|Warning track this morning|
As I have said many a times here before, you shouldn’t read too much into the scores or who won or lost spring training games. The examples I usually mention when emphasizing this point are the Cubs 84 and 89 division winning teams who had lousy spring training records. With that said the Cubs took the opener on the chin by a count of 15 to 7 against the Oakland A’s at Hohokam in front of a crowd of 6,892. The opening game of the spring season is unlike the opener of the regular season and traditionally not as well attended as games later, combined with the unArizona-like cool weather it made for the low turnout.
Big Z started and pitched 2 solid innings of no hit ball with 2 K’s. Up next was Matt Garza, who didn’t fare nearly as well. He allowed 5 runs in 2 innings including a Coco Crisp grand salami and another ball that could have been a home run were it not for the batter’s eye in dead center. Garza is quickly finding out that Arizona is for hitter’s after spending his entire career spring training in Florida. If you only looked at Garza and not at the scoreboard you could easily tell he was having a rough outing as he shook his head in frustration and dropped some f bombs. Justin Berg was also pummeled by Oakland hitters with 7 runs in one third of an inning. Bergy’s going to have to really do something from here on out this spring to avoid starting the season in the minors. Marcos Mateo and Carlos Marmol both tossed scoreless innings.
Cubs hitters came out strong, putting 4 on the board in the opening frame while Starlin Castro and Marlon Byrd went 2 for 3, and Alfonso Soriano going 3 for 3 including a 2 run double. The two teams combined for 34 hits but the Cubs also had 3 errors.
|Barney crashes into wall – Photo by John Antonoff|
The second half of the game was finished up mainly by younger players including Darwin Barney at shortstop, who showed great effort making a long run on a foul that saw him crashing into the wall (he couldn’t hang on to the ball). The collision looked ugly but Barney popped right back up and ran back to short. Barney also showed a little pop as he knocked a double deep to left center, he then proceeded to score on a very close throw at home where he made a wide slide just getting his hand on the plate a split second before the tag.
|Barney slides under tag – Photo by John Antonoff|
Today was Mesa Little League day at the ballpark where the Cubs gave several hundred Mesa Little Leaguer’s tickets to the game. In a pre-game ceremony, Mesa Mayor Scott Smith and Cubs GM Jim Hendry spoke to the Hohokam crowd, thanking Mesa for their commitment to keeping the Cubs here long term for spring training. Jim Hendry mentioned the Cubs training in Mesa for the next 50 years and hopefully longer. Because of our rain last night, and snow in the mountains, it was possible to see the Superstition Mountains to the east of Hohokam with snow on them. An unusually site considering their lower elevation. One of BOS’s favorites Mark the Beer Guy gave a rousing rendition of the 7th inning stretch. The Mesa grounds crew at Hohokam did a great job today after the overnight storm deposited a lot of rain.
|Four Peaks today on the ride home|
The Cubs host the Brewers at Hoho tomorrow. The Mesa weather over the next 7 days looks sunny with gradually rising temps to the 70’s.