Today, the Cubs announced that Jeff Samardzija will open the season in Pittsburgh, as he did in 2013. Rick Renteria said it was an easy decision to make, and I would have to agree, Shark is the top guy while he is here with this group. I’m not sure Travis Wood was given any consideration, but wouldn’t be surprised if he was given his stellar 2013. Wood will follow Samardzija, and Edwin Jackson will pitch game three in Pittsburgh, just a short 17 days away.
Yeah, slop-fest. I wasn’t quite sure how to spell that in the title, but it seemed appropriate given that this was, indeed, a slop-fest. The Cubs only had one error on the day, but the Rockies really messed things up and had five, yet still won the game. But the news of the day, as it is almost every day, is Javier Baez showing off his unfathomable power, everyone is really excited.
At the Plate:
- Josh Vitters, hello. Vitters entered the game in the sixth and ended the day going 2-for-2 with a run scored, and a dropped fly ball, filling up the score sheet.
- Javier Baez (!), Baez went 1-for-3 with his second home run of the spring season, an opposite field shot which continued to fuel the inter-webs desire for him to start with the Cubs… sorry, won’t happen, hooray team control!
- George Kottaras has the backup catching spot locked down in my opinion, not only because we share the first name. Kottaras was 1-for-2 with his first home run of the season, which immediately followed Baez’s shot.
On the Mound:
- Jeff Samardzija got the start today and was roughed up a bit, but was able to escape with a no decision. Shark went three innings giving up three runs on four hits while walking one, and striking out one.
- Jose Veras, the new Cubs closer, worked a scoreless inning, which was a nice rebound after his not so great debut.
- Pedro Strop also worked a scoreless inning, and didn’t walk or strikeout anyone, madness.
- Chris Rusin was having a pretty solid outing until he lost command in the fateful seventh inning. Rusin worked 2.2 innings giving up three runs on three hits while walking two, and striking out one.
- Armando Rivero continues his push to make the Cubs bullpen with another solid outing, but he did have some trouble to work out of. Rivero worked a scoreless inning giving up three hits while striking out one.
Thanks to Brett at Bleacher Nation for the video
The Cubs go for their third straight win this afternoon as they take on the Rockies at Cubs Park in Mesa. Jeff Samardzija will make his second start of the spring looking to build on his strong debut from last week, expect three to four innings for Shark.
1. Kalish – LF
2. Valbuena – 3B
3. Lake – CF
4. Roberts – 1B
5. Baez – SS
6. Kottaras – C
7. Jackson – RF
8. Valaika – 2B
9. McDonald – DH
SP – Samardzija
The Cubs bench looks a little more exciting than the lineup:
No TV today, but there it MLB.com radio.
MLB.com Game Recap
Off and not exactly running for the Cubs as they fell to the Diamondbacks this afternoon 5-2 in their Cactus League opener. The star of the show today was the debut of new Cubs Park in Mesa, by everyone’s account it is the best Spring facility there is for the players and fans.
- Jeff Samardzija got the start and was a little too amped up as he walked the first batter of the game on four straight pitches. Samardzija settled down after that, and had a rather solid spring debut against a stout Diamondbacks lineup. Shark worked two scoreless innings giving up two hits while walking one, and striking out two.
- Starlin Castro looked really good at the plate on a day when Cubs hitters were anything but comfortable. On the day, the Cubs had five hits as a team, Castro ended with two of them. He finished the day 2-for-2 with a double, and an RBI.
- Two of the newest members of the Cubs bullpen struggled today, as both Wesley Wright, and Jose Veras were beat up. Wright, who took the loss, worked one inning giving up three runs on two hits while striking out three. Veras worked an inning, giving up two runs on two hits while walking one and striking out one.
- Hector Rondon, and Justin Grimm impressed out of the bullpen today. Grimm touched 97 on the gun while working a scoreless inning. Rondon also worked a scoreless inning, and struck out the side in doing so.
The Cubs will travel to Tempe tomorrow afternoon to take on the Angels beginning at 2:05 PM CST.
Finally, Spring Training is about to begin. The Cubs open their brand new facility in Mesa, and the 2014 Spring schedule tomorrow afternoon against the Diamondbacks. Jeff Samardzija gets the start amid trade rumors that are still swirling given the perceived stalled contract negotiations between him and the Cubs. The Cubs will be opposed by Bronson Arroyo and a power laden D-Backs lineup that was bolstered in the off-season with the acquisition of Mark Trumbo who will play LF for Arizona tomorrow.
Here are the lineups, and the extra pitchers that both teams will be carrying. For the image impaired that are reading, the Cubs plan to use Wesley Wright, Alberto Cabrera, Justin Grimm, Pedro Strop, Blake Parker, Hector Rondon, and Jose Veras in addition to Shark. The game begins at 2:00 PM CST, and will be televised (!) on WGN.
Solid match up on the mound today as Jeff Samardzija takes on A.J. Burnett in a rematch of Opening Day. The Cubs had a solid approach yesterday for the most part as they made Liriano work, but couldn’t get a clutch hit to save their life. The Cubs will have to do more of the same with Burnett, make him throw strikes and get in deep counts and they should have some success. First pitch scheduled for 3:05 PM CST, here are the lineups.
Full Box Score
It doesn’t get much better than that, the Cubs absolutely handing the Sox their lunch tonight as Jeff Samardzija had the Sox looking like a triple A team. Samardzija was brilliant, as he went the distance for the complete game shut out and victory. That last sentence doesn’t really tell the story of how dominant Samardzija was, so I’ll add one more. Shark not only went the distance, he gave up only two hits, while walking two and striking out eight. For a pitcher that has lost 1-0 already twice this year the Cubs offensive outburst must have been a welcomed site. The top of the order led the charge in this one, the one through four hitters were a combined 9-for-18 with a double, a triple, a home run, and six RBI’s. Beating the Sox should count for two wins, you know, because it feels so good.
PICTURE OF THE GAME
Samardzija gets final out to complete gem
Soriano’s sixth inning RBI single
Rizzo’s two-run triple
Nice catch by Soriano
Hairston’s sac fly
Borbon’s two-run homer
Soriano puts the Cubs on the board in the first