Let’s see…Cubs practice game #4…a bit of craziness at the end, but they did dispatch the Royals 6-4.
Jeff Samardzija had a good outing. He was the first Cubs “starter” so far in spring training to go three innings as he was very efficient, with 35 pitches over his three frames (26 for strikes). Jeff also added three strikeouts and only gave up two well-hit balls (one snagged by Starlin Castro). Not a bad audition for one of the two remaining rotation spots. Jeff’s fastball also touched 95 mph consistently and Pitchf/x suggested he also threw a slider, a changeup and a cutter, though with that good of a fastball and good command, he favored the old number one. Will be interesting to see how he does in the next start, should he receive that opportunity.
Baserunning was pretty good this afternoon. Dale Sveum had been preaching aggressive baserunning, and the Cubs hopefully have both the speed and the smarts. They obviously had the speed for the most part with four stolen bases in the first six innings by the starters, not to mention more infield singles than I care to count. Smarts may need some work. Starlin Castro tried to advance from 2B to 3B on an infield single by Bryan LaHair. The play wasn’t available for viewing, but from what I could gather, the dribbler went to shortstop, Castro probably retreated to 2B for a moment, then took off running for 3B when he saw the shortstop throw to 1B. Unfortunately, he got gunned down at 3B. Without getting to see the play, I can’t actually tell whether that was a dumb decision or just bad luck. Then again, if it worked, we’d be saying how awesome it was, so I guess this one could go either way. Josh Vitters also got picked off at 2B trying to steal 3B, so that was probably pretty dumb too.
The Cubs return to HoHoKam to host the Mariners tomorrow, same time, but broadcast on MLB.com, so check that out.