I know it’s spring training but the numbers from the two Cubs split squad games today are pretty impressive nevertheless. The Cubs scored 27 runs on 35 hits, winning 11-7 against the Brewers in Maryvale, and 16-4 over the Mariners at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa. The game in Mesa got off to a rockin’ start as Alfonso Soriano blasted a HR to left center, Mariner’s left fielder Tony Torcato took one step then turned and watched the ball sail over the fence. The excitement continued, in front of a crowd of 8,625, with a double from Ryan Theriot and RBI single from Derrek Lee followed by a monster HR from Aramis Ramirez that flew well over the top of the Hohokam scoreboard and out of the ballpark. One can only hope the fans parked in the North Parking lot have collision coverage. The Cubs went on to plate 5 runs in the first inning. The Cubs then scored 3 runs in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th innings before Lou Piniella started substituting position players. Michael Barrett had 2 HR’s, I’d mention everyone who had a big day with the bat, but I don’t want this to turn into a novel so just check the box score.
Wade Miller was the Cubs starting pitcher in Mesa, trying to cement his spot at the 5th starter in the Cubs pitching rotation and he didn’t seem to further his chances one way or the other. He pitched 3 and a third innings, giving up 3 earned runs on 6 hits, 2 K’s, and a wind-aided HR to Adrian Beltre that just barely cleared the fence in left. Neal Cotts actually looked pretty good today, pitching 2 scoreless innings, allowing 1 hit while striking out 2. Howry, Wuertz, and Walrond combined for 3 and 2/3rds scoreless innings.
Other notes from today’s game- Cliff Floyd had some issues out in left field, misjudging a fly ball that should have been caught but as mentioned the wind was blowing out pretty strong today. Chris Walker who came in as a substitution in centerfield had one of the most amazing catches of the spring, taking away a homerun from Mariners Mike Morse. The ball just kept carrying deep to left center and Walker played it perfectly, timing his jump, extending every inch of his 5’8″ body to snag the ball before it went over the fence. All the Cubs players came out of the dugout to greet him when he came in from the field. Perhaps because the Cubs had scored so many runs, or that today was a split squad, Carlos Zambrano ended up being used as a pinch-hitter. Unfortunately he struck out.
Illinois native, Pulitzer prize winning writer, and Cubs fan George Will was at Hohokam chatting with Lou Piniella and Cubs President John McDonough among others while watching bp. Also on hand, former Phoenix Suns star forward Tom Chambers, who I noticed before the game. (it’s hard to miss a 6’10” guy walking through the concourse) Chambers ended up getting out of the sun, and watching part of the game from my P.A. booth. Didn’t take me long to find out he’s not a Cubs fan, when he asked who Carlos Zambrano is.
The Cubs make their final trek to Tucson tomorrow to play the Colorado Rockies at Hi Corbett Field, then back to Hohokam on Wednesday to host the Texas Rangers and Sammy Sosa.
George Will, Lou Piniella, and Billy Williams