Cubs Pen a Spring Loss on the Giants – Cubs 3, Giants 2

Spring Training Game Twelve – Cubs 3, Giants 2

WP – Chris Rusin (1-2) LP – Jeremy Affeldt (0-1, BS 1) Save – Jonathan Sanchez (2)

wflag-pub2014The Cubs improved to .500 in Cactus League play Monday on a day the offense did not pick up its first hit until the sixth inning. Matt Cain started the exhibition and tossed five perfect innings before turning it over to the Giants’ pen. Cain retired all 15 batters he faced with seven strikeouts.

Emilio Bonifacio (1-for-3 with a RBI) put the Cubs on the board in the sixth inning with a two-out single that plated Ryan Roberts (1-for-3 with a run scored). The Cubs took the lead in the seventh inning against Jeremy Affeldt. Mike Olt (1-for-3 with a run score) and pinch-runner Christian Villanueva (0-for-1 with a run scored) scored the runs while Chris Coghlan (1-for-3 with a RBI) picked up the Cubs’ second run scoring hit of the game.

Jeff Samardzija went pitch for pitch with Matt Cain through the first three innings. Samardzija faced the minimum in the first two innings and struck out four of the first eight batters he faced. The Giants got to Samardzija in the fourth and plated two runs on three hits. Pablo Sandoval delivered the single off of Samardzija that drove in both runs.

In his third spring start, Jeff Samardzija allowed two runs on five hits with no walks and five strikeouts in four innings. Samardzija threw 64 pitches, 43 for strikes.

Chris Rusin needed a good outing and put one together Monday. Rusin retired all nine batters he faced over three shutout innings. Rusin did not strikeout a batter and the Giants did not hit a ball out of the infield.

Alberto Cabrera retired three of the four batters he faced in the fifth inning. And Jonathan Sanchez picked up the spring save against his former team.

With Monday’s spring victory, the Cubs improved to 6-6 in the Cactus League.

Scoring Plays

Michael Morse led off the fourth inning with a single to left (3-1 pitch). Brandon Belt flied out to left. Hunter Pence pulled a double past Donnie Murphy and down the left field line. Morse stopped at third with one out. With runners on second and third with one out, Rick Renteria pulled his infield in and Pablo Sandoval ripped a single into left past a diving Donnie Murphy. Morse and Pence scored, 2-0 Giants. Tony Abreu flied out to deep center for the second out. Samardzija uncorked a wild pickoff throw to first base that allowed Sandoval to advance to second with two down.  Samardzija struck out Hector Sanchez swinging to end the inning.

The score remained 2-0 Giants until the sixth inning.

David Huff replaced Matt Cain in the sixth. And Ryan Roberts singled to left to start the inning. The Cubs first hit and baserunner of the game. Eli Whiteside flied out to right. Josh Vitters hit for Alberto Cabrera. With Vitters at the plate, Huff uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Roberts to move up ninety feet. Vitters flied out to left for the second out. Emilio Bonifacio singled to center, Roberts scored … 2-1 Giants. Ryan Kalish flied out to left center to end the inning.

Jeremy Affeldt retired Nate Schierholtz for the first out in the seventh inning. Mike Olt ripped a single into left. Donnie Murphy singled to left. Olt advanced to third and Renteria sent Christian Villanueva into run at first for Murphy. Chris Coghlan singled to right. Olt scored, game tied at two. Ryan Roberts then hit a roller toward short. Brandon Crawford fielded the ball. But his throw pulled Abreu off the second base bag. Abreu airmailed his throw to first. The Giants were charged with two errors. Christian Villanueva scored and gave the Cubs a 3-2 lead. With runners on second and third with one down, Whiteside and Chris Rusin were caught looking at strike three to end the inning.

Pitching

Jeff Samardzija was very good over the first three innings Monday. Samardzija limited the Giants to a pair of hits in three innings and faced the minimum over two innings. Samardzija struck out four of the first eight batters he faced before giving up two runs on three hits in the fourth inning. Samardzija struck out five batters and did not issue a walk. Samardzija also managed his pitch count. Samardzija allowed two runs on five hits with no walks and five strikeouts with three of the five hits coming the second time through the lineup.

Alberto Cabrera was effective in front of the scouts at the game to watch Jeff Samardzija.

Chris Rusin threw strikes, pitched ahead in the count and the results were there. Rusin retired all nine batters he faced Monday in his three innings of work.

Jonathan Sanchez picked up the save despite allowing two hard hit balls that ended up in the gloves of Jorge Soler (RF) and Darnell McDonald (LF).

The Cubs host the Rockies on Tuesday afternoon. In a matchup of southpaws, Travis Wood will face Jorge De La Rosa.

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  • JasonOfTheBurbs

    unfortunately, the Cubs need Shark to pitch good in more than 3 innings each start…and that is the root of the matter: he has never proven he can consistently sustain excellence.

    • GaryLeeT

      I agree. He has done this spring what he did last year. Pitch lights out for most innings, but as soon as there was a little adversity, he would lose focus, and blame others when the wheels came off the cart. Very mind limited, and Zambrano like, if you ask me.

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

    “Olt ripped,” is what I’m looking to hear. He is probably the single most player that I tune into reports to see what he has done right now. Just so curious if he can get back to being what he was expected to be. 24 months ago many people would have said he’d be a favorite for th RoY in 2014 and while that expectation obviously isn’t there currently I’m really pulling for the guy to see if h can get back there. He would e a great story after the awful stuff he went through last year. The stuff he was suffering can make a man suicidal but h roughed it out and tried to play baseball. He has proven to have heart, hopefully he still has skill.

    • Tony_H

      I agree, but he better do it soon as Baez, Alcantara, Bryant even Villanueva will be pushing for infield playing time by mid-season or the end of the season.

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

        Absolutely. But I think his ceiling may be higher than Villanueva or Alcantra. A year ago he was every bit the prospect of Bryant or Baez. Then had th problems we all know about. With his defense, if he can get back in the path I see him as our 3rd baseman ofthe furure. Although Villanueva may make that a tough call. I think Baez ends up at SS with Castro traded and Bryant goes to the outfield. Villanueva or Alcantra at 2nd. If Castro doesn’t go I see Barz at 2nd.

        • paulcatanese

          Baez may very well end up at shortstop, but Castro being traded would be as a very last resort by the Cubs.
          As you know he was extended by Theo, and unless he brings a
          very high return, or falls apart at the seams (unlikely) he will remain, and since he has the experience factor already built in
          look for Baez to play at another position ( for the time being ) at least.
          However, that does not mean that Castro would be the better shortstop, simply that he has been at this level a little longer.
          All of the above are a nice problem to have going forward.

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

            I agree I’m all counts Paul. Castro being traded would only happen for a huge haul of young stud pitching. A package with an Archie Bradley type, a CJ Edwards type and others at least.

            I just think Casto’s baggage makes him expendable to Theo. I don’t think Theo likes Castro’s approach at th plate and while I give him the benefit of the doubt due to age, he has shown a penchant for trouble. He is the one player we have that if playing like he can could get us a haul of TOR starters. His contract makes him that much more tradeable. For a contending team with scores of young pitching getting a guy like him that is locked up for over 5 years would be very attractive.

            It would require a Bradley or Wacha and more. But if a team looks capable of winning a title and Castro could be the missing piece, and they have te pitching to spare, I think he could go.