Hard to pay attention to spring training when March Madness is still going on, especially when you can’t actually WATCH the games. The radio guys, Len Kasper and Mick Gillespie, are pretty good at describing the action, but it’s just not the same as being able to see the action. We’ll do our best to crank these out for you though. Today’s contest was at HoHoKam against the Giants, another one for the loss column. Did we mention that David DeJesus won Buntfest? The Cubs also claimed Frankie De La Cruz off waivers. Frankie seems like he has good stuff but bad control.
Matt Garza had a good start, striking out two guys swinging and ending the first inning on a groundout. He gave up a leadoff single to Buster Posey, who sounded like he was having fun after a horrific leg injury that killed his 2011 season. Garza got into trouble in the fourth inning when he put two guys on and Steve Clevenger airmailed a snap throw into right field to tie the game up. Seeing eye ground balls suck, and put the Giants ahead 2-1 as Garza’s day was complete after four full. Pretty good outing marred by some bad luck and one bad throw, with three hits, a walk and three strikeouts and those two runs given up. Clevenger redeemed himself later by gunning down a basestealer at third base in the fifth.
The Giants were one of the worst offenses in the majors last year so Garza and the other pitchers probably looked better than they otherwise would have. Rule 5 draftee Lendy Castillo had a good inning and helped his case for making the roster, but cost the team a run when he tossed the ball way over the first baseman’s head with two outs. I’m pretty sure they’ll talk about that even though he struck out the side. Garza had fielding issues last season too, but so far so good this spring (though he hasn’t had a lot of chances). Trever Miller had an effective inning to keep the Cubs in the game in the ninth.
The Cubs’ offense was also blah through the first five innings, although they had a couple opportunities with men on base. Anthony Rizzo hit a monster solo home run to deep center to put the Cubs on the board. In the sixth, Starlin Castro got on base when former Cubs legend Ryan Theriot Buckner’d a ground ball and Rizzo moved him over with a liner to left. Joe Mather struck out and Castro got gunned down at third to quickly make two outs. Then Rizzo for some reason decided to steal third too and was thrown out. Big WTF moment there. I had to get a beer. Maybe they wanted to get out of the heat since their plate appearances for the day were done, I don’t know. But I seriously don’t know what the deal was there. I hope they talk about that after the game because after Eli Whiteside gunned Castro down, Rizzo should’ve said to himself “Hmmm, maybe since I’m not as fast, stealing third isn’t such a good idea.”
The ninth inning was pretty promising, but when Brett Jackson sacrificed, Joe Mather kept going to third base on a designed play. Jackson was out, and Mather got tagged out at third. Game over. Nice idea, didn’t work.
The Cubs have one split squad playing against the A’s at their place and another playing the Rangers in Vegas tomorrow, so check those games out.