Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. White Sox – 03/27/14

Spring Training Game Thirty-Two: Cubs (12-18-1) vs. White Sox (9-13)

  • Game Time – 2:05pm CDT
  • Coverage – TV: WGN TV (White Sox) – Radio: 720 WGN
  • Location – Cubs Park, Mesa

Travis Wood (0-2, 5.91, 1.41) vs. Felipe Paulino (1-1, 6.75, 1.93)

The Cubs wrap-up their first spring at Cubs Park this afternoon with the team’s last game in the valley. Counting today’s game against the White Sox, the Cubs have three practices left in Arizona before flying to Pittsburgh on Sunday. The Cubs exhibition schedule comes to an end on Saturday after two games against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field.

The Cubs won the first round against the Sox earlier in the spring. Chris Rusin and the pen shut down the Sox in their home park last Friday. And the Southsiders will look to return the favor today. While it is only Spring Training, even Rick Renteria noticed last week, there is a different atmosphere when the Cubs take on the White Sox.

Len Kasper will join Ron Coomer on the radio side to call today’s game on 720 WGN. The White Sox telecast can be seen on WGN TV.

This afternoon all begins with Travis Wood …

Travis Wood made his last appearance in a minor league game and will be shortened up this afternoon in his final outing of the spring. Wood has allowed seven runs on 14 hits with one walk and 11 strikeouts in three Cactus League outings. Wood has thrown the ball well with the exception of one start that got away from him after Junior Lake misplayed a ball in center. Look for Wood to throw three innings this afternoon, unless he is efficient with his pitches again. The Cubs should be targeting 50-60 pitches for Wood today.

Felipe Paulino has struggled this spring. In 18 2/3 innings, Paulino has allowed 14 runs on 27 hits with nine walks and 18 strikeouts (five starts). Paulino is slotted in as the Sox’s second starter behind Chris Sale. Robin Ventura is starting the season with a lefty, righty, lefty, righty, lefty starting rotation.

Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …

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Quote of the Day

"What scares me is what scares you. We're all afraid of the same things." - John Carpenter

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  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Today’s lineup:

    Bonifacio SS
    Kalish RF
    Rizzo 1B
    Olt DH
    Sweeney CF
    Castillo C
    Ruggiano LF
    Valbuena 3B
    Barney 2B

    Wood P

  • Tony_H

    Have seen that Lake will get most of his time in CF.

  • Tony_H

    Position players by age. Only 2 starters over 26 and a bench of old guys 28-31 and a backup catcher who is 33.

    C Castillo 26
    1B Rizzo 24
    2B Barney 28
    SS Castro 24
    3B Olt 25
    LF Kalish 26 (tomorrow)
    CF Lake 24
    RF Schierholtz 30

    Bench
    Baker 33
    Valbuena 28
    Bonifacio 28
    Sweeney 29
    Ruggiano 31

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  • Tony_H

    Pitching staff by age, not as young, but only 4 of the 14 options are 30 or over.

    Samarzija 29
    Wood 27
    Jackson 30
    Hammel 31
    Arrieta 28
    Villanueva 30
    Rusin 27

    Veras 33
    Strop 28
    Russell 28
    Wright 29
    Cabrera 25
    Grimm 25
    Rondon 26

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

      Love it! The future is starting! Get excited Cubs fans. Or dot’t but that’s on you.

      • Tony_H

        And look whats coming

        25 – BJAX, Rosscup
        24 – Vitters, Szczur, Hendircks, N Ramirez
        23 – Vizcaino
        22 – Bryant, Soler, Alcantara, Villaneuva
        21 – Baez

        Hard to believe Baez is the youngest of this group, but sometimes it is hard to believe that Vitters is only 24.

        • triple

          Only 2 years of rebuilding and it looks like the Cubs are in position to finally promote from within. I don’t think we’ll be running out lineups of spare parts come opening day 2015. The future is looking bright!

