On Wednesday the Cubs played a rematch against the Brewers, but this time against the full squad and at the Brewers’ Spring home park. Now on to the game notes.
Jordan already posted yesterday the situation involving Carlos Silva and Aramis Ramirez in the dugout after the 1st inning. Silva of course is competing for a spot in the rotation. Despite coming off injury and a health issue that shut him down for the second half of 2010, based on his first half performance, he proclaimed early in camp that in his mind he was assuming one of the rotation spots had his name written on it. It now appears he has put a little too much unnecessary pressure on himself. He led off the game by issuing a walk and then serving up a two run homer. At that point I am chalking it up to a bit of rust after his time on the disabled list last season. He then proceeds to get Ryan Braun to ground out and Prince Fielder to hit a lazy pop fly barely outside of the infield.
But that is where the trouble began. I will go into the errors later, but the defense did not do Silva any favors. He promptly gave up another home run that brought in two more runs. When all was said and done after the bottom half of the 1st, Silva had been tagged for six runs (three earned). However, believe it or not, there is one positive that can be taken out of his short and tumultuous outing. The three outs he did record were of the ground ball variety, which is a key result of his pitching style. Silva reminds me a lot of former Cub Jason Marquis, down to the hot first half starts to a season.
Prospect Jay Jackson again provided a scoreless inning. His chances of making the team out of Spring seem daunting with all of the arms the Cubs have brought into camp to compete for spots, but I am sure Luke will be keeping us posted on how he is progressing. James Russell, a candidate for one of the left handed bullpen jobs to partner up with Sean Marshall, was hit with three earned runs as well. The final highlight amongst the few on the pitching side involved Jeff Samardzija. The Shark, who as many of you may know, is out of options and cannot be sent down to the minors if he does not make the cut out of Spring, without having to go through waivers first. He did provide a scoreless inning in relief to wrap up the game on the pitching side for the Cubs.
Going back to the blow up in the dugout, Silva’s rough start to the Spring and his dust up with Rami (as manager Mike Quade apparently is referring to Ramirez as) will not do Silva any favors regarding his future, whether it is staying with the Cubs to contribute or being traded to a team with that would offer more playing time for him. Rami was interviewed after the game, and he did say all the right things, but Alfonso Soriano’s quotes leave me wondering if Silva and Rami even had a chance or made the effort to reconcile afterwards, but I am sure we will find out where things really stand in the coming days.
The Cubs of course have had their share of in house drama over the last few seasons thanks to another Carlos (Zambrano), but the team definitely does not have room for two drama queens. Disagreements and arguments happen all the time, but a majority of the time a well run clubhouse will not allow those incidents to leak into the public. I know these events have been in public view without the chance to keep it wrapped up behind closed doors, but this cannot be accepted. As badly as the front office may have wanted to move Silva even before yesterday’s incident, I do not see them just releasing the pitcher. However if you do see him put on waivers, it will be an indication of how bad the ill feelings have lingered amongst the players.
On a side note, former Cub prospect Casey McGehee made sure to remind his former club of the mistake they made of letting him go by launching two home runs off Cubs pitching.
The Cubs continue to go in the wrong direction in terms of errors. They totaled five miscues on Wednesday, a game high so far this Spring, and they now have 14 errors in four games. Up until now I have been trying to brush off the mistakes with the excuse that it is early in Spring, but after yesterday you do have to start worrying a little bit. Manager Quade did talk with Starlin Castro before the game yesterday, and the MLB.com radio broadcast of the game did make a comment on how Castro looked like he was thinking too much on the ground ball he ended up bobbling in the 1st inning. Similar to a hitter thinking too much at the plate when in the midst of a slump, you have to wonder if all the errors the Cubs have committed so far is causing them to think a little too much. That may also be the reason why Quade was quoted after the game on Tuesday saying that he did not want to overreact just yet.
It should also be noted that Koyie Hill was charged with catcher’s interference in the first inning on a ground ball that would have potentially been a double play to escape the inning with only four runs scored by the Brewers.
How about we wrap this up with some positives? Kosuke Fukudome found himself in the leadoff spot once again, and he led off the game with a four pitch walk that was followed up by a home run by Castro, the first Cubs homer of the Spring. After that Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo seemed to settle down. Castro continued his hot hitting to start the Spring with a RBI double in the 5th (although it may be thanks to a bad read by the Brewers center fielder) to drive in Fukudome again, and finished the day 2 for 3 with 3 RBIs.
Soriano added a solo shot in the 6th and Brad Snyder finished off the Cubs scoring with a solo home run of his own in the 9th. So after going homerless in the first three Spring games, the Cubs did break out to tally three this past game.