Spring Training Game Two: Cubs (1-0) vs. Giants (1-0)
- Game Time – 2:05pm CST
- Coverage – TV: None – Radio: Cubs.com
- Location – HoHoKam Park, Mesa
Jeff Samardzija (0-0, -.–/-.–) vs. Matt Cain (0-0, -.–/-.–)
The Cubs square off against the defending World Series Champions this afternoon at HoHoKam Park. Both the Cubs and Giants beat the Angels in their respective Cactus League openers on Sunday afternoon. While the Cubs were busy pounding the Halos in Tempe, San Francisco topped the Angels in Scottsdale, 4-1.
Today marks the last Spring home opener for the Cubs at HoHoKam Park. The Cubs will move into their new facility, currently called Riverview Park, later this year. Riverview is currently under construction, and the Cubs are expected to cut the ribbon on the new state of the art facility in November.
Dale Sveum’s starting nine this afternoon will feature a majority of his regulars. Starlin Castro makes his spring debut at short, hitting second, and Alfonso Soriano bats fourth and plays left field.
Jeff Samardzija takes the hill for the home opener, his first step in proving last season was not a one-hit wonder.
Len Kasper will once again call the action, and will be joined by Smokies’ play-by-play man, Mick Gillispie. The game can be heard on Cubs.com.
This afternoon all begins with Jeff Samardzija …
Jeff Samardzija is coming off a solid first year as a starter in the big leagues. Samardzija posted a 9-13 record in 28 starts last season with a 3.81 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. In 174 2/3 innings, Samardzija struck out 180 batters while walking only 56 … better than a 3:1 strikeout to walk ratio.
Samardzija appeared to figure things out in the second half, and turned himself from a thrower into a pitcher. Samardzija shook off some of his football mentality and realized he did not have to challenge ever hitter he faced. Samardzija was 3-5 in his last 11 starts with a 2.58 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP.
The Cubs think that Samardzija is one of the building blocks of the future. The front office tried to lock him up with a five year contract in the off-season that would have bought out Samardzija’s three arbitration years and the first two years of free agency. Samardzija decided to take the one-year contract and show the team that he is capable of repeating his performance from last season. Samardzija has quickly become one of the leaders in the Cubs’ clubhouse, and while it is “only Spring Training”, he really needs to find a way to pick-up where he left off last season.
And the Cubs will lineup this way behind Jeff Samardzija this afternoon:
- David DeJesus – CF
- Starlin Castro – SS
- Anthony Rizzo – 1B
- Alfonso Soriano – LF
- Nate Schierholtz – RF
- Dioner Navarro – C
- Brian Bogusevic – DH
- Darwin Barney – 2B
- Christian Villanueva – 3B
The Cubs’ offense will face one of the best in all of baseball today, Matt Cain. Cain owns the Cubs during the regular season and likes pitching at HoHoKam Park. Cain is coming off a very good year, but an un-Cain like second half. Cain posted a 16-5 record in 32 starts last season with a 2.79 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP (193 strikeouts, 51 walks) … but in the second half, 7-2 in 15 starts with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP.
Let’s Talk Cubs Baseball …