Things are heating up here in the desert with a high temperature of 87 degrees recorded at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport today and possibly 94 by Monday, that’s 10 to 15 degrees above the average high. The Cubs bats have heated up right along with the weather, as the club pounded out 49 hits in the last 3 games, 17 today in a 10-6 win over the San Diego Padres at Hohokam Stadium. Today the Cubs played split-squad games with the other group traveling to Surprise Arizona, losing to Texas Rangers 11-9. Having a split-squad kept attendance in Mesa 8,513, lower than a normal Friday home game.
Aramis Ramirez hit his first HR of the spring going 2 for 3 with 4 RBI’s. The Cubs have now hit home runs in 8 straight games and won 5 of the last 6 contests (Split-squad loss included). Buck Coats and Tomas Perez each went 3 for 4 at the plate, while Michael Barrett, Derrek Lee, and Eric Patterson each had 2 hits. On the mound Rich Hill was the starter and went 3 innings allowing one run on 4 hits. Hill looked sharp at times with his big hook working, striking out 3 Padres. Bob Howry had a nice one, two, three inning. Seven Cubs pitchers got into the game and only allowed the Padres one free pass. Cubs non-roster invitee John Webb gave up 3 runs.
Aramis Ramirez had a couple of base-running issues. I’m not sure if he ran through the sign or what but he was only about two-thirds of the way home from third when the ball arrived to catcher Pete LaForest. LaForest couldn’t handle the throw allowing Ramirez to score. Another time A-Ram probably should have been picked of third, but again was bailed out by poor Padre defense. I don’t know if you saw this on the Comcast broadcast back in Chicago but Lou Piniella was having a hard time communicating with Alfonso Soriano in the 2nd inning, trying to get the Center Fielder to reposition himself from left-center to right-center.
Other notes from today-Philadelphia Eagles QB Donovan McNabb was to throw a ceremonial “first pass” to Cubs pitcher and former Notre Dame WR Jeff Samardzija as part of a Super Bowl 42 in Arizona promotion. The only problem was McNabb was a no-show; word was he was stuck in traffic. Maybe they should have had Jeff Garcia on standby to complete the pass. Since McNabb spends a great deal of time here in the valley, one would think he would be all too familiar with Phoenix traffic issues. Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper came over to my booth before the game to say hello and inform me of the proper pronunciation of Cubs 3d base coach Mike Quade’s last name. (KWOD-AY) Which was greatly appreciated as I like to be as accurate with name pronunciations as possible. Tomorrow the Cubs will take on the Kansas City Royals in Surprise.
Rich Hill today at Hohokam