Spring Training Game Twenty-Two – Cubs (ss) 4 Giants 2
WP – Jon Lieber (2-0) LP – Kevin Correia (0-1) Save – Jose Ascanio (2)
Jon Lieber followed the performances of Jason Marquis and Ryan Dempster with a solid outing of his own. He worked fast, threw strikes and kept the ball down. Lieber allowed a run on 7 hits with a walk and 4 strikeouts in 5 innings of work. The Giants put runners on base in every inning but the Cubs defense turned 3 well-timed double plays with Lieber on the mound.
Scott Eyre gave up a 2-out single in his inning of work, struck out 2 and did not walk a batter. Bobby Howry had one of his best outings of the spring. He surrendered a hit, but no runs and no walks. Carmen Pignatiello pitched from behind in the count to 2 of the 3 batters he faced in the 8th but did not allow a run and struck out 1. The Giants other run came in the 9th after Jose Ascanio walked the first two batters he faced and then gave up a 2-out double to Rajai Davis.
Eric Patterson scored the first run of the game after an infield single and a stolen base in the 1st inning. Micah Hoffpauir was 1-for-4 with an RBI and started the game in right field. Geovany Soto added a RBI double in 4 trips to the plate but the big blast was a 2-run homer by Ronny Cedeno in the 5th inning. Alan Trammell’s lineup featured only one of the projected starters but they manufactured runs and came up with the big hit when they needed it. But it all started with Jon Lieber. Lou Piniella’s pending decision concerning who’s in his rotation and who’s out did not get any easier after Wednesday. While the Cubs’ A-Team lost the first game of the day on Wednesday afternoon, it was not because of Ryan Dempster.
The Cubs first run came after an infield single by Eric Patterson. Patterson stole 2nd with Mike Fontenot at the plate, advanced to 3rd on a sacrifice bunt by Fontenot and scored on a groundout to 2nd by Micah Hoffpauir….a run on 1 hit without the ball leaving the infield.
Matt Murton led off the 2nd with a single to right and scored on a double to left center by Geovany Soto. After Ray Durham dropped the relay throw from Aaron Rowand, Soto advanced to 3rd but was stranded. Kevin Correia shut the door on the Cubs’ offense after Soto’s double until the 5th inning.
Casey McGehee led off the 5th with a single to center. Ronny Cedeno followed with a home run to left center that put the Cubs up 4-1. Jon Lieber followed with a single to center and Eric Patterson singled to right. Mike Fontenot grounded into a 3-6-1 double play and with Lieber at 3rd, Hoffpauir grounded out to 2nd to end the inning.
Micah Hoffpauir added a 2-out single in the 8th and Yusuf Carter grounded out to 3rd in his first appearance with the Cubs this spring.
Scott Eyre (Eyre pitched in back-to-back games for the first time) and Bobby Howry’s performances were more than welcomed after the rough outings by Kevin Hart and Carlos Marmol earlier on Wednesday. Carmen Pignatiello was effective yet again….and still has not allowed an earned run this spring.
Lou Piniella’s crew is 9-13 in Cactus League play with 10 left on the schedule.
The Cubs will play the first of two back-to-back, home and away games against the Rockies on Thursday at HoHoKam. Rich Hill is slated to make the start against southpaw Franklin Morales.
News from Arizona
Or should it be rumors from Dave Kaplan? During Wednesday night’s show, Kaplan reiterated the Brian Roberts trade will get done. He said Bruce Kison, Orioles’ scout, has been watching the Cubs and was expected to take in the game on Wednesday night. Kaplan added Brian Roberts will cost “a bushel basket of prospects” but did not mention any new names….
Lou Piniella could name his rotation by Friday according to a report in the Sun-Times. Ryan Dempster and Jon Lieber remain the favorites….what about Jason Marquis?
Alex Cintron “is expected to return by the end of the week” according to the Sun-Times.
Kerry Wood is not expected to pitch again until Saturday according to a report in the Sun-Times. The Cubs do not want to have Wood ride in the bus for 2 hours on Friday (both ways from Tucson) after the recent back spasms.