On Saturday afternoon the Cubs faced the rebuilding Padres, who of course traded away superstar first baseman Adrian Gonzalez this off season. Unfortunately for the Cubs, it was to the Red Sox instead of the North Side of Chicago. On to the game notes.
Prospect Andrew Cashner made his second appearance this Spring, but his first official start. He had a bit of a shaky first inning, giving up a lead off ground rule double that eventually came around for a run two batters later. He did issue two walks as well, but on the bright side, he was able to get out of the bases loaded one out jam that he created. He also settled down in the 2nd inning to finish well.
Randy Wells continues to make his case to stay in the rotation. He did give up an unearned run on three hits and a walk, but he also recorded three strikeouts and was allowed to work three innings.
Jay Jackson, who has been great in his first two innings, finally got roughed up a bit by the Padres. He gave up two homers after pitching scoreless ball so far this Spring. The good note is that he had not issued walks before the long balls to compound the issue. Jackson is a long shot to break camp with the Cubs, but it will be interesting to see how he bounces back from this outing.
Aramis Ramirez committed the lone error for the Cubs when he could not handle Koyie Hill’s throw on a delayed steal attempt by the Padres. The ball ended up getting past Rami and the runner came around to score, which was the unearned run on Wells’ stat sheet.
Kosuke Fukudome led off yet again for the Cubs. After striking out in his first at bat, he finished the day 2 for 3. He singled in the 3rd inning, but was picked off of first when he made his jump for second base on the pitcher’s first movement. As the Spring goes along, we will need to keep an eye on whether manager Mike Quade will try to run more this season. Fukudome did steal second in the 4th inning and made his way to third on the catcher’s throwing error.
The pick off did hurt a little bit as Starlin Castro followed with a single. Later in the inning, with the bases loaded, Carlos Pena struck out, but Alfonso Soriano picked him up with a clutch two out, two RBI single. Jeff Baker followed that up with a nice opposite field single to tack on yet another two out run for the Cubs.
Marlon Byrd was the highlight of the day, going 2 for 2 with two doubles and three runs scored. As of this morning he is hitting .500.
Aramis Ramirez provided another two out hit to bring in Byrd in the first inning. He finished the day 1 for 1 with a walk and was also hit by a pitch.
Cult hero Bobby Scales tallied three RBIs, including a two run home run.
So far Cubs fans have to feel real good about how the middle of the order has been performing as a whole. Actually you can extend that to include two hole hitter Castro. The two out RBI hits are also a nice habit the Cubs have been making so far.