Things I saw today.
Ryan Dempster pitched outstanding. Today’s Cub’s starter, pitched 5.1 scoreless innings, striking out 7, only allowing 1 hit. The battle for the fifth starting pitcher is a close one, the good news is that Dempster and Marquis have both looked solid this spring, outside of Dempster’s last go-around at Hohokam.
Fukudome’s strong arm was exhibited on a perfect throw in the 6th inning to nail A’s catcher Kurt Suzuki at the plate. Dome had another strong throw to the plate to Cubs catcher Henry Blanco, which would have probably gotten the runner at home but it bounced about 3-5 feet in front of Blanco and high hopped over his shoulder. Dome was charged with an error on the throw, allowing the runner to take 2nd.
Derrek Lee charged a ground ball to cutoff a run at home in the 8th inning, Henry Blanco and Aramis Ramirez made a perfect run-down play to record the out, and keep Danny Putnam from scoring.
Kevin Hart and Carlos Marmol both struggled today, allowing the A’s to score 4 runs in the 8th and1 in the 9th. Each pitcher walked in a run to the chagrin of the home crowd. Hart was especially ineffective, allowing 4 runs, 2 hits, and 2 bb in 1/3rd inning. Sean Gallagher walked 3 batters in the the seventh to load the bases, he was bailed out by Les Walrond who ended the inning by striking out 2 A’s hitters.
Derrek Lee started off slow, hitting into a first inning double play, striking out in the 4th, and then finally delivering a HR in the 7th while the game was scoreless. Aramis Ramirez went 2 for 3, with a walk that scored him on a Henry Blanco RBI double in the 7th.
The Cubs did load the bases in the 9th, but Felix Pie was unable to keep the game going, making the final out.
The craziness for a PA announcer during spring training that doesn’t happen in the regular season, was in evidence today-as four Oakland Athletics entered the game as defensive replacements in the 6th inning. None of them, however, were on any roster I had. Included in the four, were two number 52’s. Since the Athletics don’t have names on their jerseys, it made it all the more difficult. The Cubs media relations department with help from the A’s sorted it all out so I could announce the names.
The Cubs have the rare day/night split-squad double header playing at 7pm tonight against the Giants in Scottsdale. John Lieber will get the start tonight in Scottsdale. Cubs are back at Hohokam tomorrow at a regular 1:05 start, AZ time, with Rich Hill slated to start for the Cubs.