Every time the Cubs fought back in this one the Giants would tack on a couple of insurance runs to keep the Cubs at bay, the Cubs final push came in the ninth inning as they scored twice, but ran out of outs as they fell to the Giants 9-7. Carlos Villanueva made his second appearance of the Spring, and had a much better performance. Villanueva was able to make it through three innings, giving up one run on four hits while walking one, and striking out two. It was nice to see Villanueva find the strike zone repeatedly in this one, I’ll take giving up hits over walks any day, and he was able to work around the hits for the most part. Barret Loux came on in relief and didn’t have it today, he tossed two innings, giving up four runs, all earned on three hits while walking one and striking out one, Loux was hung with the loss. Jaye Chapman also struggled today as he surrendered two runs on two hits in his inning of work. After having a rough Spring debut, Robert Whitenack bounced back nicely today as he pitched a scoreless inning, walking one and striking out one.
The Cubs were once again productive at the plate as they scored seven runs while pounding out ten hits. Brian Bogusevic got the start in right field today and was stellar at the plate going 2-for-2 with a triple, a walk, and two runs scored. Dioner Navarro only had one hit but he had a productive day, he ended the day 1-for-3 with a walk, and two RBI’s. Steve Clevenger got the start at first base today, yes first base, and he did his best Anthony Rizzo impersonation going 2-for-3 with two RBI’s, Clevenger is having a solid Spring at the plate, hitting .500 (4-for-8) in the early going. Brett Jackson didn’t start, but had an eventful day nonetheless going 1-for-1 with a double, and a stolen base. Jackson is having a resurgent Spring, and a lot of that can be contributed to a new swing, and new-found confidence, he his slated to start 2013 in Iowa, but is doing everything he can to make that decision anything but a given, he’s hitting .375 (3-for-8) with two triples, and a double this Spring.
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Things didn’t exactly get going the right way for the Cubs and eventual winning pitcher Travis Wood. Wood walked the first batter he faced today, on four straight pitches, then threw 11 consecutive strikes to close out a solid two inning outing. He didn’t get out of the game unscathed as the lead-off walk he issued scored for the Angels which was part of a two run first inning. The Cubs quickly erased that deficit thanks to some clutch hitting in the third inning. After Luis Valbuena brought the Cubs to within one run in the second inning with a solo home run, the Cubs exploded for five runs in the third, all with two outs. The highlight of the inning had to be Brett Jackson‘s two run triple, his second triple of the game, he finished the day going 2-for-2 with two triples, two RBI’s and a run scored, guess that new swing is working out okay so far, it’s early, I know. Jorge Soler, and Anthony Rizzo had solid spring debut’s as they each registered a double in three plate appearances, Soler’s double brought in a run for his first RBI of the Spring season. Junior Lake also wowed the capacity crowd with a long solo home run, his only hit of the day in three plate appearances. Back to the pitching, it was outstanding, sure it wasn’t against the vaunted Angels every day lineup, but it was still an excellent performance for so early in the Spring. After Travis Wood, six Cubs pitchers joined the fun to close out the game, they tossed seven innings allowing four hits, one walk and no strikeouts.
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It’s finally here, baseball counts again, well for Spring Training records anyway, the Cubs get their Cactus League schedule underway today at 2PM CST against the Angels of Anaheim, Los Angeles, West Coast, California. Here is how the Cubs will lineup with Travis Wood getting the start, a first step towards making his case to crack the Cubs starting five. The game is available on WGN Radio, and also on MLB.com, so tune in and enjoy. Other things to look for today, or I guess listen for, would be Brett Jackson’s new swing, and Anthony Rizzo’s first spring HR, because it will happen today.
Today’s lineup (for the first time through at least)
1. Logan Watkins, 2B
2. Dave Sappelt, CF
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
4. Scott Hairston, RF
5. Luis Valbuena, 3B
6. Welington Castillo, C
7. Brett Jackson, LF
8. Brent Lillibridge, SS
9. Darnell McDonald, DH
Thanks for reading, go Cubs!
Remember when Carlos Marmol was flat-out awful? You should, it was this past season, that same Carlos Marmol was just traded to the Angels for three-time All-Star starting pitcher Dan Haren. THAT is why it was so important to the Cubs for Marmol to succeed, and why Dale Sveum had to keep running him out there. Today justifies all of that, Carlos Marmol was lights out in the second half, all of those factors led to the Cubs being able to acquire a top of the rotation pitcher. Haren will be the Cubs property next year, at 32 years old there is a good chance that he can become part of the rotation when the Cubs are contending, that probably won’t be next year. So the Cubs would have to sign Haren to an extension if they want his services after 2013, if the Cubs don’t sign Haren, and are not contending, they now own a huge piece to trade at next years deadline. Ton’s of possibilities here, and really a stellar deal for Theo and the Cubs, of course this all hinges on Haren staying healthy, which he didn’t do last year. I will update as necessary, great news on November 2, this bodes well…
[UPDATE] Gordon Wittenmeyer has confirmed via a source that the deal is official, Paul Sullivan reporting deal done as well. We’ll see if pieces are added.
