The Cubs played host to the cross town rival White Sox on Thursday afternoon in Mesa. The starting match ups pitted Jose Quintana against Carlos Villanueva. The Cubs drew first blood against the South Siders, thanks to a RBI triple by Nate Schierholtz. Quintana proceeded to settle down after and essentially shut down the Cubs the rest of his 3 2/3 inning outing. On the flip side, Villanueva began his start well before giving up individual runs in the third and fourth innings. The former Blue Jay pitcher was stretched to four innings of work. He did allow six hits but on the positive side he did not issue any free passes while striking out three.
The White Sox blew the game open in the top of the sixth, with Barret Loux playing the victim. The bad guys in black tagged Loux with five runs in the frame, with the big blows compliments of Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko on back to back jacks. That makes nine earned runs for Loux in his last two appearances combined, spanning just 3 1/3 innings pitched.
Where were the Cubs highlights? Unfortunately one of them you will most likely never get to see unless you were at HoHoKam Park, when starting catcher Welington Castillo made a behind the back catch of a foul pop near the visitor’s dugout in the fifth inning. Manager Dale Sveum was quoted as saying that his goal for Castillo playing time wise was to break the 100 game mark in the back stop’s first full season in the Majors.
Christian Villanueva, not to be confused with starting pitcher Carlos, provided the only other highlight. The Cubs third baseman socked a two run homer in the bottom of the ninth to make the score look a little closer than the game was, but the comeback attempt ended there.
With another Cubs loss, I will also have to end this game recap with a lowlight as well. With trade rumors filling up the Internet, whether sparked by truth or not, surrounding Carlos Marmol, the Cubs closer certainly did not do the front office any favors with a familiar wild Marmol inning. Well to be exact, just 2/3 of an inning. The closer only gave up one run and did not get help from his defense, but a 25 pitch count and the inability to locate his slider and fastball (basically his only two pitches), is an outing that would not have trade suitors drooling. It should be noted that the pitch total included two walks and a wild pitch. Marmol told Cubs.com beat writer Carrie Muskat that he was not worried about the trade rumors.
The Cubs Spring record now stands at 5-9 and they have not won a game since split squad action back on Sunday. And the White Sox seemed to have picked up right where they left off in regards to the Cubs, going 4-2 against them in regular season play last year.