|Soon the snow will be gone on Four Peaks|
The Cubs dropped their second spring game of the season at Hohokam today, losing 5-3 to a team that vaguely resembled Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers split squad team that showed up at Hohokam had some recognizable names, if you’ve been following the Nippon Ham Fighters and Long Island Ducks. There were a few Milwaukee starters, including Ryan Braun, but they also started Caleb Gindl, Zelous Wheeler, and Erick Almonte. Almonte, a 33 year old minor leaguer who last played in the majors in 2003 when he replaced an injured Derek Jeter for the Yankees, has since been a Ham Fighter and Duck among his many stops.
The Cubs had Reed Johnson, Darwin Barney, Koyie Hill and Marquez Smith in today’s starting lineup, it was not a split squad for the Cubs. Randy Wells started for the Cubs and looked comfortable throwing 2 scoreless innings. Wells was followed by Andrew Cashner who had his ups and downs. The downs included 2 runs on 3 hits with a base on balls and a throwing error trying to hold the runner at first. The ups were he allowed no runs in his second inning and also ripped a double to the right centerfield gap. Kerry Wood saw his first action of the spring and got a standing ovation from the small 5,405 crowd at Hohokam. Wood was hit hard allowing 2 runs on 3 hits but struck out 2 batters in his inning of work.
The Cubs have hit well in the two games thus far, 12 hits today but have stranded plenty of runners including bases loaded in both the 7th and 8th innings when mostly young players and backups were playing. Reed Johnson was 2 for 3 and Tyler Colvin hit an RBI double in the 1st, but was thrown out trying to score from 3rd on a tag play. It’s still early, but one point of concern is the Cubs had 3 errors for the second game in a row (not all by starters).
In the later stages of the game, when the Cubs made it interesting, the crowd was giving a loud Augie- Augie-Augie, chant as fan favorite Augie Ojeda came to the plate in the 8th inning with bases loaded. Augie gave them a quick thrill as he drove a line drive deep to the warning track, unfortunately it was caught for an out. In the next half frame, Augie went far to his left snagging a grounder up the middle then spinning and throwing a strike to nail the Brewer runner at first. On the very next hitter, CF Fernando Perez made a long run and layed out for a sweet grab and out number two.
|New look in the outfield|
Bob Brenly and Len Kasper were both seen at the ballpark today, prepping for their upcoming broadcast. There maybe something strange going on and it could be affecting the Cubs play, as interesting crop circle type markings have shown up in the Hohokam outfield this season (see pic). If you’ve been to a game at Hohokam you know that I would at some point give the temperature here in Sunny Mesa followed up by the usually chilly temperature back in Chicago. This year a sponsor has taken that and made it their ad copy. Anything that can get a laugh or get noticed will usually get picked up by an advertiser at some point.
Cubs will be in Scottsdale tomorrow taking on the World Champion San Francisco Giants. Dempster and Lincecum your starting Pitchers.