Cubs Practice Game #9: The one against that one manager people hate even though he got the Cubs closer to the World Series than at any time since you were born

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The problem with spring training, as I learned from people smarter than I, is that there aren’t many parks equipped with Pitchf/x which means the Gameday only tracks strikeouts and walks rather shoddily (with three randomly placed red balls for strikeouts and four randomly placed green balls for walks).  Otherwise they will only show one blue ball (huh huh huh) for an “in play” ball, without telling you even the ball-strike count on the batter.  It’s hard enough already when the game isn’t on TV so you can track the pitches yourself.  It’s even harder when the radio feed doesn’t come through and you’re left with guesswork.  Oh well, let’s get on with it as the Cubs beat the Reds today.

This guy named Alfonso Soriano hit another home run.  Brett Jackson led off for the Cubs in this game and got on base a couple times, although he got himself thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double.  I suppose they’ll talk to him about that one, but it sounds like Dale Sveum’s mandate to be more aggressive is sticking.  Darwin Barney got on base against Sean Marshall on a rare error by Brandon Phillips, but got himself picked off before Brett Jackson could try his hand against the former Cubs legend.  For his part, Marshall got through a full inning against only three batters (not including Jackson) because of Barney’s TOOTBLAN.  Seriously, stop getting picked off, Darwin.  It’s bad.  Geovany Soto had another rough day, grounding into a couple double plays.  He did miss the first week of spring training with a groin injury so he’ll probably figure it out at some point.  The Cubs walked a bunch of times again, so the patience and plate discipline seem to be okay in the early going.

Paul Maholm got his first start of the spring.  He was on a strict pitch count after coming back from a shoulder problem last season and the flu earlier this spring.  In two innings, Maholm gave up two hits including a solo homer but didn’t walk anybody, which was good.  Jeff Samardzija followed up and had a rough first inning before settling down.  Samardzija went three full and gave up a couple runs but struck out three and also didn’t walk anybody.

Carlos Marmol had a typical outing.  Only with Marmol can you see a hit, a walk, a hit-by-pitch and a strikeout in the same inning by the same guy in the span of four hitters.  And yeah, he did give up the lead in the 7th.  I guess they’ll talk about which other pitch he was working on today.  That’s the problem with relievers, is that their performance is amplified by the fact that they’re only in for one or two innings, and if they shit the bed, then they basically have no time to recover as a starter would.  If Marmol were to load the bases you’d hope that he could pull some strikeouts or groundouts from his ass to get out of it unscathed, but you reap what you sow.  Luckily for him that Joe Mather bailed him out by reclaiming the lead with a three-run bomb.  Watch out Tony Campana, you gots some competition.

The Cubs face off against the Giants tomorrow and the game is on MLB.com, so here’s hoping the broadcast is free.  Also hoping we see one of Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain or Madison Bumgarner.  I’m tired of subpar opposing pitching.

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