Matt Garza Matt Garza

Spring Training Games Notes: Milwaukee Brewers (03/10/2012)

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The first week of Spring Training games concludes today as Matt Garza and the Chicago Cubs take on former Chicago Cubs’ starting pitcher Ted Lilly and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The common theme for the Cubs during the first week of cactus league games has been quality pitching from their starting pitchers. Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, Chris Volstad, and Jeff Samardzija have all impressed in their appearances during the first week of Spring Training action. Dempster was on the mound for the Cubs on Saturday as the Cubs beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6 to 1.

What Went Right: Dempster was very sharp in his second spring start as the starting pitcher pitched three innings giving up two hits and issuing two walks while holding the Brewers scoreless. Dempster also gave former Cubs’ third baseman Aramis Ramirez a little chin music as Dempster sailed a fastball towards the dome of his former teammate. Dempster admitted that there was no intention to brush Ramirez back. Ramirez has been awfully chirpy since his departure from the Cubs’ organization, so intentional or not, I am not surprised that he was given some chin music while facing his former team. As for the position players go, Starlin Castro hit his first home run of the Spring while third baseman Ian Stewart collected two hits in three at bats.  Joe Mather only had one at bat, but it was a significant one. Mather had a RBI double in his only at bat, and scored from second shortly thereafter. During the broadcast, Keith Moreland noted that Mather has been off to an impressive start in Spring Training. Moreland notes that Mather is starting to get attention around camp, including members of the Cubs’ front office. Mather is competing for the fifth outfielder’s spot on the 25 man roster with Tony Campana and Dave Sappelt. If Mather continues hitting this Spring, it may be impossible for the Cubs’ management to keep him off the 25 man roster.

What Went Wrong: Not a whole lot went wrong for the Cubs on Saturday as the Cubs collected 10 hits as a team, and the pitching staff held the Brewers to one run on six hits. Marco Mateo was the reliever to give up the Brewer’s lone run. Anthony Rizzo was hit-less in two at bats during the game on Saturday, and the consensus around camp is that Rizzo may be pressing at the plate. Rizzo is facing high expectations with the Cubs as some have labeled him as the most important Cubs’ player/prospect in the entire organization. In his last at bat on Saturday, however, Rizzo hit a long flyout that reached the warning track in right field.

What’s Next: The Cubs play the Dodgers on Sunday in a game that can be seen on WGN at 2:05 PM Central Time.