As the first inning moved slowly along today, I joked to scoreboard operator Steve Adams that this may be a four hour game. After 3 hours and 45 minutes the Dodgers finished off the Cubs 11-7 at Hohokam Stadium. In the final inning of today’s game, home plate and third base were fully in the shade, something I’ve rarely if ever seen during a daytime spring game at Hohokam. I would guess there were fewer than 500 of the announced 4,572 fans left at the conclusion of the 9th inning. Cooler than average temperatures in Mesa, the game length, and the scoreboard, likely combined to drastically thin the crowd to the hardcore as the 9th inning finished and the clock closed in on 5 pm.
The Good: Nate Schierholtz and Darwin Barney each went 2-for-2, with Barney driving in 2 on a bases loaded single. Michael Bowden, James Russell, and Shawn Camp all tossed hitless shutout innings.
The Not So Good: Cubs starter Brooks Raley allowed 4 runs on 5 hits, with a walk and a K in one inning pitched. Jaye Chapman allowed 3 runs (2 earned) on 2 hits, with 2 walks in one third of an inning. In his spring Hohokam debut the touted Jorge Soler was 0-2 with 2 K’s struck out twice in 2 at-bats, he did draw a walk in the 9th inning.
The Oh No! Starlin Castro pulling up at first with a tweaked hammy. Thankfully, it doesn’t appear serious.
It’s interesting to note the low attendance of only 4,572 fans today at Hohokam. This, after yesterday’s crowd of 4,021, certainly not the typical Hohokam numbers. As I mentioned yesterday, it’s likely due to a combination of things, but mostly due to the early start of spring games caused by the World Baseball Classic. It does appear the Cubs are less affected than most teams as you look around the Cactus League. Here are the attendance figures for other games today: Giants/Angels 4,042, Rangers/White Sox 2,545, Mariners/Indians 2,252, Brewers/Royals 3,049, Padres/Athletics 1,867, Rockies/Padres 1,747 only the hometown Diamondbacks topped the Cubs, as 6,263 saw the Reds-Dbacks at Salt River Fields. Only one team (Padres) had a split-squad today.
Back at Hohokam tomorrow as the Cubs host the Oakland Athletics.
John Antonoff shows some of the action on the field with photos.