[THOUGHT] I suspect that once this deal is announced officially by both teams that more players would be heading to the Angels from the Cubs, Josh Vitters and Brett Jackson could be headed to Anaheim, that’s just a guess. not both, but one or the other..
[UPDATE 2] As expected, because this involves the Cubs, there are reports now that the deal that so many legit sources confirmed might not exactly be 100% done yet… did someone say Dempster again!? Stay tuned.
[UPDATE 3] Carrie Muskat and Paul Sullivan are saying that the rumored trade that would send Marmol to the Angels for Dan Haren is “off for now”
[UPDATE 4] Per multiple sources, the REPORTED deal of Haren for Marmol has been pulled off the table by the CUBS, and this is after Marmol said yes to go to the Angels, you can’t make this up, it’s the Cubs!
The Cubs seem to spring to life in the ninth inning today, unfortunately poor at bats from Starlin Castro and Josh Vitters brought a would be rally to a grinding halt. Trailing 7-3 heading into the ninth inning the Cubs strung together four straight hits which resulted in two quick runs but that’s as far as it would get. With runners at second and third, trailing by two with nobody out, Castro and Vitters both struck out and looked bad in doing so, and the Cubs inched closer to the 100 loss mark. Chris Volstad was Chris Volstad bad today as he could only last for three innings giving up seven runs on ten hits while walking none and striking out none, with the loss he falls to 3-11 on the season. The Cubs were actually uncharacteristically clutch, I mean not counting the ninth inning. The Cubs pounded out 13 hits, and were 5-for-12 with runners in scoring position, but still managed to leave 11 guys on base. Anthony Rizzo snapped out of a mini funk by going 3-for-3 with his 15th home run of the season, two RBI’s, two walks, and a run scored. Alfonso Soriano added to his career high RBI total in this one as well, registering an RBI double in the ninth inning to give him 106 for the season. The Cubs now head to Arizona where they will meet the Diamondbacks and possibly 100 losses.
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The Cubs open a three game weekend set with Pirates today at Wrigley. Chris Rusin gets the ball in game one as the Cubs look to continue their strong play as of late. Both Anthony Rizzo and Brett Jackson return from injuries today.
1. DeJesus – RF
2. Valbuena – 3B
3. Rizzo – 1B
4. Soriano – LF
5. Castro – SS
6. Clevenger – C
7. Jackson – CF
8. Barney – 2B
9. Rusin – P
Thanks for reading, go Cubs!
MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo has done an updated top 100 prospects lists as well as each organizations top 20. Mayo will probably come out with a list prior to the 2013 season, but here is where Cubs prospects stand as of now according to Mayo. To check out the entire top 100 list and to read a little more on these Cubs prospects.
1. Javier Baez – SS (#24)
When the Cubs picked Almora they new his bat was going to play and that is exactly what happened. The Cubs top pick from 2011 was outstanding in his time with Peoria this year hitting .333/.383/.596 with 12 home runs, 33 RBIs and 20 stolen bases. He struggled a bit when moving to Daytona, but overall it was very successful season for the young shortstop.
2. Albert Almora – OF (#52)
The Cubs top pick in this years draft didn’t sign right away, but when he did he didn’t disappoint. He started with the AZL Cubs and moved to Boise shortly after. Combined he played in 33 games hitting .321/.331/.464 with two home runs and 19 RBIs. He also hit 12 doubles.
3. Brett Jackson – OF (#74)
It has been an interesting year for Brett Jackson who has dropped a bit in the prospect watch. The good news first he has made it to the show and when he makes contact does some damage as he left Iowa with 22 doubles, 12 triples, and 15 home runs, to go along with 27 stolen bases. He also plays great defense, the bad news is he has really struggled making contact striking out over 200 times between his two stops.
4. Arodys Vizcaino – RHP (#76)
Vizcaino was considered one the Braves best young pitchers and was deemed untouchable last year. Things changed a bit this year as he missed the entire season after elbow surgery in March. The Cubs are very pleased to have acquired Vizcaino, but it remains to be seen how he will recover from surgery. Lets hope it is as a starter, but at the least he is a power arm out of the pen which the Cubs need badly as well.
