The Cubs hit the daily double winning twice today, 8-7 over the White Sox in Las Vegas and 11-4 over the Reds at Hohokam. What a beautiful day it was in Mesa with a high of about 75 degrees along with abundant sunshine, our 10 day forecast also looks fantastic. 11,825 fans made it out to see the Cubs host the Reds in the first ever Cactus League contest between the two teams.
Of the Cubs projected opening day lineup only Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano started in Mesa. Soriano needed the work, coming into today’s game with a .077 BA, he upped that today going 2-for-3 with a double. Soriano’s knee looks to be nearly 100%, he was running hard and fast from 1st base on a hit and run in the 4th inning. Cubs minor leaguer Darwin Barney has had a good camp and played both 2nd and 3rd base today. Barney was 2-for-4 and drew a 2 out walk in the pivotal 5th inning.
The 5th inning was a big one for the Cubs who were down 4-1 but that changed as Brian LaHair’s 3 run blast tied it up. The Cubs continued the scoring onslaught in the 6th and the 7th scoring 3 and 4 runs respectively. Jim Adduci starting in RF was 3-for-4 with a double. Tyler Colvin continued his hot spring going 3-for-5 and is now batting .565. (Remember like all spring stats, take it with a grain of salt). Colvin was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double on a bang bang play, I like his hustle though. He’s making a real case to make the roster out of AZ. Another one of the Cubs touted minor league infielders Hak-Ju Lee came in for Starlin Castro at SS and drilled a 2 run double. Like Castro, Lee has some wheelage.
The big leftie Sean Marshall got the start and looked good in his 3 innings, allowing 1 run on a Juan Francisco HR. Casey Coleman didn’t fare as well giving up 3 runs in 2 innings including 2 HR’s. Mike Parisi got the “W” tossing 2 scoreless innings. Jeff Stevens and Esmailin Caridad finished the game, each throwing a quality inning.
Ryne Sandberg was the 3rd base coach for the Cubs today and was involved in an interesting play as he first sent Chad Tracy home then abruptly stopped him, Tracy was too far past third and subsequently picked off. Darwin Barney made a nice diving stop then throw on a hard grounder by Yonder Alonso. Starlin Castro starting at SS didn’t get a hit but it was good to see him hitting to the right side moving a runner from 2nd to 3rd. Sometimes those things are missed in the box score. Brian LaHair made a fantastic diving catch over the tarp roll into the stands in the 8th inning.
Some of the Cubs players took a little extra BP after the game, sorry kids you’ll have to run the bases another day. After all, we are trying to put together a Pennant winning baseball team here.
One of our favorite 7th inning stretch renditions is Mark The Beer Guy and he didn’t let us down today along with Bill Mauer leading an enthusiastic crowd. After the game I talked with local Arizona Cubs bloggers Ginger Russ and Lazy Steve from CIO, known for their irreverent site College of Idiots.
Here’s a link to Nathan Reuck’s flickr page with some Cubs spring photos…Thanks Nathan!