Spring Training Game Notes: Oakland Athletics (03/05/12)
The Chicago Cubs played their second game of the Cactus League schedule on Monday, but the game had the same result as Sunday’s Cactus League opener for the Cubs. The Cubs lost 8-7 to the Oakland Athletics on Monday. Ryan Dempster started for the Cubs, and Dale Sveum admitted before the game that he has yet to decide who is Opening Day starter will be. The honor will go to either Dempster or Matt Garza. While Garza is considered by many to be the favorite to be the Cubs’ Opening Day starter, Dempster had a strong showing in his first Spring Training start. Dempster pitched 2 innings giving up 1 run on 2 hits and striking out two batters.
Here are some more notable performances from the Cubs’ loss to the Athletics on Monday.
What Went Right: Jeff Baker had a solid spring debut as the utility infielder went 2-for-2. Baker will see the bulk of his playing time this season as the primary backup to Bryan LaHair, but his role on the team will likely change when Anthony Rizzo is called up to the Major League team. At that point, it is likely that Baker will see more time at third base. Joe Mather, who has an outside chance of making the team as a fifth outfielder/utility type, went 2-for-3 including 2 stolen bases. If not released at the end camp, Mather will likely be an insurance policy for the Cubs while playing in the outfield with the Iowa Cubs.
What Went Wrong: While the Cubs’ lineup on Monday consisted mostly of minor league players, players that are expected to be in the Cubs’ starting lineup on Opening Day–Darwin Barney, Starlin Castro, Bryan LaHair–went a combined 2-for-10. At this point, it may be nothing more than the pitchers being ahead of the batters. Nonetheless, LaHair–who was hit-less in thee at bats–will have eyes on him this Spring as he tries to solidify his role as starting player on the 25 man roster. Reliever Manny Corpas, who is trying to lock down one of the final spots in the bullpen, gave up 2 runs on 3 hits in 1 1/3 innings pitched.
What’s Next: The Cubs play the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday at 2:05PM Central.