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

            Indeed it is! And the future is starting now. We’re not there yet but in the words of Lou Brown…

            “It’s starting to come together Bobby, it’s starting to come together.:

  • Tony_H

    This article is finally able to be posted. By Tim Keown

    Sahadev Sharma ‏@sahadevsharma 4m

    Interesting national take on Cubs rebuilding efforts. Including the quote saying previous FO was in the “Stone Age” http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/10622213/theo-epstein-plans-rebuild-chicago-cubs-blueprint-boston-espn-magazine

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

      Love this quote…

      “You want to reach the point where next year can always be the year. Trying to cobble something together every year to make a run has had a negative impact here.”

      I think that sums up the plan very well and the challenges left over from the regime.

  • Tony_H

    “When It Happens is the perfect minor league motto for us,” Hoyer says. “Are you going to be ready to take that at-bat in the ninth inning? Are you going to be prepared to pitch the eighth inning of Game 7? We’re trying to get those guys in that mindset.”

    They’re banking on one letter being more powerful than all those numbers, and on a bunch of kids growing up to connect the disconnected. “How special is that going to be when we win the World Series?” says Baez. “I want to be there when it happens.” In the end, Epstein and the Cubs will discover the answer to the only question that matters: How many will be smiling along with them?

  • Tony_H

    Bonifacio singles, steals 2B, advances to 3rd on a GO and scores on Rizzo’s GO

    1-0 Cubs

  • Tony_H

    I think Valbuena’s power streak has gone to his head. He looked like he was trying for a HR on that swing.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Sweeney with his first HR of the spring

    • Tony_H

      It seems Sweeney is the forgotten man in the OF, but I have a hard time seeing him as anymore than a backup 5th OF now that Kalish has made the team. Lake and Kalish needs to play most of the time (unless they struggle and need to be sent down) and Schierholtz and Ruggiano are the obvious pair to match up to platoon. I wonder if Sweeney will be traded early.

      Also, do you know what Kalish’s option situation is right now? Can they even send him down?

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        Tony, I have not researched his options yet. I will but right now I don’t know.

        • Tony_H

          I’m not sure If I am checking this right but he was first called up in 2010, and the Red Sox transaction page says selected the contract and not recalled. I believe that means he was added to the 40 man at that time. In 2011 and 2012 he was optioned to the minors and 2013 he spent the year on the 60 DL. So if I did this right, he should have at least 1 option left, unless he qualifies for a 4th one.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Wood is out after three scoreless and only 36 pitches. Villanueva takes over in the fourth

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

      Good outing for Wood! I think he’s going to prove that last year was not a fluke. At his age he should be primed to get better.

      • triple

        Yeah, I don’t really get all the disbelief that Travis Wood is a solid pitcher and can continue what he’s done for at least a couple more years. After 3 years of being a full-time starter (combined between AAA and Majors) and building up arm strength, he just completed his first full big league season with the following numbers: 200 IP / 3.11 ERA / 1.145 WHIP

        In fact, here’s a comparison of Wood’s first 4 big league seasons at the same ages (23-26) as Scherzer’s first 4 seasons.

        Player/GS/IP/ERA/WHIP/K:BB
        Wood/93/564.2/3.83/1.213/2.18
        Scherzer/101/617/3.92/1.305/2.85

        Obviously Scherzer scores higher grades from the eye test, but those are by no means small sample sizes and those numbers/results don’t lie… Wood is a solid pitcher, and if he pitched on a team with Detroit’s offensive prowess, he would be considered an above average pitcher.

  • Tony_H

    Chicago Cubs ‏@Cubs 7m
    Watch @justinruggiano rob a home run in the 3rd: http://atmlb.com/1m8IK5p #SpringTraining

  • triple

    Something I’ve noticed at the couple ST Cubs games I’ve been to as well as when I’ve had a chance to see them on TV… Alot of the Cubs hitters really look like they’ve bought into a hitting approach where they are trying to hit the ball back up the middle and at times being able to hit the ball in the direction that the pitch location dictates their best success.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs beat the White Sox 4-3 … Wood: 0R, 2H, 1BB, 4K, 3IP; Villanueva: 0R, 0H, 0BB, 2K, 2IP

    Sweeney: 2-3, HR, 2R; Castillo: 2-2, R; Bonifacio: 1-3, R; Olt: 1-3, R; Barney: 1-3, RBI; Rizzo: 0-3, RBI

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

    Neil, Castillo has flown under the radar this spring with all the attention on the young guys. But being relatively young himself and having another season of servic under his belt. What is your opinion of where he is right now and the type of year that is in store for him? He might be a candidate for his own little write up or something. He has been talked about so little.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Sorry man for the delay in responding.

