Chicago Cubs News

Spring Training: Cubs (SS) vs Dodgers, Cubs (SS) vs Reds

joehan
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On Sunday the Cubs played a couple split squad games, one versus the division rival Reds and the other against the Dodgers. The game with Los Angeles was also the first televised Cubs game of the Spring. I am sure many of you enjoyed seeing Cubs baseball back on the tube as much as I did. I will go into the game notes separately for each game below starting with the match up against the Dodgers first.

PITCHING

Opening Day starter Ryan Dempster was stretched to four innings of work against the Dodgers and responded with a three hit, one earned run outing while tallying three strikeouts. His Spring ERA now stands at 2.57. Later in the game, he was seen in street clothes chatting it up with Todd Ricketts and some fans in the stands. Carlos Marmol followed up Dempster with a scorless 5th inning. The Cubs closer did issue his first walk of the Spring, but also struck out three for his inning of work. More than his other stats, the key this Spring for him will be to see how low he can keep his walk total.

The final two pitching highlights came from Marcos Mateo and Esmailin Caridad. After the Dodgers came back to tie the Cubs each time Chicago went one run ahead, Mateo came in to shut down the Dodgers in the 9th, and Caridad came in to do the same in the top of the 10th to set up the Cub offense for a chance at a walk off win.

DEFENSE

The Cubs played errorless ball against the Dodgers. If you want to nitpick, Reed Johnson could have had a better throw to home on a fairly shallow sac fly. But Johnson is known more for his glove than for his arm.

OFFENSE

The Cubs have continued the good habit of scoring runs in the 1st inning of games. Kosuke Fukudome ended up on second base to lead off the game thanks to some bad defense. He was moved over to third by Johnson on a fly ball out, and was brought home by daily double machine Marlon Byrd’s two base hit. In the 4th inning, Jeff Baker came through with a two out RBI single for the second day in a row to put the Cubs back ahead at 2-1.

With two outs already in the bottom of the 7th, pinch hitter Steve Clevenger hit a ground rule double to left center field. He was brought home on a Fukudome single. Once again, you have to love the two out hits and RBIs. After the Dodgers tied it yet again in the top of the 8th, the game went into the extra frame, where prospect DJ LeMahieu provided the walk off heroics with a two run line drive home run to left center field.

Meanwhile, in Goodyear, Arizona against the defending NL Central champion Reds…

PITCHING

Starting rotation candidate Todd Wellemeyer put in a respectable outing with one earned run on three hits while striking out two in his two innings of work. Casey Coleman was roughed up a bit for three earned runs in his two innings of work. Prospect Trey McNutt was tagged for four earned and he was only able to register two outs. By the end of the 5th inning the Cubs were already down 0-8.

DEFENSE

This split squad was able to match the other split squad with an error free game. Hopefully we are seeing signs that the errors in bunches to start the Spring were just a fluke, and not carried into the regular season. Obviously continuing the good defensive play for the rest of the Spring will help make that a reality.

OFFENSE

Unfortunately for the Cubs, there is not much to highlight when you only can scratch two hits as a team for the entire game. What is a little  concerning is that the line up trotted out to play against the Reds featured many of the regulars you expect to see when the Cubs head to Wrigley Field in April. The Reds pitchers were able to cool off Alfonso Soriano (0 for 3) and kept lead off candidate Blake DeWitt hitless as well.

Starlin Castro was able to tally one of the Cubs hits, but the other concern is the slow start Carlos Pena has gotten off to. He is now hitting .071 for the Spring and his performance so far is surely going to add fuel to the fire for the pessimists that did not like the Pena signing after his .196 regular season average in 2010.

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