March 7, 2013 – Cubs Lineup vs. White Sox

Always want to beat the White Sox, even if it doesn’t count.  Here is how the Cubs will start things off today, the White Sox will use the DH, the Cubs will not, and the Sox had to get permission to do so from the Cubs, Spring Training folks.

1. David DeJesus, CF
2. Darwin Barney, 2B
3. Nate Schierholtz, RF
4. Alfonso Soriano, LF
5. Luis Valbuena, 3B
6. Welington Castillo, C
7. Brad Nelson, 1B
8. Edwin Maysonet, SS
9. Carlos Villanueva, P

Thanks for reading,
– George

Late Cubs Rally Falls Short

Cactus League Header

Cubs-Giants Line Score 3-2-13

Full Box Score

  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 MLB: Spring Training-Chicago Cubs at San Francisco Giantsout 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.

Cubs-Giants box Score 3-2-13

Cubs-Giants Pitching Box Score 3-2-13

Thanks for reading,
– George

Cubs Let Big Early Lead Slip Away in Loss to Dodgers

Cactus League Header

Cubs-Dodgers Line Score 2-25-13

Full Box Score

  The Cubs used the long ball early and often against Chad Billingsley and the Dodgers staff to build a 6-2 lead through three innings.  Nate Schierholtz hit a solo shot in the Castillofirst, and then Welington Castillo went back to back with Darnell McDonald in the third inning.  McDonald padded the RBI numbers with a three run homer, a no doubter.  Unfortunately that was about it for the Cubs offense as they couldn’t scratch across another run the rest of the afternoon.  Carlos Villanueva made his Cubs debut and it could have been better as he struggled with his command.  Villanueva couldn’t make in through the first inning as he walked two guys, and gave up two runs in two-thirds of an inning.  Blake Parker and Barret Loux had solid outings, each turning in a scoreless effort.  Robert Whitenack struggled today, giving up three runs, while not allowing a hit, yes he struggled with command as well, walking two in two-thirds of an inning.  The news of the day came from Dontrelle Willis, not because he made his debut, but because he only threw seven pitches before leaving with what is being described as shoulder stiffness, he took the loss.

Cubs-Dodgers Box Score 2-25-2013

Cubs-Dodgers Pitchers Box Score 2-25-2013

Game Highlights:

Darnell McDonald’s Three-Run Bomb
Dontrelle Willis leaves with an Injury
Welington Castillo’s Solo Shot
Nate Schierholtz Goes Deep

Thanks for reading,
– George

Sveum Sees Feldman in Rotation Already

I’m not going to say that Scott Feldman making the Cubs rotation is surprise, I just expected to be writing about it at the end of a very competitive camp, not before it even starts.  Patrick Mooney reported today that Dale Sveum has penciled Scott Feldman into the rotation behind “the big three” of Garza, Samardzija, and Edwin Jackson.  Yes, barring a step back from Samardzija, a blown apart Garza elbow, and an Edwin Jackson disaster, the Cubs can actually be considered as a team that has a big three at the top of the rotation.  At this point, if you look at the top three for the other teams in the Central Division, I like the Cubs.  They have three power arms at the top, and now, edwinjacksoncubsslideaccording to Sveum they have Scott Feldman following them.  “Feldman’s going to be one of the starters,” Sveum said Thursday. “There’s an above-average chance Baker’s going to probably start a little bit late, just because you don’t want to really rush him. There’s no need for anything like that.”  The words from Sveum today caught me a little off guard because the one word that I think describes this Cubs camp the best is competition, not saying there still won’t be plenty of it, I just expected more of it before naming Feldman to the rotation.  As Mooney says in his article, both Feldman and Baker were promised a chance to redeem themselves this year as starters, so one would think that gives them the inside track.  Not so fast, if we have learned anything from this Cubs organization since Theo took over is that they are calculated, everything they do has a reason or four behind it.  Sveum continued with the comment of “there are no guarantees” in the rotation behind Garza, Samardzija, and Jackson, so what Sveum is saying in my opinion is that Feldman, and Baker for that matter, will be slotted in the rotation but if they give the coaching staff any reason to doubt that they belong there they will be bumped for someone who deserves it.  So my final thought on this is expect there to be plenty of competition all Spring long, and don’t be surprised if Feldman doesn’t start the season as a starter, for my money, I think he will, but don’t count out Carlos Villanueva, or Travis Wood quite yet.

Thanks for reading,
– George

Sources: Cubs to Sign Carlos Villanueva

According to Jon Heyman the Cubs have agreed to sign pitcher Carlos Villanueva.  Villanueva, 29 has spent time as both a reliever and a starting pitcher.  Cub fans probably remember him during his stint with the Brewers in which he did most of his work out the pen.  Last year with the Blue Jays he made 16 starts and over the last two years he has made 29.  He will be looking for the opportunity to win a spot in the rotation and hopefully have a chance to be a starter.  No news yet on the terms of the deal.  As more becomes known we will let you know.

George Update:

Deal is confirmed, 2 years $10M for Villanueva, here is more from mlbtraderumors.com

Villanueva, 29, pitched to a 4.16 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in 125 1/3 innings spread across 16 starts and 22 relief appearances for the Blue Jays last season. He’s made 29 starts and 42 relief appearances over the last two seasons and has proven capable in both roles. Earlier this offseason we heard Villanueva was reportedly seeking the opportunity to make 30 starts next season, an opportunity the Cubs can provide.
Read more at http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/#em7qv4cy58jEhbbl.99

Thanks for Reading,
-Mark

Cubs Fill Out 40 Man Roster / Sayonara LaHair

Today was the deadline to protect players from the MLB Rule 5 draft, players on a teams 40 man roster are protected, so it comes as no surprise that the Cubs filled out their 40 man roster today.  The Cubs purchased the contracts of right-handed pitcher Trey McNutt, infielder Christian Villanueva, minor league player of the year in the Cubs organization Logan Watkins, and right-handed pitcher Robert Whitenack.  The other minor league player of the year, Nick Struck was not added to the 40 man and thus left unprotected and available to any team that may want to add him in the Rule 5 Draft.  It’s not that much of a surprise that he wasn’t added because the guys that were added have a better shot at sticking with the Cubs, especially McNutt.  I think the move to the pen was the right one for McNutt last year and he could have pitched out of a Major League bullpen last year so it was wise for the Cubs to go in that direction.

In addition to filling out the roster the Cubs also designated Bryan LaHair for assignment.  The 2012 all-star is said to be looking into an opportunity to sign with a Japan team for next season, if that’s the case I hope he has a great year next year, he was a lot of fun to watch for 51 games last season.

Thanks for reading,
– George