      I have liked what I’ve seen from Castillo at the plate and behind it this spring. He made strides last year, as you know, and I think he made improvement this spring. He appears to be receiving the ball better, which is key. He has the arm to be an elite catcher but his receiving skills needed major improvement.

      As for his offensive, he is working counts and has squared the ball rather well this spring.

      The key with Castillo is keeping him healthy and on the field. He has struggled with injuries throughout his career. Last year was the most games he played in a single season, and it was only 113. He really needs to get to the 130-game range.

      If he can stay on the field and continue to make progress with Mike Borzello, he should have a very good year. The ability is there. My key for him is staying off the disabled list.

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

        Great insight. Thank you Neil. In would also be intereste in seeing what you think are realistic chances for us to be .500 and better. What things need to happen and who do you think is likely to do it? I’ve said that if Kalish and Olt play well, Lake, Rizzo, Castro, and Castillo stay healthy and improve. Bullpen succeeds and Vizcaino becomes a feared closer. Arietta starts to reach his potential, along with Schierholtz improving and Bonifacio playing like his better Markin years…we could be really good. Maybe even wild card good. Obviously that’s a ton of variables, of which maybe 1/3rd will come true. But if all happened we could be very good.

        Whats your take on how things can go? Best case, worst case? Maybe not here but a post with “Niel’s Best Case Cubs Utipia,” and the impact. Or similar. You do a ton already and with te season in 4 days i imagine your busy but is like to see what you think could happen.

        I left out Coghlan too. I think e could be a good pinch hitter an i like the analysis I saw posted yesterday saying that the Markins messed him up by putting him in CF and that as an LF or RF he could get back to his ROY form.

        Of course there is the potential additions of Alcantra, Baez and others too. Who you think comes up first? Who all do you think will make it up this year? How do you expect then to do?

        I know I’m an extreme optimist and most dot take me seriously because of my blind positivity. But I’m curious what your take in it is. Whats our ceiling this year and how do we get there? What’s likely to turn out? And what’s worst case?

        I know I’m asking for a lot from an already taxed man but you know we all trust your opinions because of your exposure and obvious knowledge. I’ll be content to be ignored and just keep reading all your great analysis but if you have some free time and are wondering what we might like to read ;)

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          You’re more than welcome. I do not want you to think I am ignoring you. You asked a lot of questions I need to think about when it’s not after midnight. I have a note in the middle of my desk so it doesn’t slip my mind to respond.

        • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

          Sorry for taking so long to respond, the news would not slow down this weekend.

          Many, many things would have to happen in order for the Cubs to finish near .500 this season. While the players will provide more reasons to watch this year, they are in an incredibly tough division with each team, except the Pirates, making moves to improve in the off-season.

          I am looking forward to seeing players like Castillo and Strop take their games to the next level. For Castro to bounce back and for Rizzo to improve his hitting against lefties and BA with RISP. Arrieta could be the only one of the starters left after July and I am looking to see if he can throw enough quality strikes to reach his projections.

          I would not be surprised if Alcantara is called up first. He is on the 40-man roster and can be sent back down to watch his Super Two status. Baez should be up by the third week of June, if he continues to perform the way he has. On that note, be ready for the overreaction when he struggles over the first few weeks in Triple-A.

          Best case for this team would be 75 to 80 wins, the realistic win total for this team is 65-70. With that said the big league team should be more enjoyable to watch, which will make many happy about their ‘couch time.’

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

            Thanks a ton Neil! As always great stuff.