5. Jorge Soler – OF (#77)
Jorge Soler did quite well in getting accustomed to baseball in America. He is still very raw, but at 20 the Cubs feel very strongly he will be a big contributor to the big club in the future. He spent time with the AZL Cubs and moved to Peoria where he finished the year. He combined to hit .299/.398/.463 with five home runs and 25 RBIs in just 34 games.
6. Matt Szczur – OF
The speedy outfielder had a nice season in Daytona hitting .295/.394/.407 with 38 stolen bases, but struggled a bit in 35 games with Tennessee.
7. Trey McNutt – RHP
McNutt did not have the year he was looking to have going 9-8 with 4.26 ERA. He struggled a bit and was moved to the bullpen, but maybe it will be better for him and the Cubs.
8. Junior Lake -SS
Lake played the entire year in Tennessee and did a pretty good job going .279/.341/.432 with 10 home runs, 50 RBIs, and 21 stolen bases. He is still very raw and will continue to work on his game.
9. Pierce Johnson – RHP
The Cubs took Johnson with the 43rd overall pick in this years draft and he did quite well making six starts, two with the AZL Cubs and four with Boise.
10. Josh Vitters – 3B
The former first round pick, number 3 overall finally put it all together this year in Iowa hitting .304/.356/.513 with 17 home runs and 68 RBIs. The PCL All Star got the call up, but has struggled so far with the Cubs, but at only 23 the future is still very bright for Vitters.
11. Dillon Maples – RHP
It took a while for Maples to make his first appearance, but when he did he showed signs of what he could be. He was a bit inconsistent in his six appearances, but he will have more opportunities next season to show what he has. He has tremendous upside.
12. Robert Whitenack – RHP
Coming off of Tommy John surgery Whitenack struggled pitching for Daytona going 1-6 with a 5.96 ERA. Although the numbers don’t look good, remember he is coming off of major surgery and has good upside.
13. Dan Vogelbach – 1B
Not many Cubs prospects did as much damage as Vogelbach did this year. The big first baseman played in 61 games this season between the AZL Cubs and Boise Hawks. He hit .322/.410/.641 with 17 home runs and 62 RBIs.
14. Ben Wells – RHP
A 2010 draft pick the 19-year-old Wells missed most of the season with a right elbow strain. He made a few appearances at the end of the year, but will look to stay healthy in 2013.
15. Paul Blackburn – RHP
Another 2012 draft pick Paul Blackburn was chosen 56th overall out of high school. He made nine appearances for the AZL Cubs going 2-0 with a 3.48 ERA.
16. Jeimer Candelario – 3B
Candelario played the entire season at Boise and at only 18 the corner infielder showed he can hit a little bit. The switch hitting Candelario hit .281/.345/.396 with six home runs and 47 RBIs.
17. Gioskar Amaya – 2B/SS
Amaya played his season in Boise and put up some good numbers. He his .298/.381/.496. The 19-year old filled up the stat sheet with six doubles, 12 triples, and eight home runs. He also drove in 33 and stole 15 bases.
18. Tony Zych – RHP
Zych shared time between Daytona and Tennessee out of the bullpen. He combined to going 5-4 with a 3.67 ERA with 64 strikeouts in 61.1 innings.
19. Alberto Cabrera – RHP
Cabrera, who moved to the bullpen this year started in Double-A, but quickly moved to Triple-A before finally ending up with the big club. His minor league numbers were really good going 4-1 with 3.11 ERA with 74 strikeouts to only 14 walks. He has struggled since coming to the Cubs, but we’ll see where he factors in going forward.
20. Marcus Hatley – RHP
Hatley pitched well in Tennessee out of the bullpen going 3-1 with a 3.40 with 46 strikeouts in 45 innings. He then got the call to Iowa where he struggled in his time there.
It is good to see the Cubs have five players who are inside the top 80 in MLB. You can also see the emphasis the Cubs placed on pitching, drafting Pierce Johnson and Paul Blackburn in this years draft as well as bringing in Arodys Vizcaino in the Paul Maholm deal. Looking a little further into things is the talent Theo Epstein and company brought in this year. They obviously brought in the three pitchers above as well as Albert Almora and Jorge Soler. three of those five are inside the Cubs top five and Pierce Johnson makes it four in the top 10. The exciting thing is there are more who they brought in who I would guess are close to cracking this top 20 and who may even show up in the top 20 before the 2013 season gets underway. Keep checking back this offseason as we will talk more in-depth about these prospects as well as many more.
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