The Cubs and the Giants squared off in Mesa today, with the Giants coming away with a 3-2 victory in front of 13,245 fans packed into Hohokam Stadium. Matt Garza started for the Cubs and cruised through 3 innings of shutout ball. To start the 4th inning he walked Melky Cabrera, and would eventually give up 2 runs on hits by Pablo Sandoval and Aubrey Huff. Rafael Dolis then tossed a 1 hit shutout inning, followed by Chris Rusin who pitched 2 quality innings, allowing only 1 walk, while striking out 2. After Rusin, it was Lendy Castillo’s turn. Castillo looked like he was going to get out of the inning unscathed when he pounced on a comebacker to the mound by Tyler Graham, it would have been out number three. Unfortunately, Lendy with all the time in the world to throw, flung it eight feet over the first baseman’s head allowing Emanuel Burris to score from second base. Trevor Miller finished for the Cubs pitching a shutout 9th inning, with 1 hit and 1 K.
The big hit of the day for the Cubs was an Anthony Rizzo home run that he muscled out of the park to left center. Rizzo had a single as well. Blake Lalli homered in the 8th to cut the Giants lead to 3-2. In the 9th, Joe Mather led off with a base hit, Brett Jackson pinch-hitting, bunted Mather to second. However, on the throw to first base to get Jackson, Mather decided he would continue from second to third base. Unfortunately Mather was thrown out at third, leaving the Cubs with 2 outs and NO base runners. Tony Campana made the 3rd out – game over.
|Mather out at third base in 9th inning, (base far left)|
The events of the 9th inning are the kinks I hope are being worked out during spring training. We’re witnessing a pretty big transition as the Cubs look to become more of a running team this season. David DeJesus did go from first to third on Marlon Byrd’s single in the 3rd inning, which was good to see. Steve Clevenger who started at catcher made a bad decision in attempting a snap throw to first base, the ball ended up in right field allowing Melky Cabrera to score. Clevenger is young and wanting to impress, but he needs to understand, a snap throw to first is alot more risky when there are other base runners. Clevenger did come back later in the game and throw out Emmanuel Burriss trying to steal third base in the 5th inning.
Anthony Rizzo continues to flash this spring with the bat and the leather. Today he made a diving snag of a Nate Schierholtz hard grounder. I see Rizzo during bp and infield working on difficult throws and bad hops. It’s a good sign when a player works hard on areas he may consider deficiencies.
Former Cubs GM Jim Hendry was at Hohokam today. A foul ball came right into the booth next to me, where they have the Hohokam scoreboard computers. It careened off a camera and then hit a computer monitor, before coming to rest. Luckily no damage to the equipment or Hohokams.
The Cubs are playing in Phoenix against the A’s tomorrow, as well as in Las Vegas against the Rangers. We’ll see if they wear their green hats to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The Cubs will be back at Hohokam on Sunday, taking on the White Sox. They say a big storm front is moving in to AZ with possible showers and high temp of 60 degrees projected for Sunday. Hopefully the rain will stay away.
Game photos by BOS’s John Antonoff
|Byrd makes sliding grab|
|Blake Lalli hits HR to right|
|Clevenger throws out Burriss, Mather applies tag|
|Anthony Rizzo going yard|