The Cubs went down to the Diamondbacks 9-1 today at Hohokam in front of a crowd of 9,605. It was a nice warm day in Mesa with the game time temp 85 degrees according to the Cubs media relations department.
Cubs seasoned veteran Carlos Zambrano in his first Cactus League start tossed 2 solid innings. Big Z faced only 6 batters, striking out 3, ending his short day with a double play to close the 2nd inning after having walked Dbacks Chad Tracy. After Big Z, Carlos Marmol had an easy WBC tune-up with a one-two-three inning in the 3d, striking out two of the three batters he faced. After facing only 9 DBacks batters in the first 3 frames things changed.
Enter the kid, Mitch Atkins. Cubs Minor League Pitcher of the Year last season, Atkins fast track to the bigs took a bit of a detour today, as he was shelled in the 4th for 5 runs. Atkins gave up 4 hits, including a 3 Run HR to Chris Snyder. He also beaned two DBacks hitters in the inning. Another disappointing outing for a Cubs pitcher today was Angel Guzman, who came in for the 9th inning only to allow 3 runs on 3 hits with a walk and a hit batter.
Not much in the way of hitting for the Cubs today as they didn’t notch their first hit until Koyie Hill’s single in the 5th. The Cubs avoided a shutout only in the 9th inning as Micah Hoffpauir doubled then was knocked in by Andres Blanco’s double.
The Cubs did have some nice defensive plays, Joey Gathright made an outstanding diving somersaulting catch of Chris Roberson’s sinking liner in the 3rd. Gathright came back with another outstanding diving grab on DBacks‘ Chris Snyder in the 5th. With Gathright’s defensive prowess and speed, he could be a very useful man off the bench. Mike Fontenot had a strong relay throw to gun down a DBack at the plate in the 7th. Alfonso Soriano had an extra base hit taken away by Chris Roberson, who snatched his deep fly up against the fence.
No worries about Milton Bradley’s health…Yet. In BP batting lefty he crushed several balls deep into the grass berm, directly into the teeth of about a 15 mph wind. The Cubs will DH him on Wednesday.
I saw Cubs TV man Len Kasper today for the first time this spring and he’s very excited about the upcoming season. Pulitzer Prize winning columnist and Cubs fan George Will was up in the press box before the game looking for the Cubs Media Relations people, saying he needed a ticket. I later saw him watching the game in one of the empty press booths.
Mitch Atkins today