The Cubs showed their drawing power as nearly 20,000 fans attended a Cubs spring training game in the Valley of the Sun today. Sure, that was split between two stadiums but a game time temperature of around 70 degrees and plenty of sun as opposed to a 22 degree wind chill and snow in Chicago is an AZ winter visitors dream.
The Cubs split the two contests losing in Phoenix to the Athletics 7-4 and shutting out the KC Royals in Mesa 4-0. I’ll focus on the game I announced and witnessed at Hohokam.
The Cubs put all 4 runs on the board in the 2nd inning against Royals starter Edgar Osuna. Led by Geovany Soto’s RBI single and Ryan Theriot’s 3 run double. Marlon Byrd led off the the second with a double and was 2-for-3.
That was really all the offense needed as Cubs pitchers hurled a rare Cactus League shutout. Led by starter Carlos Zambrano in his longest outing of the spring going 5 innings, allowing 3 hits, 2 BB’s, with 4 K’s. Casey Coleman followed Z with a couple scoreless innings with Esmailin Caridad and Carlos Marmol finishing up with an inning each. Caridad looked confident today as he has all spring and has yet to allow a Cactus Legaue run. Marmol struck out the side in the 9th but made it more interesting than needed, hitting Cody Clark with a pitch and allowing a Brian Anderson double. Cubs pitchers worked out of jams in the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings allowing 7 base runners over the final 3 frames.
Carlos Zambrano looked cat quick in jumping off the mound in the 2nd inning barehanding a Mitch Maier bunt then tossing him out. Zambrano’s conditioning and weight loss appear to be helping all aspects of his game. Alfonso Soriano took a hard foul of his leg or foot and was in noticeable pain for a brief period before resuming his at bat in the 6th inning.
Several Cubs minor leaguers got into the game due to the split-squad including DJ LeMahieu the talented Cubs 2009 2nd round draft pick out of LSU, who made an outstanding defensive play at 2nd base diving to his left snaring a hard liner. Also getting into the game as a pinch hitter was Mike Brenly, son of Cubs TV color analyst Bob Brenly…he hit a deep fly out in the 8th.
Bob Brenly and his family must have gotten word ahead of time that their son might play because they had a booth reserved in the press box and it was full of family and friends.
Former long-time Hohokam stadium manager and big Cubs fan Dave Dunne along with Mark Gallo, Frankie Gonzales, Loras McClimon, and Hohokam ticket manager Nancy Hunter sang a rousing version of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the 7th inning stretch.
Jody Davis was the Cubs 1st Base coach during the game and also threw BP prior. Aramis Ramirez took morning bp and looks like he may be back soon.
Here are some photos I took from today’s bp
Z going to get his at-bats, no DH today
A-Ram triceps getting better
Jody Davis bp pitcher and 1st base coach today