In one of his last auditions to make the Cubs rotation, Jeff Samardzija struggled through four innings against the Rockies on Friday. The Cubs bullpen was able to right the ship, and the Cubs offense was ready and willing to take the game over. The Cubs scored three runs in three different innings erasing defecits of 5-3 and 7-6 in route to a 10-8 slugfest victory
The Cubs played well for the majority of both games today but ended up tied in one, and lost the other. The Cubs held a solid lead all day against the A’s, but a three run ninth inning by the A’s forced the game to extra’s and that’s where it ended tied at five. In the other game, Ryan Dempster turned in the longest outing by a Cubs pitcher all Spring going 6 strong innings, however the Cubs couldn’t break thru against Rangers pitching and dropped a well-played ball game 6-2. The other interesting, or, concerning news for Cubs fans was that Carlos Marmol had to leave the game against the Rangers after a visit from the trainer, more on that later.
The Cubs offense exploded in the first inning today, scoring seven runs off of Seattle starter Jason Vargas. Believe it or not, that wasn’t enough for Travis Wood as he continues to really struggle with his mechanics and command. Wood who is vying for a spot in the Cubs rotation is pitching himself right out of it. Wood gave up seven runs on seven hits over two innings of work, and has now given up 13 runs on 13 hits in 4 and 2/3rds innings this Spring.
The Cubs jumped out to a 3-0 lead and Casey Coleman made that stand while he was in the game for three strong innings. However, Andy Sonnanstine had another rough outing which let the Sox right back in the game, and gave them a brief 5-3 lead. The Cubs were able to fight back and tie it late, but left runners on the corners in the 8th inning. Jordan Danks belted a 2-run homer in the 10th inning to give the White Sox a two run lead, and eventually the victory.
Ups and downs, I’m sure the Cubs will see their fair share of those throughout the season. They have already seen it this Spring, just four days ago the Cubs were coming off three straight wins and playing some good baseball, now they have lost six in a row, good thing is, none of that matters right now. The Cubs are still playing well, just not getting the results, there will be plenty of time for that. Each Cubs starter pitched well today, Samardzija against the Rangers, and Maholm against the A’s. However, both pitchers were tagged with losses today, Maholm was done in by a Josh Vitters error in the first that led to a three run first inning. Samardzija only gave up one run over four innings, but the Cubs bats couldn’t get it going until late in the game when it was out of hand.
The good? A cubs late inning rally for a victory. The bad? Another Carlos Marmol implosion with a lead in late innings, the whispers will inevitably start now. Is Marmol the guy for the closer job once the season opens? History suggests that he should be given his experience as the closer, but last year was a huge step back, and so far this spring not much has changed. Theo, Jed, and Sveum have all gone on record saying how deflating a blown save is for a ball club, not just that day, but the days and weeks that follow. This is definitely something to keep an eye on as the Spring progresses, the Cubs need Marmol at the top of his game, if he’s not, he won’t be closing.
A shaky outing by Matt Garza, and cold bats dropped the Cubs back to .500 losing 5-1 to the Dodgers today. Not much else to say, you can’t be awesome every day. One of the few bright spots on the afternoon was Jeff Beliveau who tossed two scoreless innings, stirking out five guys.
Beliveau Strikes Out Five