to third on the play and scored on a sac fly to left by Rubi Silva … 9-8 Cubs. Alcantara lined into a 8-4 double play to end the inning.

The Cubs fly to Pittsburgh on Saturday night and will spend Sunday in the Steel City preparing for Opening Day. Jeff Samardzija is scheduled to face Francisco Liriano in game one of the 2014 season on Monday afternoon (12:05pm CDT).

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"Success isn't permanent, and failure isn't fatal." - Mike Ditka
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  • http://theboardridersuite.wordpress.com/ Theboardrider

    I’ve said it before but I jut love how Kalish gets on base. Chops up the middle, infield hits, walks. He doesn’t have to be swinging a hot bat to be effective. And when he gets on good things happen. Talk about a spark of a player.

    • Tom U

      Very reminiscent if a good lead-off hitter from days past, Brett Butler

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

        Always thought he was one of the best lead off hitters I ever saw. Him, Rickey and Lofton always jump to mind.

        He has a bit more power though. Andy Van Slyke, Lenny Dykstra?

      • triple

        Brett Butler from the LA Dodgers and SF Giants? He went to my high school! He was a great lead-off man.

        • Tom U

          To show yow old I am, I always remember him coming up with the Braves. But yeah, the same guy.

          • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

            Me too Tom

          • TheWrongGuy

            ahhh your both only 29(+__) like me :)

        • mutantbeast

          Maybe the best bunter in history. Always seemed to have 20-25 bunt hits every year.

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

    Neil what do you think is Ramirez’s ceiling? We al like to project a guy by saying “Hendricks is a 4/5, Edwards is a 1/2.” What is Ramirez? I hope he gets stretched out. Is he a 2/3?

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Ramirez projects better at the back of a bullpen than as a starter in the majors. He has an excellent arm and good stuff that could really shutdown a team for an inning. I don’t see him as a starter in the majors. It will be interesting to see if the front office inserts him into the rotation in Iowa or keeps him in the pen with Vizcaino.

      • Ripsnorter1

        I do not understand why he didn’t make the team. He looks really ready to me.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          I thought he looked good as well. They were taking it slow with him at the beginning of spring. They could be taking it easy with him to start the season due to the shoulder injuries last year.

          He is one pitcher I am looking forward to seeing this year and how he handles big league hitters.

        • mutantbeast

          Same as Vizcaiano. Has had on-and off injury issues his entire career. I agree with Neals assessment on Ramirez, he just doesnt have the durability to start. Looks similiar to Neftali Perez.

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

        We really need some TOR starters. So guys like Ramirez can pitch where they’re best suited and I can be content! But I also like these big arms as starters because it’s hard to see them staying Cubs for a long time because setup guys never stick with one team. They are always shuffled around so much.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          If you have a chance, take a look at the way the Cardinals system is setup. That is the Cubs goal and what they are using as a model.

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

            A little more specific :)? I don’t know their lower level guys as much so it may be harder for me to see. Im read an article a few months ago about their sustainability. Too bad they have such good management too. Wish we could have started off where they did.

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

            Thanks for posting. Gawd, I can’t stand that team…

          • mutantbeast

            Difference is Board, the Cubs ownership sucked until Ricketts arrived. DeWitt always has been an outstanding owner, puts the $ up and then lets baseball people make decisions. The good news for Cubs fans is Ludlow is now the GM in Houston, he was there version of Jason McLeod when he was in StL.

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

            Totally. In the history of baseball no team has been more handcuffed by ownership than the Cubs. Now we have a huge fan calling the shots which is a great advantage. Also, he let’s his FO make the baseball decisions and the FO let’s the manager make the day to day team decisions. It’s a positive formula.

            Yes, so far Rickett’s hasn’t shelled out huge dollars on payroll. But as much as he’s been willing to spend elsewhere shows he is willing to spend. Overall he’s spending a small fortune improving the franchise. And that’s how it had to happen. Facilities and infrastructure had to be brought into the 21st century. Then the foundation will be in place for us to be competitive year in and year out as long as we still make smart FO decisions. So far we look like we’re in good hands there.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Jim Adduci over Kevin Kouzmanoff

    Strange Texas move….

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Adduci has options left, Kouzmanoff does not. Jon Daniels needed the flexibility Adduci gives them.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Donnie Murphy is the starting 2B for Texas for 8-12 weeks…if he can hold the job. If he hits like 2013, he can hold the job.

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  • cubtex

    Watching Tyler Skaggs blow away the Dodgers. If he was offered to the Cubs in any Samardzija deal I don’t know what they were thinking. Left handed throwing heat with great breaking stuff. Angels got a good one!

    • Ripsnorter1

      He was offered, but the Cubs wanted Archie Bradley. No Bradley, no deal.

      It was no deal.

      • cubtex

        Heard Bowden talking about how good his stuff is and he is right. Still only 22. Needs to work on not trying to strike out every hitter but he has a bright future.

        • TheWrongGuy

          This year he changed back to his old delivery(a longer stride to home plate). It has brought his velocity back where it was before. While with Arizona he was using a short stride to gain better control. Now back with the Angels they are having him use his old delivery and he has regained his velocity. I have him on our fantasy league, and I am hoping for good things from him. :)

          • cubtex

            Yea. Bowden mentioned that. 94-95 with movement with a good curve and cutter.

      • TheWrongGuy

        More like the Cubs asked for both Skaggs “and” Bradley. Then the talks went quiet.

        • mutantbeast

          My understanding is the Cubs asked for Both Skaggs and Bradley. Bradley is a non-starter , hes there version of our core4.

  • Tom U

    The organization must be handing assignments down right now. Shawon Dunston Jr., James Pugliese, Paul Blackburn, and Daniel Lockhart all Tweeted that they are going to Kane County. Steve Perakslis Tweeted he will be at Daytona.

    • Tom U

      More tweets: Rock Shoulders to Daytona, Stephen Bruno to Tennessee.

      • Tom U

        Zeke DeVoss and Corey Black to Tennessee

  • mutantbeast

    Vogelbomb showed a nice knowledge of the strike zone. Kalish seems to put bat on ball, which is important when men are on base. AA has quicker hands than I expected, who knows maybe he does become Jose Reyes 2.0. Overall, the team looks a little better and better yet, the atmosphere seems better.