Game Twenty-Four: Cubs (ss) 1 A’s (ss) 0
Game Twenty-Five: Cubs 9 (ss) Royals 4
Game Recaps, News and Tidbits from Mesa and an Addition to the Rumor Mill
Sean Marshall and the Cubs faced the A’s in Mesa and all of the eyes of the Cubs Faithful were on Marshall. Before Saturday afternoon’s game, Marshall had not allowed a run in 4 outings and had only allowed 3 hits in 6 1/3 innings….well nothing changed on Saturday. Marshall pitched 4 innings, struck out 5 and walked 4….no hits. Marshall got himself out of the walks with groundouts and a great double play started by Ronny Cedeno. Marshall’s location was good and he was ahead of a lot of the batters he faced. More from this game later….
Jerome Williams took the hill against the Royals in Surprise, Arizona on Saturday. Williams made it through the 1st inning without any trouble….something he has not be able to do of late and gave up only 2 runs in the 2nd inning. More from this game later…. Cubs vs. A’s – Marshall has a nice curve ball and his location on his fastball was good on Saturday. Marshall did walk 4, but those 4 walks were all 3-2 counts, he battled and did not give in. Dusty said they were spoiled the first game he started, but he was impressed by the adjustments that Marshall was making on the mound. (Dusty was on the WGN telecast) Since Mark Prior went down the Cubs had to look in different directions and it seems once Marshall took the hill, the performances of Angel Guzman and Rich Hill (more on him later) have improved.
Angel Guzman took the hill in the 5th and did not allow a run either. Guzman looked very good, like Marshall he was hitting his spots and looked very confident on the mound. Guzman pitched 4 very good innings and other than the 2 walks, he showed very good control. Guzman also struck out 2.
The Cubs pitching was helped by 3 double plays on Saturday. Ronny Cedeno made a great stop in the 3rd and Walker turned the double play. Cedeno started another one in the 5th and Walker started one in the 6th. A double play is a pitcher’s best friend. Cedeno has not hit the way many of the Cubs Faithful were hoping this spring, but his defense has been solid and not effected by his offense.
Without Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez, the Cubs offense only managed 7 hits. Rich Harden was just as good as Marshall and Guzman. Hardin made several of the Cubs’ hitters look very foolish. Matt Murton struck out twice against Harden, once looking and once swinging and he looked very bad doing so.
The fundamentals were lacking again on Saturday. Jacque Jones could have moved John Mabry over to 3rd after Mabry led off the 7th with a double. Jones did not and chose to over swing and eventually struck out. Jacque Jones benefits from having Ramirez and Lee in the lineup.
The only hit given up on the day was by John Koronka and the Cubs won the game in the bottom of the 10th. Casey Kopitzke singled to lead off the 10th and Brandon Sing doubled him home for the win. Sing broke his bat and the ball almost left the park anyway….Sing is a strong kid. (I thought the ball was gone)
Here is the box score from Cubs.com
Cubs vs. Royals – Jerome Williams was the story against the Royals. Williams allowed 3 runs, all earned, on 5 hits in 5 innings of work. He also struck out one and walked one while earning his first win of the spring. Williams faced 21 batters and got 6 groundouts. Williams is scheduled to be the 4th starter when the season starts and hopefully this start will build some confidence….which has been missing from the young right-hander.
Rich Hill threw the last 4 innings against the Royals and gave up 1 run, earned, on 5 hits and struck out 4. What stands out is no walks. Hill has really stepped up his performance his last two outings.
Aramis Ramirez just keeps on hitting. Ramirez went 2 for 4 on Saturday and Neifi Perez went 3 for 4 with 2 runs scored against his former team. Michael Barrett and Angel Pagan added home runs, Pagan went 2 for 3 on the day (I think he might have a shot, he just keeps on hitting, he’s fast, can play all 3 outfield spots and as a good arm.) Michael Barrett had a huge day, going 3 for 3 with 6 RBI’s, a walk and a run scored.
Here is the box score from Cubs.com
Sunday – The Arizona Diamondbacks at HoHoKam, 2:05pm C.S.T. on XM Channel 188
Jae Kuk Ryu vs. Brad Halsey
Jae Kuk Ryu will make his first start of the spring against the Diamondbacks. Ryu has a lot of pressure to match what Sean Marshall, Angel Guzman and Rich Hill did on Saturday. Let’s see how he responds, he has had a good spring to this point.
News and Tidbits from Mesa
– Len Kasper made an interesting comment to start the game on Saturday. Kasper said the starting infield was in Surprise taking on the Royals and the starting outfield was there at HoHoKam. O.K., did he let something out of the bag? Pierre, Jones and Murton were the outfield in Mesa….this I think we have all figured out. But….Hairston, Perez, Ramirez and Dopirak was the infield in Surprise and Walker and Cedeno were in Mesa. Did Kasper make a mistake or will Perez and Hairston be the Opening Day middle infield?
– Dusty Baker was the Manager in Mesa against the A’s and Dick Pole, the Cubs bench coach, was the Manager against the Royals.
– How strange was it to see a number 17 back at first base again for the Cubs? John Mabry talked to Mark Grace before he took the number an asked him if it was all right….classy move. Mabry looks like Grace at first….let’s do the time warp….
– Derrek Lee was excused to attend to a family emergency in California. There is something going on with his grandfather, but there has not been an official announcement made as to what is going on.
– Bud Selig was at the game on Saturday at HoHoKam and mentioned to Len Kasper the lunch conversation that he and Andy MacPhail had that apparently included conversation about Sean Marshall. Selig remarked how much the Cubs’ organization thinks of their young left-hander.
– The Cubs were 57-104 the last two seasons when they did not hit a home run….can you say bring on ‘Combination Ball’?
An Addition to the Rumor Mill
Bruce Levine said during Baseball 365 on Saturday morning that the Cubs are talking to the Oakland A’s about utility infielder Freddie Bynum. Bynum is 6’1″ and is left-handed. According to Levine the Cubs are looking to add depth in the infield. Bynum has only played 7 games at the Major League level. Also according to Levine, the Cubs are still looking at moving Todd Walker. And speaking of Todd Walker, the Rangers’ announcers on Friday remarked on how bad Todd Walker’s defense is….it is unbelievable that they would bring that up.
Freddie Bynum’s stats from the Baseball Cube (when they become available)
Will update if any other news becomes available….
Well that’s the news….and I’m sticking to it!!