The Cubs couldn’t push a run across the plate today, getting shutout by the Colorado Rockies 2-0 on a sunny warm afternoon at Hohokam Stadium. Oh they had chances, in the first three innings they left 6 runners on base. Most frustrating was the third inning when the Cubs had bases loaded with no outs and couldn’t score.
On the plus side, the Cubs pitched well, led by a starter Edwin Jackson, who went 5 innings, allowing only one run on 3 hits, with 1 BB and 2 K’s. The only Cubs hurler who struggled was Kyuji Fujikawa who gave up the other run, in his one inning of work. Fujikawa had some uncharacteristic control issues, walking 2 batters. He also gave up a hit to Eric Young Jr., but got out of the inning without more damage striking-out Michael Cuddyer for the third out with two men on. Cory Wade, Carlos Marmol, and Jensen Lewis followed Fujikawa with a shutout inning each.
The Cubs hitters started the third inning with a walk by Luis Valbuena, followed by consecutive hits by Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro (getting his first start, back from the sore hammy). However that is where it stopped as Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa struck out Alfonso Soriano and Scott Hairston, and then induced a fly-out by Dioner Navarro. That was really the last decent opportunity for the Cubs to score a run until the ninth inning, as they went 1-2-3 at the plate for the next four innings. The Cubs had a potential rally going in the ninth as Steve Clevenger got a hit, followed by a Johermyn Chavez walk, then came a Darnell McDonald strike-out, a Jorge Soler pop-out, and a ground out by pinch-hitter Brad Nelson to end the game.
The Cubs have been without a couple of their top hitters over the past week or more, with Starlin Castro injured and Anthony Rizzo playing in the WBC tourney. Rizzo is getting rave reviews from the team Italy staff, according to this article from ESPN.com. However, that isn’t helping the Cubs, it will be nice to get Rizzo back to camp in Mesa. He is clearly an asset both on offense and defense, as well as the clubhouse.
We had a nice ceremony before the game as Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts, Mesa Mayor Scott Smith and the Big Ho of the Hohokam Mike Whalen all talked about the history of the Cubs at Hohokam, and the Hohokam organization’s dedication to Cubs spring training. Big Ho Whalen presented Tom Ricketts with a special engraved Hohokam bat and ball cap.
Other notable names at the park today, former Cubs GM Jim Hendry (now a special assistant to Yankees GM Brian Cashman), and Pulitzer Prize winning author and avowed Cubs fan George Will.
Today’s attendance at Hohokam was 10,875. With many schools on spring break, seats in the grass berm were at a premium.
I’m not always a huge Rick Reilly fan, but some of his comments are spot on in this commentary as he pulls no punches regarding some of the financial issues surrounding Wrigley Field.
The Cubs are playing in Glendale tomorrow facing the Dodgers, and then have a split-squad on Friday with a game against WBC Team Japan at Hohokam, and the White Sox at Camleback Ranch.
Photos by John Antonoff