Spring Training Game Twenty-Four – Cubs 4 Padres 14
WP – Aaron Harang (2-1) LP – Matt Garza (0-3) Save – None
Q’s crew had a very rough afternoon in Peoria. Not only did the pitching staff allow 14 runs for the second straight game but two of the pitchers that figure in the Cubs’ plans for the upcoming season had bad outings.
Matt Garza struggled with his command. Garza had trouble with his location once again and allowed three runs on three hits in three innings of work. Garza also issued three walks and finished his afternoon in the bullpen. Garza left with a tight left hamstring after having trouble with the landing spot on the Peoria Sports Complex mound.
Jeff Samardzija put together the best outing of the five pitchers Mike Quade used Saturday. After giving up a leadoff single, Samardzija struck out the side.
Braden Looper, who was one of the favorites to land the fifth spot in the rotation, gave up eight runs on eight hits in just two innings of work (53 pitches, 31 for strikes). The big hit off Looper was a grand slam by Chase Headley in the sixth inning. Looper served up two homers, walked two and struck out three.
Jeff Stevens and Scott Maine did not fare any better than Garza and Looper. Stevens gave up a pair of runs on one hit and two walks in his inning of work. Maine served up the Padres’ third longball of the game but struck out three in the eighth.
While the Padres’ offense was busy taking batting practice (14 runs on 15 hits with seven walks) against Cubs’ pitching, Q’s offense was non-existent.
The Cubs managed only five hits with all four of their runs coming on one swing of the bat … a grand slam in the eighth off the bat of Max Ramirez. Quade ran out a majority of the players that figures to begin the season on the Cubs’ 25-man active roster and once again the players did not perform.
On the error front, the Cubs were credited with only one error but committed more miscues than the official scorekeeper kept track of Saturday.
Again, wins and loses in the spring are not important but at some point Q’s group of players must start playing better baseball. Saturday was another frustrating day for the Cubs. Before Saturday’s game, Mike Quade talked about the Cubs needing to improve in certain areas … those areas should have expanded after Saturday.
Matt Garza’s afternoon started on a negative note and went downhill from there. Garza could not locate his fastball and rarely hit his spots.
Eric Patterson led off the game with a triple to left and scored on a sacrifice fly to right off the bat of Jason Bartlett. Garza got out of the first without allowing another hit and retired the Padres in order in the second.
Garza labored through a long third inning. Nick Hundley walked to start the inning. Aaron Harang sacrificed him to second and Hundley scored on a double to right off the bat of Eric Patterson … Patterson should have ended up at third.
Garza retired Bartlett on a fly out to right, Patterson advanced to third and scored on a double to left by Orlando Hudson. Garza walked Ryan Ludwick and Chase Headley to load the bases.
Garza struck out Brad Hawpe to end the inning.
The Cubs lifted Garza after the third inning. An uneven mound led to Garza straining his left hamstring. Garza finished getting his work in during a session with Lester Strode in the pen.
Jeff Samardzija got through the four without allowing a run.
Braden Looper took over in the fifth … and was horrible. Bartlett singled to center to start the inning. Orlando Hudson hit a ground-rule double to left center. With runners on second and third with no outs, Looper struck out Ryan Ludwick swinging on a 3-2 pitch. Chase Headley walked to load the bases.
Brad Hawpe singled to center and plated Bartlett and Hudson … 5-0 Padres.
Looper recovered and struck out Cameron Maybin and Nick Hundley to end the inning.
The game went from bad to worse in the sixth.
Oscar Salazar and Aaron Cunningham reached on back-to-back singles to start the inning. Cunningham stole second with Jesus Guzman at the plate. Guzman lined out to Scales at second for the first out.
Logan Forsythe drove in Salazar with a single to left.
Lopper walked Everth Cabrera to load the bases ahead of Chase Headley. Headley’s slam deep to right made the score 10-0. The last run allowed by Looper came off a solo home run by Cameron Maybin.
The Cubs only runs came in the eighth. Reed Johnson singled to start the inning. Kosuke Fukudome reached on an error by Cabrera at short. Following a Bobby Scales fly out, Tyler Colvin singled to right to load the bases.
Max Ramirez launched an opposite field slam over the wall in right … the only highlight of the game for the Chicago Cubs.
Saturday was one of those games … and one that has been played over and over this spring.
Randy Wells and the Cubs host the Giants at HoHoKam Park Sunday afternoon.